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Author Topic: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)  (Read 5635 times)

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Offline IanTheTooth

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2013, 09:17:51 pm »
Haven't seen you and Nolan since our WFO days. Greg English keeps me posted about the doings of Nolan and I've been on quite a bit of this route with Greg.  Strangely enough I was riding in Sehlabathebe National park this weekend.  Don't forget to post your tracks, there's a lot of stuff in your trip I would like to use. Ian Hogg
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2013, 09:35:38 pm »
Day five - Sehlabathebe to Underberg (242km)

As with the day before, we had to get up and on the road as early as possible to make it through the Sani top border control before they closed. As it turned out, we made it "easily" (it was still a heck of a long day!) as I had it in my head that it closed at 4pm. When we got there at about 3.30pm we were informed that it only closes at 6pm!

Anyway, back to Sehlabathebe. The dawn was spectacular





[img width=640height=480]http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/Eastern%20Cape%20Passes%20May%202013/IMG-20130509-00162_zps807d65c9.jpg[/img]









So after a quick breakfast of Oatsoeasy and tea, we were ready to ride!

















Back at the abandoned fuel station...



...we turned onto the A4 and headed towards the mighty Matabeng Pass (pass 16 of 21).















































After climbing up to the settlement of Sehonghong (I call it the Sehonghong Pass, pass 17 of 21) it was off across the seemingly unending folds of mountain ranges, all passes in their own right, but no names! We crossed another named pass, the Menoaneng Pass (pass 18 of 21) before joining the A1 at Taung. We turn right onto the A1 towards Mokhotlong.









And, at one of the many picturesque river crossings we enjoy a break for lunch - last nights left over meat on rolls.





Near Mokhotlong we take a right onto the A14, otherwise known as the Sani Top road. Now I've done this road countless times since 1991 (I also lived in Lesotho for 5 years from '91 to '96) and have always enjoyed the narrow, twisty track that makes it's way to Sani top. Well this is no more  :( The Chinese have attacked it with massive earth moving equipment and, for a very long way, it is already been transformed into a four lane wide dirt highway!





If it involves fixing up my rugged dirt routes, I hate progress! It will not be long and they will reach Sani top...and a second team (not Chinese at this stage) have already started blasting and grading the switchbacks on Sani. Next to come is the tarmac surface, and then the place will be overrun with our counterparts on their crotch rockets  :o
Ah well, many of the passes covered in this RR are better and more challenging than Sani so we can still go do them.

As we came over Kotisephola (Black Mountains) Pass (pass 19 of 21) the sun was shielded by ominous looking dark rain clouds. We continued over this, the highest point of our journey at 3247 meters above sea level (measured on my GPS), and just as we were coming off of Phatlapoho Pass (pass 20 of 21) onto the flat plateau above Sani we noticed tiny snow flakes falling and sticking to our visors  ;D

We had had four and a half days of glorious winter sunshine but now our lucky weather window was closing. No problem, we were close to home.





At the top of Sani we could see the thick bank of cloud would mean that visibility over and down the pass would be zero so, after finding out that the border control only closed at 6pm, we treated ourselves to a drink at the pub. The ladies had wine and the guys a mug of hot chocolate...we still had to get down the pass to Underberg!

After this last pit stop we disappeared in to the thick cloud and dropped off the plateau down into Natal, over the pass called Sani Pass...pass 21 of 21  ;D

We were in Underberg almost before the ink had dried on our passport stamps and enjoyed dinner and a bottle of red wine at The Grind...it just happened to be half price night at this pizza / pasta restaurant.
There is something extremely satisfying about coming to the end of a ride - no serious incidents, no punctures, overdoses of spectacular scenery, good company, comfortable, warm accommodation and, of course, being able to ride a bike everyday through all of this!

One last pic of my GPS at the end of the ride...



As can be seen:
Total distance: 1276.8km
Moving average speed: 47.5km/h (testament to the rugged roads!)
Maximum speed: ah ummm, yes! Must have been down Sani...it's so smooth now!
Moving time (time in the saddle): 26 hrs 52 minutes

(the other totals and averages are not relevent due to me switching off the GPS when we stop)

I have attached my actual tracks to this post, see below. Looking at the profile of each day one can see why I called this RR "...and then we got high". We climbed to over 2000 meters a total of 17 times and to over 3000 meters twice. Very high for Southern Africa!

Please feel free to ask / pm me should you like to know any other detail.

Now to plan my next ride... :ricky:

Here are links to my other ride reports:

Off to Mpumalanga and a bit of Swaziland
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=120446.0

Zimbabwe May 2012
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=102344.0

Rides with my son / daughter – A short collection
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=104992.0

Lesotho/Eastern cape – My son’s first long ride
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=107046.0

A bit of Free State and Eastern Cape
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=117650.0

21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=106761.0

Fetching the Sunday paper...the long way 'round.
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 07:30:57 am by Wayne Duck »
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2013, 09:43:57 pm »
Very nice - keep it coming.  :thumleft:

What a privilege doing it with your boet!!

I did a few of those passes, but the rest is on my bucket list.  Just have to find the bucket - read time  :deal:

Thanks...we've been riding together for many many years...since about 1979 in the sugar cane and hills between the coast (Amanzimtoti) and Umbumbulu, and then racing WFO enduro, Zululand Champs, etc. for many years. Now adventure touring whenever we can get the chance. This was taken on our Zimbabwe trip in May 2012  ;D

Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline stan1975

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2013, 09:47:02 pm »
Awesome RR!
Ride within yourself, think ahead... Plan your escape route & be safe.... Just remember no one else knows what your thinking until you tell them...
 

Offline BigRED

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2013, 09:48:23 pm »
Awesome, thanks for sharing  :ricky:
 

Offline JACOVV

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2013, 09:53:43 pm »
Wonderful - thanks for sharing.   :thumleft:

Pitty we didn't sleep at Sehlabathebe as what the plan was when we went to Lesotho last year.

But I'll go again as I read an article about it in the "Weg" that was wrote by Jacko, and since I read the article, I want to go.

Maybe December - who knows  :deal:
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2013, 09:56:09 pm »
Haven't seen you and Nolan since our WFO days. Greg English keeps me posted about the doings of Nolan and I've been on quite a bit of this route with Greg.  Strangely enough I was riding in Sehlabathebe National park this weekend.  Don't forget to post your tracks, there's a lot of stuff in your trip I would like to use. Ian Hogg

Wow, a blast from the past! Thanks for posting! I have not seen Greg for many a years. I'll tell Nolan you're on here, he still stays in 'Toti, just sold his business and retired...more time to ride  :biggrin:
Take care Ian

Wayne.
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline Sidpitt

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2013, 09:57:42 pm »
Fantastic RR.
before the end of the year I MUST do this trip!
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2013, 09:59:07 pm »
Wonderful - thanks for sharing.   :thumleft:

Pitty we didn't sleep at Sehlabathebe as what the plan was when we went to Lesotho last year.

But I'll go again as I read an article about it in the "Weg" that was wrote by Jacko, and since I read the article, I want to go.

Maybe December - who knows  :deal:

You must...just be careful of December though, starting of the rainy season!
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline GG

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2013, 08:08:36 am »
Very lekker, and great pics,tks
 

Offline capeklr

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2013, 02:50:36 pm »
My bucket list just got longer. Thanks. :thumleft:
 

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2013, 03:22:03 pm »
wow, some of those view are just spectacular.

gonna have to get back to that part of the country sometime soon.
 

Offline BatmanGS

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2013, 03:52:07 am »
Hi Wayne

Thanks for sharing this wonderful ride with us, just a another little bit of heaven in Africa.

Thanks Gavan
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Offline SGB

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2013, 08:45:09 pm »
Lekker Wayne, nice pictures.  Regards to Nolan!
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Offline Topie

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2013, 09:41:56 pm »
Nice..dit lyk na n awesome ride.
Sal graag Sani weer wil doen voor daar niks oor is van die ou pas nie
 

Offline spoedvark

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2013, 09:58:12 pm »
Wonderful - thanks for sharing.   :thumleft:

Pitty we didn't sleep at Sehlabathebe as what the plan was when we went to Lesotho last year.

But I'll go again as I read an article about it in the "Weg" that was wrote by Jacko, and since I read the article, I want to go.

Maybe December - who knows  :deal:

My fiets was noggie daarie!!! Kan ek ook weer saam??

Thanks for sharing the 21 passes with us. Enjoyed it from start to finish.
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2013, 10:13:30 pm »
Thanks for all the positive comments guys   :thumleft:

SGB...thanks and will do so.
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
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Offline XTRICK

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2013, 11:15:38 pm »
Awesome ride Wayne. Was just wondering if you think it is doable in reverse order? Thanks mate.
 

Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2013, 11:52:32 pm »
Awesome ride Wayne. Was just wondering if you think it is doable in reverse order? Thanks mate.

Absolutely! Nothing too difficult on this ride. The only pass that you need to watch out for I'd say is Bastervoet. If dry and sunny no problem in either direction.
If wet , well that's another story...difficult but ok from west to east (mostly down hill) but, in my opinion, east to west (on a big bike) one could battle for traction in places, and you'd need this to maintain essential momentum.

Wayne

Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline XTRICK

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Re: ...and then we got high! (21 passes in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho)
« Reply #39 on: May 25, 2013, 11:58:04 pm »
Thanks Wayne. Had our trip derailed by the snow a short while back and could only go up and down Sani. This looks like a splendid comeback route. Thanks for sharing.