The Tsethlanyane National 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.
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.
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 have 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 list included two of the Red Data species listed above (bearded and Cape vultures), and only one (orange-breasted rock jumper) of the three southern African endemic species considered to be globally “near-threatened” because of their restricted range.
It is likely that further work will considerably extend this list. Activities in the park include numerous hiking and bridle paths, one of which is a spectacular 39km trail linking the Tsehlanyane National Park with the Bokong Nature Reserve. There are plenty of photographic opportunities and not only is the scenery spectacular, the fauna and flora offer a boundless variety of photographic subjects. On daywalks one can experience nature first hand by taking a stroll in to the indigenous woodlands. For birdlovers, keep an eye out for the Bearded Vulture and Ground Woodpecker. Basotho horse rides offer an Ideal way to explore nature from a higher vantage point and swimming in the pristine streams and rock pools are extremely revigorating. Small to medium sized game viewing with about 24 species presentis also available.