Tag Archive for Sehlabathebe National Park

UNESCO adds Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park on World Heritage List

The 37th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) inscribed the Sehlabathebe National Park of Lesotho on the World Heritage List on Saturday.

It was the country’s first property that won a place at the prestigious World Heritage List.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, chairman of the session, extended congratulations to Lesotho on the inscription of the mixed natural and cultural property of the Sehlabathebe National Park on the World Heritage List. Read more

Bird Watching In Lesotho

Birding in Lesotho will come as a fascinating and surprising entertainment for all the bird lovers as well as ordinary tourists from all over the world, who will be able to view its astonishing variety and beauty first hand.

the Fairy flycatcher sitting on a branch

Fairy flycatcher - Photo Johann Grobbelaar

Lesotho is shelters an impressive number of species of birds. Over 300 varieties have been recorded in the country and vary from residents, that stay all year around, to breeding birds, that spend a good part of the growing season in Lesotho to raise their young, migrants who pass through Lesotho with the seasons, to wintering birds who like to spend a the winter in Lesotho to escape even colder conditions up north. However, many species of birds are relatively common as they are part of the ecosystems of the country.

The Lesotho Drakensberg and Maluti are among the most sought after by bird watchers who come for Birding in Lesotho. You will be bowled out by the sheer variety and number of these colorful birds, some of which are extremely rare. The birds can be seen in the natural parks in the region, with its well known avifauna, as well in isolated spots which host a variety of fauna of Lesotho. Read more

Sehlabathebe National Park by Graham Maclachlan

Photo of the month – December 2011

Although coined as a “lucky shot” Graham has managed to capture a real gem of a photo with this one for the mountain tops around Sehlabathebe National Park on the South Eastern border of Lesotho.

The sun lit mountain tops of Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho

Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho - Photo by Graham Maclachlan

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Top 10 places to visit in Lesotho

Although a small country, Lesotho boasts an assortment of fantastic attractions that tourists can visit and discover the history and heritage of both the Basotho people and the Mountain Kingdom.

 

1. Sehlabathebe National Park

Rocks pools at Sehlabathebe National Park Lesotho

Rocks pools at Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho

The Sehlabathebe National Park in the south eastern region of Lesotho, although fairly inaccessible (a 4 wheel drive vehicle is required) is definitely well worth the effort. This was the first designated National park in Lesotho. This hidden gem is full of wonderful rock formations unique to this area, massive rock overhangs, small lakes, rock art, rock arches and a beautiful and unique ecosystem of plants, birds and animals.

The Prime Minister of Lesotho at the time, Chief Leabua Jonathan, loved trout fishing and, since the dams and rivers are a fisherman’s paradise, this may explain the park’s existence.

The Ts’ehlanyane National Park and Bokong Nature Reserves are both far more accessible and well worth a visit in their own right. Read more

Lesotho a hiker’s paradise

Lesotho is without doubt a hiker’s paradise.

Lesotho mountain trekking with MalealeaAlthough very few dedicated hiking trails exist, the face that the entire country is a network of bridle and foot  paths. You will also not find a single fence in the mountains, meaning that you can hike pretty much anywhere you like.

A typical hike will include:
• Riverside walk, swim, caves, gorges and rock formations
• Bird and wildlife sightings
• Stunning views
• Bushman rock art sites
• Picnics and packed lunches can be provided on request

Some wonderful trails can be found in the various Lesotho national parks and nature reserves.

Sehlabathebe National Park is rough, rugged, yet incredibly scenic with rolling grasslands and wild flowers,  perfect for bird watching and hiking. Accommodation can be booked with Jonathan’s Lodge. Read more

Massive Rock Fall Closes Sani Pass

As of 13th Feb 2011 the Sani Pass is closed due to a massive rock fall.

Estimates are a few days to a week , depending on the response of the authorities and the time it takes the necessary equipment to arrive on site. All that use the pass on a daily basis, tourists, traders and migrant labour are used to the odd closure, mostly due to snow in the winter that can last from 3 to 15 days.

Sani Pass Rock Slide 2011

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Sehlabathebe lily (Aponogeton Ranunculiflorus)

This unusual species was first described in 1972. It is a small aquatic located first from high altitude rock pools in Sehlabathebe National Park, in what was thought to be only a 3 hectare area. Since then discoveries have been made on the South African side where conditions exactly match the approximate altitude (2600m) and within a 10km radius.

 

Aponogeton-Ranunculiflorus

Aponogeton Ranunculiflorus (Apologies for the poor image quality)

Description:

Flowering in January, the flowers are borne on long slender strings, they are pure white little cups floating on the surface of water.

Distribution and habitat:

Sehlabathebe rock pool

Photo by: Mark Van Der Wal

In Lesotho it is confined in the sandstone rock pools at an altitude range of 2400 – 3300 Meters above Sea Level. It is easily identified on the surface of the pools. It belongs to group of aquatic plants with special needs for propagation. It requires shallow water in the beginning of season and becomes deeper as the rainy season progresses and becomes shallower again as the dry season approaches.

In nature these kinds of plants grow in tarn that allows for seasonal drying, resulting in the seeds being able to settle at the bottom of pond and germinate when the time / conditions are ideal.

Conservation status:

It is classified as a Critically Endangered plant species by the Southern African Red Data Lists. The Removal of plants and seeds for the National Park is highly prohibited.

Lesotho’s Natural Heritage

The National parks and reserves of Lesotho are just as diverse that the country itself. Sehlabathebe boasts open grassland, lakes and striking rock formations. Ts’ehlanyane is awe-inspiring with its indigenous forests, wildlife and dominating mountain peaks. Bokong is perched high above Katse Dam and offers uninterrupted views of the Lepaqoa Valley, while Liphofung has unique cultural and historical significance.

All of Lesotho’s parks and reserves are part of The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfontier Conservation and Development Project (MDTP). This is a collaborative initiative between South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho to protect the exceptional biodiversity of the Drakensberg and Maloti mountains through conservation. This includes, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Qwa Qwa Nature reserve, Sterkfontein Dam Nature reserve, Royal Natal National Park and the Malekgonyane (Ongeluksnek) Nature Reserve.

Maloti-Drakensburg Conservation Project Area

Sehlabathebe National Park

Lesotho’s first national park, proclaimed in 1970, is remote, rugged and beautiful, and getting there is always a worthwhile adventure, especially if you’re into wilderness, seclusion and fishing. Sehlabathebe means the “Shield of the Plateau”, mirroring the rolling grasslands, wild flowers and silence provide a sense of complete isolation.

Situated in the south-east corner of Lesotho, At an average elevation of some 2,400 metres, the main attraction of the spectacular Sehlabethebe National Park is its exceptional peace and solitude. It is wonderfully peaceful, and yet exciting, many small lakes, huge rock overhangs and striking sandstone formations, especially the many “Arches” which characterise this park.Rock Arches - Sehlabathebe National Park

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