Tsehlanyane National Park
Tsehlanyane National Park is only one of two national parks in Lesotho, and makes up an intergral part of the greater Maloti/Drankensberg Transfrontier Park.
The park is located deep in the front range of the Maluti Mountains at the foot of the Holomo Pass and only about 45 minutes on a good road from the South African border post of Caledonspoort (Caledonspoort is 15 minutes drive from the popular Freestate town of Clarens and about 4 hours from Johannesburg international airport).
The park is reached by a good 32km-access road that leaves the main Lesotho A1 route, 5 km south west of Butha Buthe. The route passes through the village of Khabo’s and parallels the Hlotse River along a very picturesque valley until it reaches the park entrance.
Tsehlanyane National Park has an altitude ranging from 1940 to 3112 metres and is considered mostly sub-alpine. It owes its origin to the access road to the Hlotse tunnel as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This proclaimed protected pristine area lies at the junction of the Tsehlanyane and the Holomo rivers.
To learn more about the Ts’ehlanyane National Park click here.
Over 5600 hectares of extremely rugged mountain terrain is protected within this park, which includes one of the very few remaining indigenous woodlands in Lesotho. Some of the finest examples of Che-che, woodland are preserved at the heart of this area, with a number of rare undergrowth plants that are unique to this woodland habitat. On the banks of the rivers and streams are stands of berg bamboo which are of significant cultural significance to the Basotho people. The reserve also encompasses a reasonable proportion of very rare mountain “fynbos” that do not occur anywhere else in the world and also recorded are in excess of 220 flowing plant species. The diversity of habitat types is exceptionally high and derived from the large altitudinal range that the park has.
There has been 24 small to medium sizes mammalian species recorded in the highlands area and these include the African wild cat, black-backed jackal, porcupine, caracal, grey rhebuck, baboon, striped pole cat and rock hyrax, ice rat, the clawless otter (there is circumstantial evidence that leopard still occurs in a few refuge habitats), All of these species with the exception of the clawless otter, grey rhebuck and rock hyrax are considered to be endangered in the park area.
No information is available on the avifauna of the park, other than the limited surveys undertaken by field staff to date. The very provisional list prepared to date indicates the presence of some 69 species of birds.
The access road to the park traverses the Clarens sandstone formations and Lesotho Basalt formations. In this region there are examples of dinosaur footprints.
The park has amazing rock formations, caves, cliffs and rich mineral deposits seen throughout the park area, including crystal clear rivers and rock pools.
The highest mountain peaks in the park are over 3200m, and the rich Kao diamond mine is just outside the park limits.
The park has 4 major rivers and numerous waterfalls (some of which even freeze over in winter), rock pools, swimming holes. A nearby valley known as the Valley Of The Pools has over 16 deep swimming holes, over a 5km stretch. A spectacular tripple waterfall known as Lesaloto is also only a 4 hour return hike from the lodge.