Sehlabathebe National Park, the oldest nature reserve in the country, is remote and almost inaccessible, but predictably peaceful and stunningly beautiful.
Set on the border with South Africa in the southern reaches of the Drakensberg at an average altitude of 2400m, the park is best known for its prolific birdlife, including the rare bearded vulture (or lammergeier), excellent trout fishing on the Tsoelikana River, waterfalls, rock paintings and ancient Basotho stone dwellings, and seemingly endless open spaces just perfect for hiking.
There are also a few game animals: baboons, rhebuck, eland and the secretive oribi antelope, mongoose, otters, wild cats and jackals. In good weather you probably won't be in any hurry to leave, but at any time of year mists and rain can emerge out of nowhere, even on the finest of days, so come prepared. The best places to stay is in the Sethlabathebe National Park and just outside the park at Khotso Mountain Lodge .
A far less-used route into the highlands than the northern road to Mokhotlong, the mountain road from Mount Moorosi to Sehlabathebe is ruggedly beautiful, and has the added bonus of the mighty Senqu (Orange) River winding majestically alongside much of it. If the Katse dam builders have their way, the Senqu will in a few years be much reduced, but for now the chocolate-brown river is normally in full flood, in winter at least. Highlights along the route include Thaba Moorosi, the mountain where the outlawed chief Moorosi made his last stand against the British in 1879, and the remote, pristine national park of Sehlabathebe – perfect for fishing, bird-watching and mile-upon-mile of isolated hiking.