Sehlabathebe National Park

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Sehlabathebe National Park is the only official National Park in Lesotho. Half the fun of Sehlabathebe National Park is getting there, since it is rather remote. You need a 4X4 vehicle but even then you could be stuck going in or out waiting for a river to go down after heavy rains. The average elevation of the park is some 2,400 metres which means you can get altitude sickness.

Sehlabathebe National ParkIf you do arrive in Sehlabathebe National Park then the best thing to do is go on a hike or a pony trek to fully enjoy the scenery. It maybe a good idea to take a guide with you on your excursions (there is always someone willing to take you for a minimal fee) as it is easy to get lost if a thick mist descends

Birding at Sehlabathebe National Park

Sehlabathebe National ParkSpecials include Yellowbreasted Pipit and high altitude birds such as Drakensberg Siskin, Mountain Pipit, Orangebreasted Rockjumper and Bearded Vulture. Karoo species such as Sicklewinged Chat may be found juxtaposed with eastern species. Sehlabathebe is not all that far from where there have been recent sightings of Egyptian Vulture, and perhaps Rudd's Lark will be found in the vicinity. Experts can weight the pro’s and cons of the Karoo Prinia and Spotted Prinia, and of Wailing Cisticola and Greybacked Cisticola; and provide records which may extend further eastward than the recorded distribution of karoo birds, by reporting to the the "Birds in Reserves Project" through David Ambrose, National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho. (Tel: 09266-340300).

Hiking Trails at Sehlabetebe

  • Sani Top to Seblabathebe This is a 3 day hike. From Sani Top, head south up the valley behind the border post, taking the right hand fork near the head of the valley. This brings you to the top of Masubasuba Pass. Head over the saddle directly south, and from here, it is possible to ascend the south peak of Hodgson's Peaks, 3256m, from the south side. Superb 360 degree views are to be had from here on a clear day. From the saddle, descend, cross the Pitsaneng valley and follow the edge of the escarpment south as far as the headwaters of the Mashai River. Here, one must head west for about 5km until a well- trodden bridle path is met. Follow this path south. After two long, high passes, the path descends into the Thamatu valley. From the village of Ha Motsekinyane there is a choice to either follow the road south to Sehlabathebe village, or head over the pass between Baroa-ba-baroa and Thaba Ntso down to Jonathan's Lodge in the National Park.
  • Sehonghong to Sehlabathebe This is 2 - 3 day hike. The road out of Sehoughong is shocking, and it's one option to follow it to the Matabeng River. Another alternative is to descend from Sehonghong to the Senqu River, and follow the remains of the old road south along the banks of the river until reaching the Matabeng River. Continue several kilometres up the valley, and where the road climbs up out of the valley on the right, a major tributary, the Patiseng river, comes in from the left. Follow this valley up, past numerous villages. The last one before Makoaneng Pass (over 3000m) is Ha Ramaepho, and from the pass are superb views all around. There is a long descent, eventually reaching the Leqooa river. Follow it downstream to Sehlabathebe village.