Lesotho Highlands – Mafika Lisiu Pass/Bokong Nature Reserve/Katse Dam
About the Birding
Numerous streams may flow strongly following afternoon thunderstorms in summer; this is the best time to visit the area, both for birding and for scenery, and recommendations here relate to this time of year. Brief stops at lay-bys on the ascent to the summit of the Mafika Lisiu Pass provide opportunities for close-up views of Horus Swift, which breeds in the road cuttings. The vegetated slopes close to the road also produce Drakensberg Siskin, Cape Bunting, Cape Grassbird and Cape Rock Thrush, while Barratt’s Warbler may be heard calling from the lower slopes and watercourse Leucosidea thickets.
About the Birding Site
A great birding site in the Lesotho Highlands is the Mafika Lisiu Pass / Bokong Nature Reserve. The tarred Mafika Lisiu Pass is on the main northern access route from the western lowlands of Lesotho to the Katse Dam deep in the highlands of the Maluti Mountains. From the summit of this spectacular Pass, the road traverses the 1970 ha Bokong Nature Reserve before dropping steeply to the east to the village of Ha Lejone. At more than 3000 metres a.s.l., the Reserve is one of the highest in Africa.
Other Related Information
Enter Lesotho at the Ficksburg/Maputsoe border post and proceed through Maputsoe to the T-junction at the A1. Turn left, heading to Hlotse/Leribe; after 15 km turn right onto the A25, signposted to Pitseng/Katse. The road meanders through rural villages and farmland before the start of the Mafika Lisiu Pass; thereafter the ascent is steep and the view site at the top of the Pass is reached after about 50 km. After a few kilometres at this high altitude, the road descends steeply to Ha Lejone village, from where it continues to Katse.