Wildlife of Lesotho

Wildlife of Lesotho

Together with the neighboring uKhahlamba-Drakensberg in South Africa, the highlands of Lesotho form a hub of ancient floral biodiversity known to botanists as the Drakensberg Alpine Centre. More than 2,000 plant species are indigenous to this region and of these roughly 30 percent are endemic (in other words, they occur nowhere else) and more than 100 are listed as globally threatened.

Some species are regarded as vulnerable. Although no formal assessments have yet been made of the mammals present in the protected area, the following list of twelve species has been taken from patrol reports. Small mammals such as the striped field mouse would not normally be reported by field staff.

Hunting is known to have been taking place within the park in the past. Foot traffic and horse will be a permanent feature on the Holomo pass, and consequently, some illegal hunting must be expected. The good quality access road from Hlotse to the park provides access to the boundary of the park and with this, a similar threat of illegal hunting. Current faunal population levels are probably lower than what is considered to be the natural carrying capacity of the park.

Lesotho is not a top destination for wildlife but 24 mammalian species recorded in the Highlands area; only the ice rat is endemic to the area.

Small to medium-sized mammal species present in Lesotho include the

  • Ice rat
  • The clawless otter
  • African wild cat
  • There is circumstantial evidence that leopard still occurs in a few refuge habitats)
  • Black‐backed jackal
  • Porcupine
  • Caracal
  • Grey reedbuck
  • Rock hyrax
  • African wildcat
  • Baboon
  • Grey reedbuck
  • Klipspringer
  • Smith’s red rock rabbit
  • Porcupine
  • Rock hyrax Ice rat
  • Black-backed jackal
  • Small grey mongoose
  • Water mongoose
  • Striped polecat

Best time for game viewing in Lesotho

The best season for Lesotho travel is generally in the transitional periods. In winter, it is sunny during the day, but the cold (dropping to 5°F) makes many visitors wary. In summer, it is warm, with temperatures up to the high 70s. The temperature differences between day and night are, however, very pronounced, which frequently results in thunderstorms. The weather is especially pleasant in April and May.

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