Sehlabathebe National Park and World Heritage Site.
Sehlabathebe National Park (SNP) and World Heritage Site (WHS) is the Kingdom of Lesotho’s oldest protected area and first WHS. SNP is located in the Qacha’s Nek District of Lesotho on the eastern edge of the Maloti Mountains at an altitude ranging from 2,200m to 2,600m above sea level. The 6,500ha SNP WHS together with the 242,813ha uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site (UDP WHS) in South Africa.
The Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) that led to SNP’s inscription as a WHS include the presence of more than 200 rock art sites and heritage features, rare and endangered species as well as distinctive landscape characteristics. The programmes designed to achieve the desired state for the Park focus primarily on the conservation of the valuable culture-historical and biodiversity elements of the area, including the status of the Park as a WHS and a Transfrontier Conservation Area.
The Park is largely pristine and approximately 30% of its surface area forms a catchment that comprises extensive wetland ecosystems supplying clean water to Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia. A designated wilderness comprises most of the Park retaining its natural character. It offers significant habitat to a range of unique Afro-Alpine and Sub-Alpine plants, mammals, avifauna, reptiles, amphibians and fish with several internationally recognised rare and threatened endemic species including the Cape and Bearded vultures, Maloti Minnow and Sehlabathebe Lily. SNP’s rich cultural heritage includes 222 archaeological sites, 97 of which are rock art sites, qualifying the Park as one of the densest rock art concentrations in the world.