Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Losper on April 06, 2019, 11:07:59 pm

Title: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 06, 2019, 11:07:59 pm
So,  Xpat calls me and asked me if I wanna join him on a trip to find the origin of the Orange river.
It took me exactly 2 seconds to think about it and the answer was: HELL YES!!!

The Orange river is called the Senqu river in Lesotho and it's origin is about 20km south east of Afriski at an altitude of 2940meters. Xpat has been exploring in that area on previous rides so the route plan was sort of pre planned.
We met up at Caledonspoort border post and trailored our bikes to Afriski. We left the vehicles there,got on the bikes and headed to Letseng mine where we took the gravel road and decended down to 2360meteres where we "booked" in at the Chalets in the Sky "guest house".

We were both on 500's, which is the perfect weapon for this kind of exploring ride. We got up at 5am and were on the bikes at 6am.
Find attached a map of the planned route up to the origin(red line) and then down again(green line) to the lodge.We were not sure that we would be successful to reach the origin (there was even a small chance that we would sleep in the mountains that night). The distance from the base at the lodge to the origin of the river is only 13km (as the crow flies) but we had to take a detour route that was 45km long (red line) because of the 600 metres we had to ascend to get to our destination. 
 
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Oubones on April 07, 2019, 04:12:04 am
 :imaposer: :sip:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Ganjora on April 07, 2019, 05:14:02 am
More please
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: IanTheTooth on April 07, 2019, 05:48:30 am
A real ride report!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: SchalkL on April 07, 2019, 07:01:13 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: MonkeyNot on April 07, 2019, 07:29:23 am
Sub

Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Offshore on April 07, 2019, 07:37:53 am
 :thumleft: :sip:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 07, 2019, 12:48:36 pm
The first 2 or 3 km was a great 2 spoor with a  few interesting water crossings and then we started the ascend.
Xpat has a 15 liter tank fitted to his 500 but mine was standard, on the photo's you will see a my black fuel bladder hanging over the light and handlebar.There was light rain the previous night and that made the grassy/gravel  surface just wet enough to help with traction.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 06:35:05 pm
Just for a context: Orange source has been a target of mine for a while as getting there was the last missing piece to complete Drakensberg traverse from Sehlabathebe in south all the way to Afriski in the north. By Drakensber traverse I mean riding along the Drakensberg escarpment. I have made it together with Highsider and under guidance of Iain McDonald from Sehlabathebe to Sani through Rhino peak in November, then I have managed to get from Afri Ski to Mokhotlong over the highest mountain in Africa south of Kilimanjaro Thabana Ntlenyana. And the last missing piece was getting from Mokhotlong to Afriski.

I have already done Afriski to Chalets in the Sky in the Khubelu valley few km east of Letseng mine and few km west as the crow flies of Source of Orange. So the last missing piece was getting from Mokhotlong to Source of Orange.

Over the past 5 months I have tried 6 - 7 times to find the way up the escarpment first from Mokhotlong following the Orange valley upstream, and then following Khubelu river upstream in the hope that I will find valley scalable fo me on 500 to get up on escarpment. All in vain though. And as I was about to give up, I remembered that about a year ago I have made it up on the ridge once before from Chalets in the Sky when I tried - again in vain - to cross over to Orange river valley. This approach was about 10 km south of CITS (Chalets in the sky) lodge (official name I think is Maloraneng lodge) so actually in the opposite direction of source of Orange, but it will get me on the high ridge that I failed to scale so far anywere else and I could then try to follow the top of the ridge to the source.

Here is a map with the routes I have ridden in my failed attempts, as well as the final successful one with Losper:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7879/33680154588_9698178a00_c.jpg)

So that was my last hope. I have contacted Losper, whom I kept informed about my misadventures all along, after New Year's but didn't hold my breath as I fully expected that he may not have time right after return from year end holidays. Fortunatelly, he could still squeeze in 4 days of riding and I was elated as he is much better rider than me giving use much better chance for success (or rather giving me less room to chicken out as I like to do o9n my own) and I was really keen to finally make it to the source.

Here are pictures from my first few failed attempts following up Orange valley from Mokhotlong:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7921/46833027484_6376f715c2_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7811/40590672513_9936e462ae_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7892/33680005028_6729cc5e63_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7905/47556789361_4eba86026a_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7898/33680021668_1c77c80c63_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7820/47503921502_f01006a2b3_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7894/46641276525_e2a0e392d0_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7893/47503940942_a7d6ccf76f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7858/32614281287_f4770f038c_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7908/46641300545_4e110e8999_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7869/47503953372_460bfdb8d9_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7809/46641317565_94bbe0313d_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7827/33680073738_64c2321b90_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7876/46833128424_d6eb8c8032_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 06:39:03 pm
And this is where I had to turn back on 2 or 3 occassions, once with the boiling clutch fluid. The bit ahead was still doable, but I have walked over onto the other side and I couldn't find any realistic route from there up the steep mountain side.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7859/33680112398_343ffdcd06_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7837/33680122618_00f5eefb26_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7919/33680128088_8b74c3b7ca_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7908/33680133408_d7de61fd67_c.jpg)


So I gave up on the Orange valley approach and instead moved to CITS in the adjacent Khubelu river valley to see if I can find route up the range from there. I tried 3 - 4 times, but in vain again.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7866/46833174344_8623b7d3cd_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7897/47556913011_974a47414b_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7868/47504036322_88bb83db63_c.jpg)


Which brings us to the beginning of this report and I will hand over back to Losper.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Offshore on April 07, 2019, 06:59:05 pm
Thanks for sharing, this is a good one.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 07:06:18 pm
Losper already started on day 1, so let me add some pictures with short commentary from my side.

Here is the start of our ascent from the Khubelu valley up the escarpment. I have done this twice before on my own, battling in places, but this time it was by far the worst for me. The track was heading up steep valley almost straight east and as we were there very early that meant we had sun full force in our face. I maintain that the only appropriate helmet for adv riding/dual sporting is open face so I ride trial's helmet that makes interactions with local much easier, but it came to bite me in the ass here, as it has very short beak and hence is useless against direct sun. So I was riding up the rutted offcamber cattle tracks more or less blind getting stuck all the time and properly annoyed making Losper probably wonder why did he teamed up with this grumpy sod (we have never met before, so he didn't know what to expect). I've made it up eventually with Losper's help once or twice, but it was inauspicious start into the day to say the least.

Losper at the start of ascent:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/4842/31871379637_063e632444_c.jpg)


And at the top scaling the top of the range ahead:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7915/46760405522_2692a22412_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7899/46760419752_330d70a5bd_c.jpg)


From my prior stint here, when I walked next 4 km, I knew that there is initially uncomfortably steep km or two long offcamber section. I approached it very tentatively and battled in places, but not keen to make total ass of myself in front of Losper (there is a reason why I like to ride on my own...) I pushed and made it through. I have learned since from Losper that my tyres were not the best - I was using C02s which are great knobblies for general dual sporting as they last, but they are too hard. I have been there again later on on my own with softer tyres and what a difference they made!


One of my whoopsies, you can see the cattle tracks we were to follow on the side of the hill at the background:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4869/32937099298_23b20190c3_c.jpg)


We made it through the tough bit. What followed was still very rock and quite offcamber, but somewhat easier than that initial 2 km on the top of the range. Losper checking out the Orange valley on the other side of the range:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4866/39847553543_378b1360a6_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4896/31871455137_8c6d645f3e_c.jpg)


That teethy section on the left of the horizon is where the Source of Orange is about 10 - 15 km away:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4848/46087991504_e8107f89a7_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4894/46760514262_b7f93158bf_c.jpg)


Losper thinks he is number 1. Well yes, in this company he is, but that is kind of like feeling elated at passing 30% matric pass rate...


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7835/31871521607_c3a1e66674_c.jpg)


It got flatter at the top, but still very rocky, so I don't thinkw we got out of 2nd gear, and if then for only very short periods:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4897/46813035091_1c9b82e27a_c.jpg)


Losper with Letseng mine visible on the horizon on the opposite side of the Khubelu valley:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7925/46760624522_9a574baa94_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 07:18:37 pm
After about 10 - 15 km on the top of the range we have finally connected to a track I have done before heading to Afriski and after km or two on that we have turned west and followed down the shallow valley to the wide basin sitting on top of the Drakensberg escarpment right at the border of RSA. That basin - a one big marsh really is where the Orange begins its long journey to Atlantic.

Unfortunatelly by the time we arrived to the basin, dense clouds from the coast were hugging the excarpment so the views were not great. But I'm pretty sure this place has about the best views this side of Kilimanjaro as it sits slap bang next to Cathedral peaks and provides views over KZN about 1000 meters below.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7842/46088190574_928ac60254_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7808/46088194744_619abd9fd8_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4811/32937368298_c801ee2b05_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7800/32937398818_61823d7705_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4917/32937410648_de11bf9fbc_c.jpg)


There is a little waterfal on the Orange up there, probably the first disturbance on its long journey:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7839/45898194745_b3b7305c67_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7898/39847989063_e01fb15e1b_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7813/45898308705_835c7877df_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 07:33:00 pm
The whole Orange source basin is kind of like peninsula in the sky - little outcrop of escarpment extending over the lowland under. We rode along the edge of the escarpment in the vain hope that the clouds would open up giving us view of the KZN below. We did the obligatory photoshoot on top whenever clouds opened up enough to make it worth it:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4818/45898530885_6c3445aeb5_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7834/32937767698_c68248d9e2_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7849/32937825758_374229c537_c.jpg)


Losper showing teh SA/Lesotho border. We might have trespassed here and there...


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7851/39848296743_55bba60465_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7927/31872163597_8d632a4d35_c.jpg)


Orange source basin:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4843/31872171397_144c1fe009_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4813/45898645795_09c3f140c9_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4901/46761229292_40eac805d1_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4902/39848392783_c82885f584_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4863/39848475263_6b1ecfeff8_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7866/46761345162_8747fbc163_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7860/39848527433_2348804d0d_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7858/46761416772_62ee4bbc45_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4807/32938127748_21ccd6c581_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7895/39848585333_7ceef8452c_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7828/32938154738_9d4d69f590_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7817/32938257318_b5de353ab7_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7909/31872567697_4e1cf037c7_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7864/31872606467_3d41632ca4_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7919/45899071035_97bd71afcb_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4834/46089159684_e6d1d9c615_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7882/45899144625_398fdb6ba2_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7917/32938429838_66a654ef76_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 07:45:46 pm
We continued along the escarpment looking for the highest point in the basin with some water on it that we could designate a source of Orange:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7851/46814637751_881555618b_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7888/46089770934_a3fd1f2792_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4860/46089778634_526c91bbd5_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4871/45899666525_0f15f4c201_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7816/31873281627_ba5729c5a5_c.jpg)


If you have seen the Top Gear episode when they are looking for the source of Nile, you have pretty good idea about how our quest for source of Orange went. Basicaly the whole basin is one big marsh and it is pretty random which standing pool of water within the square km or so one chooses to be THE source. We picked this one (feel free to go up there and pick your own):


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7907/46814745191_1066a4d64a_c.jpg)


But then we switched to this one...


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7884/46089841674_79b1d82118_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7907/32939091418_0320de842f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7861/46814825891_a38c1cafac_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 07:54:56 pm
After that we wasted some more time around the escarpment hoping the clouds would lift:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4839/46089940544_f300b54499_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4917/32939212258_8c94cd968e_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7926/32939221108_d12f8816d4_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7889/46089998334_48be033703_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7843/46814944361_bfdb24b556_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4843/31873554587_f6339db8d3_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4916/45900066745_4305b69ded_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7844/46762527402_ddfd421734_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7842/46815062021_52507ac935_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7857/32939403408_1488becc6e_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7897/46090207464_49d5d953c6_c.jpg)


After lunch break, it was time to turn back and head back up the valley we came down earlier:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4815/46815126611_bf29c2e70c_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4804/46090239824_9290d48cbb_c.jpg)


Back at the top of the range where we connected again to the track from Afriski


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4846/46815198811_ecf24429c5_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Offshore on April 07, 2019, 08:19:41 pm
Well done, this is a Pioneering RR, Original and Hardcore. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Tuareg on April 07, 2019, 08:38:26 pm
Lesotho is a special place full of opportunity for adventure........
Great ride report of an incredible ride......
Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Grunder on April 07, 2019, 09:21:41 pm
Thank you

Man, Lesotho... So close yet so far!!

I must keep my eyes open. Maybe join Losper once on a trip when they go with the ATs (or spectate with some beers)

Would love to be able to explore Lesotho for myself.

Sent from my ANE-LX1 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Oubones on April 07, 2019, 09:46:09 pm
Very nice!
Mm, you will have to back to take photo’s when the clouds are not in the way. :pot:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 07, 2019, 09:53:04 pm
Very nice!
Mm, you will have to back to take photo’s when the clouds are not in the way. :pot:

Sure, but it is not going to be that different from my last ride nearby - something like this:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4645/27468336789_a07efed533_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4588/27468300139_b8d2587694_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4730/25377432078_63659090b7_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4635/39243538381_ca26633d02_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4692/39243459601_7772d1784b_c.jpg)


Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 08, 2019, 03:46:13 am
That really is the Roof of Africa.

Lesotho calls big time for me now ... thanks to reports like this.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Oubones on April 08, 2019, 05:03:12 am
Nice, I nearly went through Lesotho this weekend but decided to rather take the safe option as the weather was bad and I did not want to take a chance as I am on my way to Hardy to go to Nam.
Lesotho is just magic and you guys get to go to the nicest parts.
Respect! and jealous!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Kobus Myburgh on April 08, 2019, 06:10:40 am
Loved this - thanks for sharing.  :thumleft:

Is that in other words Thaba Putsoa, where the Senqu originates?
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: >>Thump°C on April 08, 2019, 08:39:21 am
Awesome report with stunning pics.

Thanks for posting
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 08, 2019, 08:41:39 am
Loved this - thanks for sharing.  :thumleft:
Is that in other words Thaba Putsoa, where the Senqu originates?
Hi Kobus,  Thaba Putsoa is in the centre of Lesotho closer to Mohale dam.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Kobus Myburgh on April 08, 2019, 08:57:44 am
Loved this - thanks for sharing.  :thumleft:
Is that in other words Thaba Putsoa, where the Senqu originates?
Hi Kobus,  Thaba Putsoa is in the centre of Lesotho closer to Mohale dam.

Dankie Pieter.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Lem on April 08, 2019, 08:58:31 am
Dankie menere, hierdie is nou wragtig epies  :thumleft:

Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 09:49:54 am
Loved this - thanks for sharing.  :thumleft:

Is that in other words Thaba Putsoa, where the Senqu originates?

I don't think so - unless there are multiple Thaba Putsoa.

Wikipedia says so, but it is wrong as far as I can see. Thaba Putsoa is just south of Mohale dam in central Lesotho, while source of Orange is in the north east at the top of the southernmost tip of Amphitheater escarpment .
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: wilfwalk on April 08, 2019, 09:58:31 am
Well done guys, and the photos sure show some dramatic scenery !
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Dustbiter on April 08, 2019, 10:34:02 am
Good morning,
my 5c worth - looking on Google Maps and Map Source - as I am sure that Losper did it looks as if the Orange /Senqu River arises as shown.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: OomD on April 08, 2019, 10:34:09 am
Now this is the type of report that inspires! Well done guys, hats off! Thanks for posting the RR :thumleft:

Edit: Interesting that Basecamp map (ala Dustbiter's post above) differs a bit from Google maps, shown here. I'll trust basecamp on this one.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Operator on April 08, 2019, 11:02:32 am
 :sip:

Thanks. Great Ride Report!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 08, 2019, 12:03:17 pm
Have a look at the little stream in this picture.
It is hard to believe that this little stream grows into the mighty Orange river, picture taken less than 1km from its origin.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 08, 2019, 12:05:46 pm
Good morning,
my 5c worth - looking on Google Maps and Map Source - as I am sure that Losper did it looks as if the Orange /Senqu River arises as shown.
@Dustbiter,  you are correct, that is the origin as shown on your map :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 12:18:35 pm
Now this is the type of report that inspires! Well done guys, hats off! Thanks for posting the RR :thumleft:

Edit: Interesting that Basecamp map (ala Dustbiter's post above) differs a bit from Google maps, shown here. I'll trust basecamp on this one.

No, it does not. Googlemaps have source of Orange in exactly the same spot, or rather plain. Check the maps posted by Losper and I. The only difference is magnification.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 08, 2019, 12:20:30 pm
Those mountains are just stunning!! :drif: :drif:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: OomD on April 08, 2019, 12:23:34 pm
Now this is the type of report that inspires! Well done guys, hats off! Thanks for posting the RR :thumleft:

Edit: Interesting that Basecamp map (ala Dustbiter's post above) differs a bit from Google maps, shown here. I'll trust basecamp on this one.

No, it does not. Googlemaps have source of Orange in exactly the same spot, or rather plain. Check the maps posted by Losper and I. The only difference is magnification.
Yes it is the same location, Xpat. I was just referring to the way river itself is indicated, in both the images. Google maps does not detail it as much.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 12:24:55 pm
Now this is the type of report that inspires! Well done guys, hats off! Thanks for posting the RR :thumleft:

Edit: Interesting that Basecamp map (ala Dustbiter's post above) differs a bit from Google maps, shown here. I'll trust basecamp on this one.

No, it does not. Googlemaps have source of Orange in exactly the same spot, or rather plain. Check the maps posted by Losper and I. The only difference is magnification.

Ok, if you mean as the difference that tge river runs closer to escarpment, then yes, there is difference. But that is red herring imo, there isnt one spot that is THE source, that whole plain is basically a swamp which gets gradually streamed downhill into creek and then river further on.

We have ridden around the whole plain ti find the spot, but in reality there isnt one, there are multiple possible spots independent if each other
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: OomD on April 08, 2019, 12:40:28 pm
Now this is the type of report that inspires! Well done guys, hats off! Thanks for posting the RR :thumleft:

Edit: Interesting that Basecamp map (ala Dustbiter's post above) differs a bit from Google maps, shown here. I'll trust basecamp on this one.

No, it does not. Googlemaps have source of Orange in exactly the same spot, or rather plain. Check the maps posted by Losper and I. The only difference is magnification.

Ok, if you mean as the difference that tge river runs closer to escarpment, then yes, there is difference. But that is red herring imo, there isnt one spot that is THE source, that whole plain is basically a swamp which gets gradually streamed downhill into creek and then river further on.

We have ridden around the whole plain ti find the spot, but in reality there isnt one, there are multiple possible spots independent if each other
Awesome :thumleft: Some geography lessons too! Great info, thanks!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Dustbiter on April 08, 2019, 01:07:25 pm
Hi @Xpat,

I am not sure how the map could be misleading (“red herring”), but I do understand that finding an actual source of a river can be difficult – as you and @Losper mentioned the whole area is a swamp with many small streams.

I had found the same when hiking in the South Africa and Europe – e.g. looking for the sorce of the Tugela River in the 1970s, more north from the area you were in – it is difficult to pinpoint an actual source. And we only had 1:50 000 topo maps then. Even with 1:35 000 maps as here in Europe it can be difficult – as conditions constantly change from the time a map is created.

I merely added the magnified area, as one of the WDs seemed confused as to the area you were in. And local place names can also be a nightmare - with many names being allocated to places widely dispersed from one another.

I always enjoy your and @Losper’s reports and photographs.  :wav:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 01:21:08 pm
Hi @Xpat,

I am not sure how the map could be misleading (“red herring”), but I do understand that finding an actual source of a river can be difficult – as you and @Losper mentioned the whole area is a swamp with many small streams.

I had found the same when hiking in the South Africa and Europe – e.g. looking for the sorce of the Tugela River in the 1970s, more north from the area you were in – it is difficult to pinpoint an actual source. And we only had 1:50 000 topo maps then. Even with 1:35 000 maps as here in Europe it can be difficult – as conditions constantly change from the time a map is created.

I merely added the magnified area, as one of the WDs seemed confused as to the area you were in.

I always enjoy your and @Losper’s reports and photographs.  :wav:

All I meant by 'red herring' (and I may be using the expression wrong here) is that the river course indicated on each of the maps is just tentative. As said I do not think there really is one spot where the river starts - at least we were not able to find it. The whole plain acts like spongy sucking the moisture off the clouds rolling over it and then delivers the water via network of little streamlets (and most of it probably underground) into one little stream at the lowest point of the plain.

So one can say that both maps are correct or both wrong. I think the googlemaps seems to be starting where that little waterfall shown in the pictures is as it is kind of nice recognizable spot, while in the basecamp map the river runs further up in the plain as strictly speaking that is where the water feeding the waterfall is coming from.

But I'm sure we are on the same page by now. Glad you enjoy the report  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: RrP on April 08, 2019, 05:00:14 pm
Great report thank you both. Any fish up there ?
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Saddle Up on April 08, 2019, 06:23:47 pm
Another legendary trip. Well done and thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 07:15:50 pm
Great report thank you both. Any fish up there ?

Thanks, haven't seen any fish, but there are crabs up there.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 07:38:23 pm
So yesterday I finished at the top of the ridge after the successful conquest of Orange source. We still had to get back down. There were three possible routes off the ridge. One following the ridge north to Afriski about 70 km away. It was too afternoony for that one. Second retracing back the same way we came, which is what I thought we will do. And third was a shortcut heading almost straight down to Khubelu river and CITS in the valley bellow us. Losper not keen to retrace and aware of time was keen on that one.

I wasn't. I have done it once before and still suffer from minor PTSD - you will find that pitifull story somewhere here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=217872.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=217872.0). The track heads down a valley nice enough initially but then about half way through - as is usually the case in Lesotho - the valley gets much narrower, with very narrow paths running along my main nemesis - steep offcamber - through thicked bushes that try to kick one over all the time, with few rocky sections thrown in to add insult to injury. Losper is a great charmer and somehow made me believe that one year later I am much better rider then I was then. In short, I agreed.

It turned out, I'm not much better rider. Marginally yes, but not good enough to not have to walk my bike long sections (which is extremely tiring in places like this) and not good enough to not have to ask Losper to ride my bike over one or two gnarly places. Losper kept my moralle high by saying that this is pretty easy offcamber in bronze Roof and some such. It took us probably 1 and a half to 2 hours to navigate the worst 2 - 3 kms, but we eventually made it down in one piece (well, two pieces) and made it back to CITS just as the sun started set behind the horizon.

Strangely, I now feel that I should try it again with softer tyres - some people never learn.

Here some pics of this melodrama:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4882/45900300035_8701103656_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4887/46762813822_38edacdf24_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/7906/39850583973_9b7bf7a186_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 08:04:00 pm
Day 2 - CITS to Katse

After the unexpected success of day 1, we were still left with 3 days of riding. Luckily I'm always prepared for this scenario (or rather scenario when I fail and have to look elsewhere), so I had a loop in mind that would take us to Katse over some mountain tracks that Losper did before and then from there I wanted to try to cross to Mokhotlong over the mountains and Orange river on a track I identified as possibility on one of my prior trips.

So we packed up, left my car in CITS and headed up to Afriski first, where we refuelled from Losper's car and then pushed on to the ridge running south between Motete river in the east and Malibamatso river in the west. Here planned route:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7802/33688988828_38923f2fd1_c.jpg)


Initially we were making good progress, but I wasn't celebrating yet as I knew that the descent down to Motete Losper used last time with few other roofers is way above my paygrade and we were to try instead untested descent west to Malibamatso river, that promised to deliver the joys of the prior day descent from Orange source, and more.

Here some pictures from the ridge - night before there was big rain and even though on top of the range, we were basically riding one big swamp:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7857/32950994248_47beb62a8f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7804/46774308162_9fd846d1e7_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4866/32951028778_efe9b4f66a_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7850/39861550253_9c1098e44e_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/4892/32951359038_0ebb2591b5_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 08, 2019, 08:26:31 pm
View down on the Matete rive valley:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4825/32951379428_4af98a14b4_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7833/39861907033_73f01467c5_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/7885/32951588668_c1eaf887cc_c.jpg)


Eventually we arrived to the new section of range and pushed on for another km or 3 through increasingly gnarly terrain until we got a good look at the descent down to Malibamatso river we wanted to take. I kept my mouth shut and looked away whenever Losper looked at me to keep my terror to myself, so it was great relief when Losper said that it doesn't look good and we should rather turn back. Suddenly much more relaxed I said jovially something along the lines that if he doesn't feel comfortable doing that I'm not going to push him, and we turned back.

It was a bit said as the only alternative left was Kao mine road which is a bit of a let down on 500, but hey - we coudln't expect to win every day. We had a bit of a fun on the way anyway as the Matsuko river was in flood with one bakkie stuck in the middle of the river on the submerged bridge and we had to use pedestrian bridge to get over to the other side.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7826/39862083463_a6997568b5_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/4869/39862494163_ef471575dd_c.jpg)


On the other side we bumped into local on DR300 or 350 or some such. I have seen people like him before - they are government employees who transport blood samples and vaccines and stuff to the remote clinics. He did not dare to cross the river and decided to ride with us back to Lejone - convoy as he called it. Man, did he haul ass! I had to bring my A game and was still barely keeping up, though at every stop I of course smiled nonchalantly, putting out the most relaxed vibe I could muster. We had at least twice the HP of the little DR, but on these tight tracks the DR was more then a match as he didn't have to be as carefull with his throttle.

In Lejone we filled up the tanks from the lady sitting on the side of the road and then took dirt road running along the east side of the Katse lake all the way down to Katse dam. Losper is an engineering aficionado and loves to explore different nooks and cranies of the dam system. Me being from a country where every bigger village has dam of its own was a bit more indifferent, though I was impressed when he explained the tunnels that carried the water underground from (and to) the dam for dozens of kms.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4905/46775267852_b5f26f19c1_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4841/46827621271_7b4bd7af68_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/7895/32952135278_68eb15ff8c_c.jpg)


We booked into dorm in Katse lodge and settled into the restaurant for proper steak and beer for me.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7841/46102598014_e344af97b8_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Bokveld on April 08, 2019, 10:00:43 pm
    This is a BBRR.  (big balls ride report) Thanks for a very interesting and spectacular RR. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 08, 2019, 10:25:42 pm
    This is a BBRR.  (big balls ride report) Thanks for a very interesting and spectacular RR. :thumleft:
Yes, Xpat is a story teller par excellence :biggrin:
Lots of good stuff still to come....
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 09, 2019, 07:38:47 am
Very lekker guys well done.

Did you meet any hikers up there? Bet you they would have been outraged. :laughing7:

Xpat: When you do it again on softer tyres, take a tripod and dumpy level with you. ;) Then set it up in that basin and find the highest marsh on the plain. No way it can be absolutely flat, and this way you would actually be the first person recorded literally on the right bit of marsh that is the source.

Riding with a dumpy level and tripod should be a piece of cake now that your riding is greatly improved! :ricky:
Title: Yeah!
Post by: Osadabwa on April 09, 2019, 08:15:21 am
Yep... that's cool. You suck.  :snorting:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: m0lt3n on April 09, 2019, 08:15:42 am
Another great report! And epic riding.

We used to hike the area when we were still at varsity, did cathedral peak and such. You didn't meet Xeni pass perhaps? Properly saw our asses on that one.

Looks like much more fun on bikes!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Vis Arend on April 09, 2019, 08:17:50 am
Very lekker guys well done.

Did you meet any hikers up there? Bet you they would have been outraged. :laughing7:

Xpat: When you do it again on softer tyres, take a tripod and dumpy level with you. ;) Then set it up in that basin and find the highest marsh on the plain. No way it can be absolutely flat, and this way you would actually be the first person recorded literally on the right bit of marsh that is the source.

Riding with a dumpy level and tripod should be a piece of cake now that your riding is greatly improved! :ricky:

 :biggrin: :biggrin:

Great stuff and well done.  Waiting for the rest.  Knowing the two of you I know it will become better.   :thumleft: :thumleft: 
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Ganjora on April 09, 2019, 08:20:17 am
As said I do not think there really is one spot where the river starts - at least we were not able to find it. The whole plain acts like spongy sucking the moisture off the clouds rolling over it and then delivers the water via network of little streamlets (and most of it probably underground) into one little stream at the lowest point of the plain.


between the top of sani and the saddle there's another such marsh.
also on the right side of the road as you go from sani to mokgotlong,  up black mountain - the entire side of the hill is a giant sponge that slowly releases water.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: OomD on April 09, 2019, 08:45:11 am
If you look carefully at the photos of the bikes you will notice indentations on either side of the fuel tanks, where the seat meets.

This is to make space for their balls.

Enjoying this RR tremendously!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: 0012 on April 09, 2019, 09:29:09 am
Absolutely breathtaking scenery, WOW   :deal:

Thanks for sharing this, loving it   :thumleft:

    This is a BBRR.  (big balls ride report) Thanks for a very interesting and spectacular RR. :thumleft:

I also wanted to ask, how does the considerable testicular mass affect the handling of the 500s?
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Thunderlinde on April 09, 2019, 10:10:54 am
Great RR! Can't wait for the rest.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: CUZZY on April 09, 2019, 05:31:15 pm
Congrats on an epic ride. Those photographs are the best ride report pics in ages. Absolutely befok!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 09, 2019, 08:41:27 pm
Thanks for following  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 09, 2019, 09:00:17 pm
Day 3 - Katse to Polihali


The plan for the day was to make it from Katse to Mokhotlong over the mountains on a potential track I have scouted on one of my earlier trips. Here is the route for the day:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7913/46657702665_5e9cc9abe1_c.jpg)


We filled up in a shop up in Katse village and set-off. first part of the route was to follow Malibiamatso river that flows out of the Katse dam for 25 or so km to the bridge that is about half way through to Thaba Tseka. I have done this track few times before, and it was first time for Losper, which was kind of ironic as he was the one who clued me up about this route about year ago in the first place. The ride by the river is really scenic and different from what we have done so far, as the river follows lush green valley with willows and stuff, and even has a section running through a bit of forest.

I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to it as on my prior rides the grass was very tall and with plenty of big boulders lurking around in the grass, which made it very frustrating as whenever I opened up pretty soon I run into one of those and reverted straight away into 1st gear. Luckily this time the grass was very short, which made for much more pleasant experience. Losper, who prefers these river rides to the rock bashing on top of the mountains, loved it.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7820/46852224301_1c01aaca88_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4889/46127104534_8d894e4265_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/4825/46127260574_94b03228f4_c.jpg)


We had to cross the river few times whenever the going got too gnarly on the side we were in, which made for a bit of excitement as there was always a chance to get stuck in soft mud even though the river was low. But we managed all the crossings without undue drama:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7854/39887414023_4cba794999_c.jpg)


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We took a break under one of the willows. Willows tend to get hollowed out, but for some reason locals seemed to burn the hollows bigger with fire - not sure what the purpose was:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4903/32977163428_e76316ee0a_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7903/46852580471_a37e289938_c.jpg)


This made Pieter sad and he shed a blood tear or two:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7880/45937918895_807e7c476f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4883/46800436642_e4ee0c94d3_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Highsider on April 10, 2019, 04:50:23 am
Thanks for sharing this epic exploratory adventure with us, you guys are legends.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 10, 2019, 08:09:18 pm
Once wa made it to the bridge after 25 km of river valley, we turned east and climbed up the steep switchbacks to a village sitting on top or escarpment. From there we followed gnarly 'road' I have used few times before in opposite direction coming from Thaba Tseka. I remembered it was quite rocky in places, but going up it felt much rockier and I felt a bit sheepish and I told Losper before that he can take big bikes there no problem. Well, he did later on and they managed to get up the rocks so no harm done.

The road climbs all the way to the top of the ranbe between Malibamatso and Orange rivers and once near top we jumped over to the Orange valley and rode down to a village overlooking Orange river few km further on east.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7865/47573620801_f2b301c1fe_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/7810/46849720494_27e8143607_c.jpg)


I've been to this village once before but failed to find a route down steep downhill to the river. So when we made it there now I looked quizicaly on Losper, checking what he thinks. He was sceptical - the descent was too steep, especially as we didn't know if we will make it across the Orange river, which seemed from high up there to flow strongly, let alone whether we will be able to climb the ridge on the other side.

I took Losper to one possible option behind the village, but it wasn't workable at all. THroughout all this we were accompanied by more or less everybody in the village, shouting contradicting directions for us to follow. I think - apart from me about month ago - we were the first bikes ever visit the village, and we could sense it from all the excitement around us, that made it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

They have eventually pointed us to a section that was doable down, but I was hesitant as I didn't believe I would be able to make it back up should we get stuck further on. Losper promised to get my bike up there ifit comes to that so hesitantly I descended down following him on very loose dirt. Once we made it past the first 50 meters or so the riding became much easier, though we were still distracted by all the kids running around and shouting at us.

Eventually we made it down to the river and to our relief it was very low and very fordable. I gave one of the girls who was really helpfull some money for showing us the way and we gunned it across to the other side and continued from there following the river upstream. Kids tried to keep up, but with the more open terrain they didn't have chance anymore.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7859/46127518754_9cc56fa44d_c.jpg)


We had to cross the river few times as the flat banks alternated between the both river sides, but it kept low so it was no biggie:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7861/31911291777_5c0caab818_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4838/39887723663_583f578317_c.jpg)


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(https://live.staticflickr.com/7898/45938335655_49b1df8656_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4834/46800905042_1ddf769529_c.jpg)


Losper seemed to enjoy the river riding much more that scaling the topf of the ranges, and we agreed that project to follow the Orange river at least from Thaba Tseka up as close as possible to its source is on cards. I have managed to get back to Lesotho again after this trip and find two (possibly three) more shortcuts between Katse and Mokhotlong that also provide approaches to Orange, that should help us get to/from the river should we need to get there/away if we get stuck for some reason. I'm guessing this project is top on the list of Losper's priorities and hopefully the circumstances will come together so that we may join forces again to make it happen sometimes this year, inshallah.


After few km we came to the last crossing - i.e. the point where we were to try climp up the valley side on the other side. Uncharacteristically, Losper was skeptical about our chances as the valley seemed too steep, while I felt confident as I have spent a lot of time staring at the satellite images at home and believed there was workable ledge we could use. And I was right, for once.


Here is the view on the initial mellow climb across the river from us:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4832/45938376155_02368ab2ee_c.jpg)


And Losper getting across Orange, for the last time this day:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7906/46800980932_b07c0a3c5e_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7839/31911753617_2f0096c6e7_c.jpg)


At the other side Losper still wasn't buying it so I took a lead and pushed up first section of the climb. That one was easy, but soon enough we came to much steeper section that Losper proceeded to scout out. There was an easy route around this hill so all was good and we pushed on:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4886/31911779867_4529e7646f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4899/45938588195_a1aa282fe1_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7899/39888351043_4d07109941_c.jpg)


There were few more sections that exercised us a bit, but nothing too crazy and we made it to the top of the ridge on old misused road exactly as I expected. On the other side we descended downslope until we hit A3 running between Thaba Tseka and Mokhotlong.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7830/31911949257_a0ca87eb07_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7804/46801188072_fe375ce663_c.jpg)


We were elated as we just plotted new shortcut from Katse, and one that I'm pretty sure no bike done before judging from the locals reactions. We have stopped in the shade next to A3 for short break and after that pushed on A3 towards Mokhotlong:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4915/46128273574_45151540bf_c.jpg)


We hoped to score petrol in Likananeg about half way to Mokhotlong, but the chinese shop was dry and so we had to ride all the way to Mokhotlong to fill up and then back track a bit to our overnight sleep over at Polihali lodge, which is a place owned by a WD. We were the only guests and enjoyed the tranquility of the remote village very condusive for a good night sleep.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Highsider on April 11, 2019, 09:00:59 am
I wonder which months of the year the river will be fordable, and which not?  Was the river fairly low or high when you and Losper did this Katse to Mohotlong route?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 11, 2019, 09:14:48 am
I wonder which months of the year the river will be fordable, and which not?  Was the river fairly low or high when you and Losper did this Katse to Mohotlong route?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It was low as you can notice on pictures when we were there in the first half of january. I was back at orange further north about month later and the river was high and impassable. I have route for you though that runs over pedestrian bridge and avoids most of a3
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Highsider on April 11, 2019, 12:45:28 pm
Sounds great please send that.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: THROTTLE JOCKEY on April 11, 2019, 02:05:06 pm
Awesome. Well done to you both!
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 12, 2019, 07:03:54 pm
Day 4 - Polihali lodge to Chalets in the Sky


Last day of our ride together, we had plotted a route that took us back to Orange via different route further north from the one we took day before and from there we wanted to follow dirt roads along Khubelu river back to Chalets in the Sky where I left my car.. We weren't sure if we will be able to make it up the other side of Orange, but that was the whole point of this trip - to explore new routes and see what happens.

Well, we have made it across the Orange valley and this is the route we have done:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7837/46869358704_4a932bfb9d_c.jpg)


The riding was similar to the prior day's one - combination of remote dirt roads and offroad sections along the river. The excursion along the Orange river solidified our intent to attempt the Orange river track sometimes in the future.

On the way from the lodge I have managed to get us lost for about 20 - 30 km on adjacent dirt road. I was quite astonished that these roads are there and yet nobody in biking community seems to know about them, let alone ride them. Get yourself out of Baviaans and start exploring off the beaten track, while it's still out there! It's not going to last forever...

Descent down to Orange, this time from the east:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7899/46148404804_5e9a8b752c_c.jpg)


Down at the bottom of the valley we came upon pedestrian bridge - the only bridge I could find later on across Orange between Thaba Tseka and A1. This was good to know as it gives an option off the beaten track when Orange is flowing strong and is not fordable, as was the case about month later when I found myself there again.

Aat the bridge we had little planning session looking at the coutour map on my iPhone and discussing whether we should try a possible ascent running south of our position, or follow the river for about 10 km north where my map was showing some kind of road starting on a hill relativel close to the river.

We (Losper) decided to head north and set-off. I have checked the southern option month later and with a bit of committment it is also doable. Following the river for 10 or so km means one thing - lots of river crossing as the flat riverbanks alternate on each side of the river.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7819/46821227042_3093d3f400_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4854/46148475184_0cd14f7a69_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7923/32997915398_8878135ec9_c.jpg)


I haven't seen willows that I'm so used to see back home anywhere else in Africa yet so it was a nice to see quite a few of them along the Lesotho riverbeds:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7802/46873175671_0257096dc5_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4901/32997959828_d4e5083d62_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4874/46821386142_020041406d_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7824/31932051727_de0d17994d_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4895/32998039918_6b4ccd87bc_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4848/31932088867_de5b0c7135_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7811/39908611663_01174d226f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7902/45959042185_77e8525605_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4891/45959076315_ff294da3aa_c.jpg)


At one point, Losper, who was leading at that point got stuck properly in the muddy bank. I tried to be clever and tried different route made it about 200 meters further up and then got stuck even better:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4882/46873395011_1020a9a89d_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7860/32998184888_f80bac901f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4896/46821569172_e00d558716_c.jpg)


So I left the bike there and walked back to help free Losper out of the mud. Once we managed that he in turn helped pull my bike out of my trench.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4838/45959145655_897051d763_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7921/46148823854_7fee7eb050_c.jpg)


Further on we came upon a section of river where the flow was pretty strong over some gnarly rapids. We scouted possible route about, but there was a good chance for it to go badly wrong (not ideal in the valley many km from possible route out) as there wer big and extremely slipery boulders in the quite strong stream, so we proceeded with caution and pushed Losper and mine bike across with engines switched off.


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7924/31932316747_1f8b1720d4_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4807/31932342617_0f69b7c400_c.jpg)


Pieter scouting our to be route:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7866/31932356647_91a26285ca_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7810/46873545321_353c1165f7_c.jpg)


On the other side we had short break and then pushed on to the last Orange crossing of the day (there was still one Khubelu crossing awaiting later on). It took a little figuring out, but we made it to the other side with honour unblemished:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4909/31932445237_c379ff761d_c.jpg)


We could barely discern an old washed out road heading up the valley at this point. It was pretty steep and required a bit of commitment from me, but we managed to gun it up to the flatter part above and from there it was smooth sailing all the way to the Village Chief Road. Another crossing of Orange and new never riden route in the bag!


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4905/46873601381_b3dfd53d7a_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4814/31932476427_4766479877_c.jpg)


At the Village Chief road we turned north and cruised towards Mapholaneng on A1. On the way, Losper - big dam aficionado, made a detour down to a spot where they are about to start building new Polihali dam on Orange river. The descent was badly washed out and getting back to the road afterwards was a bit nervewrecking (for me anyway):


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7917/46873772861_a55a5fa8a9_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4825/39909008553_94745a560b_c.jpg)


That is where the dam is going to be:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4889/46149116354_c101c068b0_c.jpg)


View from above over the future Dam wall spot:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4905/45959510685_0e2fc4d7eb_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4827/39909143193_6e1ecb4f2f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4842/39909157543_bff7637deb_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4838/31932712467_4014d5e941_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7922/46822037892_9c806877d5_c.jpg)


After that we pushed on the Village Chief road until we came to another shortcut, this time over Khubelu river, that Losper wanted to try. It was pretty gnarly and I was running low on energy (or rather lazy) after 4 days of rock bashing so it took a bit for me to stop being a baby and suck it up. Which I did and it turned out to be a non-event:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7867/46149210184_1abc607028_c.jpg)


After that we hit the dirt road following the Khubelu river north for about 40 km where we arrived back to Challets in the Sky for final night (for Losper, I was still to explore a bit more for a day or three on my own).

Here are few images from Losper so that he doesn't feel like his work was left out:


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7914/45959650285_9e3abea41a_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4898/46149273154_b5a04e438f_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4879/46149268804_cefc11a8c3_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7806/31932787467_035e749ddd_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/4818/46873957911_5e4b009dc4_c.jpg)


(https://live.staticflickr.com/7917/32998759418_65b01e8a21_c.jpg)



That is it - thanks for following. I have to say that Losper knows how to do ride report in style, like a gentleman without sweating it  :lol8: 

I hope we will ride together soon again.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: dw1 on April 12, 2019, 10:32:56 pm
Fantastic report and awesome ride.
thanks for making the effort
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 12, 2019, 10:48:33 pm
This was one of my best rides in a long time for the following reasons:

1. Riding with a gentleman like Xpat. He is laid back, easy going and does not get annoyed when things don't work out as planned. Thanks Martin, it was an absolute pleasure to ride with you.
2. Exploring and discovering new and never ridden paths and tracks is one of the the joys of riding motorbikes.

Here are a few more pictures. 
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Losper on April 12, 2019, 10:49:57 pm
.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: billy-joe on April 12, 2019, 10:59:29 pm
what an inspirational ride report!  thanks gents, i think i'll just buy a 500 and leave it at Lospers!

thanks for the read.
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: MRK Miller on April 13, 2019, 03:55:43 am
Awesome stuff. I do believe ktm will approach for use of a couple of you pictures.. Truely awesome
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: CUZZY on April 13, 2019, 11:09:12 am
Bliksem!!!  What a fantastic trip and ride report. Well done gents!

Sometimes it's easy being a ballie and not feeling the pressure to go and ride this kind of shit !!!!   ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: ETS on April 13, 2019, 12:25:58 pm
Vaaaak gentlemen!! AwesomeRespect- :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: OomD on April 13, 2019, 07:11:27 pm
Hell this is awesome. Thanks for sharing guys, and well done on this awesome adventure! I am awestruck :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 13, 2019, 10:45:35 pm
Thanks for following and comments!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
Post by: Xpat on April 13, 2019, 10:48:02 pm
Bliksem!!!  What a fantastic trip and ride report. Well done gents!

Sometimes it's easy being a ballie and not feeling the pressure to go and ride this kind of shit !!!!   ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

Thanks CUZZY, but I'm afraid this report may burst your excuse: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=236081.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=236081.0)

Not sure how old you are that you claim balliehood, but Stuart on that ride is probably not too far from 70...  ;)

So no, physical age is not a valid excuse.... 8)