Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Area
Latest News24 June 2013
Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site
The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park as an extension to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site in South Africa and it will now to be named the Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site.
The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Area covers 14 740 km2 of the mountains that straddle the north-eastern border between Lesotho and South Africa. It comprises a transboundary World Heritage Site, the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, composed of the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa.
The area has spectacular scenery and is an important centre of endemism for montane plant species. The mountains, with their highest peak Thaba Ntlenyana rising to 3 482m, are of exceptional beauty and are home to the world's greatest outdoor gallery, containing the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara.
There are some 600 known sites containing between 35 - 40 000 individual images, which were painted by the San people over a period of at least 4 000 years. The area is furthermore the most important water catchment area for the people of Lesotho and South Africa.
An MoU towards the establishment of the Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA was signed on 11 June 2001 and Lesotho's Sehlabathebe National Park was proclaimed on 2 November 2001. The Foundation supported the development of Sehlabathebe's management and tourism plans, as well as infrastructural development, notably an entrance gate and arrival centre, to turn it into a major tourist attraction.
The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development project was launched by the Ministers of the Environment and the World Bank, the implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) $15.24 million project. Management plans for the Lesotho component as well as the TFCA as a whole were completed in 2008.
On 22 June 2013 the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park as an extension to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site in South Africa.
The transboundary World Heritage Site is called the Maloti-Drakensberg Park and is a site of both cultural and natural outstanding universal value. This is Lesotho's first World Heritage Site.