“Mountain of Happiness”
Situated in a remote area of the Witteberge (white mountains) of the scenic Eastern Free State Highlands of South Africa is a hidden magical place called Thaba Thabo which is a spectacular 1500ha nature reserve and working farm.
The sandstone mountains offer breathtakingly views to the nearby Maluti mountains in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. There are deep valleys with towering sandstone cliffs, some hidden caves with bushman paintings, seasonal wildflowers as well as seasonal and perennial streams and waterfalls that make hiking on one of four trails a wonderful, invigorating pastime. There are also ruins of early Sotho huts on the reserve. Some of the huts are corbelled and are believed to be 300 years old. Most of Thaba Thabo is on top of the mountain range with the lowest point being at 1700m above sea level.
The sandstone-basalt contact is almost exactly at 1900m and forms a convenient altitude reference. Thaba Thabo has a good rainfall more uniformly distributed throughout the year than that of the rest of the Highveld. It normally has snowfalls each winter.
A proliferation of buck, black wildebeest (gnus) and zebra roam the reserve as well as ostriches and various warthog families. The sable antelope are in a special enclosure close to the base camp. Many mammals on the reserve are nocturnal or crepuscular and are not often seen.
There are many interesting bird species, particularly those associated with high mountains, such as grey-wing francolin, ground woodpecker, stone chat, rock thrushes, orange breasted rock jumper, rock kestrel, bald ibis, gymnogene, black eagle and so on. Lammergeyer are occasionally seen flying along the edge of the high krantzes.
The owners of Thaba Thabo are active in the release of animals that have been rehabilitated at various centres across the country.
About Thaba Thabo
The spectacular 1500 hectares Thaba Thabo Nature Reserve is situated in the Witteberg mountain range close to Ficksburg and the Lesotho border in the Eastern Free State highlands.
The reserve consists of three game farms, Afton, Gilboa and Thaba Thabo. All three game farms are registered nature reserves and collectively they are known as Thaba Thabo which means Mountain of Happiness.
The reserve is renowned for its scenic setting and boasts numerous wildlife species which include sable antelope, eland, gemsbuck, black wildebeest, blesbuck, impala, springbuck, zebra, warthog, mountain reedbuck, southern reedbuck, grey rhebuck, red hartebeest, duiker, ostrich, steenbuck, etc. Many towering sandstone cliffs, fountains and perennial and seasonal streams are found on the reserve. A seasonal waterfall drops into a deep wooded gorge. Three dams offer area shelter to an abundance of bird life.
There are breathtakingly views in every direction, over the reserve and beyond and including the Maluti mountains of Lesotho. Biologically it lies in a major ecological transitional zone resulting in a great diversity of habitats (both Drakensberg and Free State High Veld vegetation) and rare plant and animal communities with an affinity for rocky places, water courses and mixed vegetation, e.g. baboon, caracal, serval, genet, jackal, fox, otter, mongoose, dassie, porcupine and many others. There are also many bird species associated with high mountains such as grey-wing francolin, ground woodpecker, stone chat, rock thrush, orange breasted rock jumper, rock kestrel, malachite and great double collared sunbirds, bald ibis, gymnogene and black eagle. The reserve has one of the best geological exposures of the top of the Karoo geological system.
The accommodation is rustic, self-catering and cleaned daily. All linen, pillows, towels, cutlery, crockery, pots, pans and cooking utensils are provided. Electricity is available and is generated by solar panels and stored in batteries. Please leave high energy consuming items like hair dryers and electric blankets at home. No TV’s, we have nature.
- Sleeps 14
- 3 bedrooms
- Lounge, dining, kitchen area
- 5 toilets, 4 washbasins and 2 showers.
- Gas geyser, a gas fridge/freezer, four plate gas stove with oven
- Jewel wood stove for those cold winter days.
- Outside braai area is available.
- This building is ideal for families or friends as the below chalets are suited for couples only.
- 3 cosy rondavel style sandstone chalets
- Each containing a double bed, a bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet.
- The kitchenette comes equipped with a double gas plate and a fridge/freezer.
- A Dover wood stove is also fitted for those cold winter days.
- An outside braai is available at each chalet.
- Visitors are required to bring their own firewood and ice.
- It is important to note that only SUV’s and pickups can access the reserve. The access road is NOT suitable for sedan vehicles. On a first visit to the reserve it is advisable to arrive before sunset.
Please click here to read more on the trails at Thaba Thabo Nature Reserve.
- R250.00 pp.pn – Adult
- R125.00 pp.pn – U/12
- R150.00 pp – Day Visitors
- R75.00 pp – U/12 -Day Visitors
- R55.00 admin fee once off per reservation.