Bokong Nature Reserve is one of the highest reserves in Africa. It lies at the top of the Mafika-Lisiu Pass, leading to Katse Dam and reaches an altitude of 3090m above sea level.
There are some outstanding views across the highlands. However, the reserves highlight is the Lepaqoa Waterfall, which freezes in winter to form a column of ice.
The visitors’ centre (open between 08:00 and 17:00 daily) at the Bokong Nature Reserve is perched on the edge of a 100m cliff, was built with the aim of educating visitors to the kingdom about the ecology, geological and palaeontological history of the Lesotho Highlands. You may see cattle posts (metebo) which are the ruins of interconnected cattle shelters and kraals for stock that were built from stone.
Reasonable populations of rhebuck still occur on the plateau grass and heartlands, and the whole area abounds with colonies of the endemic ice rat which despite its cute appearance is heavily predated by all the small and medium mammalian carnivores and avian raptors in the area.
For the more adventurous there are pony rides, with the locally bred Basotho ponies an ideal way of negotiating the mountains and valleys.
The Bokong Reserve calls loud and clear to birders, being an ideal place from which to see the Bearded Vulture, as well as the many bird species endemic to this afro-alpine zone.
The reserve is also a haven for hikers, with a hiking camp and network of trails and walks — a 45-minute interpretive trail, half-day and full-day walks, as well as a two- to three-day hike along the alpine plateau “Roof of Africa”, down into the Ts’ehlanyane National Park some 32 km to the North. There are two overnight huts for hikers, with a kitchenette and an ablution facility along the way. The use of a local guide is strongly encouraged as the weather in these high altitude areas is very unpredictable. It also provides much-needed employment for the local highland dwellers.
The visitor’s centre is open, as is the restaurant however the beautifully constructed accommodation has not been opened as yet. Campsites are available.
How to get there:
GPS Co-Ordinates: S29° 4′ 17.20″, E28° 25′ 31.90″
Approximately 1:15 hours from the Ficksburg border post and 95km from the Caledonspoort border post near Butha-Buthe.
The reserves entrance is next to the visitors’ centre, signposted left off the highway beyond the Mafika-Lisiu Pass.