Overview – Sehlabathebe NP

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband write and update content for many travel organizations, including the Lesotho Tourist Board.

Sehlabathebe National Park is a hiker’s paradise. Its dramatic and rugged landscape is characterized by rock arches, outcrops, caves and pools set against a backdrop of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg escarpment. Established as Lesotho’s first national park in 1970, it was incorporated in the cross-border Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site in 2008. Visiting one of the many San rock-art sites is a worthwhile cultural experience.

Best Time to Go January to December (Anytime)
High Season Never (The park is little visited)
Size 65km² / 25mi²
Altitude 2,255-2,586m / 7,398-8,484ft

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful rugged scenery
  • Great hiking and horseback-riding opportunities
  • Excellent birding
  • Remote destination with great wilderness appeal
  • Only one self-catering lodge available
  • No restaurant or other facilities available
  • Only one short road into the park
  • Difficult access roads, 4x4 is required

Sehlabathebe NP Safari Reviews

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Wildlife

Wildlife is scarce in Sehlabathebe, but you’re likely to see grey rhebok, the most common antelope in the park. You’ll find them grazing on the grassy slopes in small groups. Chacma baboons and rock hyrax love the cliffs, and if you’re lucky you might come across a herd of eland, Africa’s largest antelope. The most common predator is the black-backed jackal.

Scenery

It’s worth getting out at dawn to witness a playground of ancient natural rock arches and balancing boulders at the base of the Drakensberg Mountains in the rising mist. The surrounding rolling grassland, dotted with reflecting glassy pools, comes to life in spring when wildflowers bring a splash of color to this dramatic scene.

Weather & Climate

Sehlabathebe NP is located at high altitude and has a very mild climate. You’ll need warm clothing for cold evenings and mornings, and even daytime can be chilly. There are distinct Wet and Dry seasons, which correspond with the southern hemisphere’s summer and winter respectively. Summer rainfall usually comes in the form of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Best Time to Visit

Sehlabathebe NP can be visited throughout the year. The scenery is best appreciated when it is at its most beautiful from December to April. At this time the landscape is green and the air is crisp and free of dust. However, you might need to plan your hiking more carefully from October to March when afternoon storms can be expected. April to September is reliably dry, but it can be very cold at that time.

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Sehlabathebe NP Safari Reviews

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  • Wildlife
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  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding