The Basotho name for “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 1 500 hectares nature
reserve and working farm.
The sandstone mountains offer breathtaking views in every direction…. over the reserve and beyond and including the Maluti mountains in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
The reserve is renowned for its scenic setting and boasts numerous
wildlife species which include eland, black wildebeest, blesbuck, zebra, warthog, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest, duiker, ostrich, steenbuck, etc.
Many towering sandstone cliffs, fountains and perennial and seasonal
streams are found on the reserve. A waterfall drops into a deep wooded gorge.
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 guided trails a wonderful, invigorating pastime. Guests are also welcome to walk wherever they want on the reserve.
There are ruins of early Sotho huts on the reserve. Some of the huts are corbelled and are believed to be at least 300 years old.
“The reserve has one of the best geological exposures of the top of the Karoo geological system”
Most of Thaba Thabo is on top of the mountain range with the lowest point being at 1 700 metres above sea level and the highest point at 2 158 metres. The sandstone-basalt contact is almost exactly at 1 900 metres 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. Crystals such as agate & quartz are found in abundance on the ridges.
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.
Many mammals on the reserve are nocturnal or crepuscular and are not often seen.
Four dams offer area shelter to an abundance of bird life. 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. Lammergeyer are occasionally seen flying along the edge of the high krantzes.
The large dams offer good carp fishing.