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Offline ROSSI

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Zig Zag through Lesotho
« on: February 01, 2017, 03:40:18 pm »
After my friends in PE nagged for months to me about a trip in Lesotho I started planning this trip.  None of us has ever been in Lesotho so my planning was to see as much as possible in a short period. I donít like to travel more than 300km per day.  Right from the start I realised itís quite difficult as good traveling information about the place is scares.  It is impossible to get up to date roadmaps for starters.  Even google earthís images are outdated.  Accommodation info lacks and filling stations whereabouts is like non-existent. Well I eventually managed to get a fairly up to date map and started to speak to a fellow WD that knows Lesotho. Together with google earth I managed to put something together. This is how we travelled.

Click on link below to view our total route
https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/East+London,+Eastern+Cape/Dordrecht,+Eastern+Cape/Barkly+East,+Eastern+Cape/Lundean's+Nek,+Barkly+East,+Eastern+Cape/Telle+Bridge,+Quthing,+Lesotho/Semonkong+Lodge,+Maseru,+Lesotho/Roma,+Lesotho/katse+lodge,+Thaba-Tseka,+Lesotho/Underberg,+KwaZulu-Natal/East+London,+Eastern+Cape/@-31.0335662,26.8287571,569975m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m67!4m66!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e66e6fc26098303:0x62b7d874cc1a1b9f!2m2!1d27.8545867!2d-33.0291582!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e89fbf1e7a1c9f1:0x4cde262e2589604b!2m2!1d27.0382158!2d-31.3705273!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8a40ff85e48273:0xee562a2d614389ab!2m2!1d27.5906715!2d-30.9690742!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8a4d591d7948d5:0xe1ecb1bcb54a0134!2m2!1d27.73438!2d-30.65882!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8bb8b476426dd5:0xa3ec770117257536!2m2!1d27.5673553!2d-30.4319867!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8c83b7b647f4e1:0x8dc3c9dd89957778!2m2!1d28.043665!2d-29.843222!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8c4ff04e513d69:0xa00cf853f536e70!2m2!1d27.7226759!2d-29.4476039!1m10!1m1!1s0x1e8ccf6ba4ac91f7:0x714e0e85742d8eaf!2m2!1d28.506111!2d-29.336944!3m4!1m2!1d28.3407344!2d-28.7055156!3s0x1e8d4231f261fd0d:0xc96f6b758ee1bc44!1m5!1m1!1s0x1ef463fbcf88fdb9:0x746f4716064296e0!2m2!1d29.4918178!2d-29.7928766!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e66e6fc26098303:0x62b7d874cc1a1b9f!2m2!1d27.8545867!2d-33.0291582!3e0
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 10:54:23 am by ROSSI »
 

Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2017, 04:03:22 pm »
Day1 (02/01/2017)
OkÖ after much discussion we decided that I will meet the 3 friends from PE in Queenstown.  My three friend were on a KTM 990S, KTM990R and BMW GS 1200 Adv.  So in extremely hot weather I left East London for Queenstown.  The plan was to sleep over that night in Barkly East. The road we decided on was Queenstown to Dordrecht and then onto the R396 farm road (90km) towards Barkly.  It took us quite a while and we arrived about 5 in Barkly in blistering 40 odd degrees of heat.  We stayed at the Sir Henry Barkly B&B. Friendly hospitality and a fear rate for bikers.  Heidi the host waited us in with an ice cold one as we arrived. That evening we took a stroll to FKís for a very good steak and something for the thirst.

Click on link below to view our days route
https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/East+London,+Eastern+Cape/Dordrecht,+Eastern+Cape/Barkly+East,+Eastern+Cape/@-31.9901952,26.2938773,398902m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m20!4m19!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e66e6fc26098303:0x62b7d874cc1a1b9f!2m2!1d27.8545867!2d-33.0291582!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e89fbf1e7a1c9f1:0x4cde262e2589604b!2m2!1d27.0382158!2d-31.3705273!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8a40ff85e48273:0xee562a2d614389ab!2m2!1d27.5906715!2d-30.9690742!3e0

« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 07:51:50 am by ROSSI »
 

Offline dirtyXT

Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2017, 04:56:21 pm »
looks good so far!

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2017, 05:02:53 pm »
Day2 (03/01/2017)
The day started off on a bad foot.  There was a nail in one of the 990ís tyres. This was a bit of a train smash as we didnít have time to replace the tube.  Thunderstorms were expected and we had Lundins Nek gravel pass to negotiate with.  This was a bad road and we didnít want to do it in the wet. Fortunately Andre had some fancy slime in his tyre which worked like a bomb. Never had to pump again on the trip.  So after refilled fuel we set off on the R393 via Lundins Nek along the Tele River.  We were astonished with mountain scenery as weíve never seen before. Fortunately we made it to Tele Bridge before the rain started. After crossing the border we refuelled at Wynandskop.  Once again I was surprised to see the gravel road on our planned route was a beautiful tar road.  As we left Wynandskop and turned right onto the A4 we were stopped at a police roadblock.  They were friendly and full of jokes. Just checked licences and so on.  We left there in the rain and rode along the side of the Senqu/Orange River for probably more than 50km with the most beautiful scenery.  As our destination for that day was Semonkong Lodge, there is no guaranteed fuel. The plan was to refuel as close as possible to there at Mount Moorosi. Beautiful  mountains there.  A local boy directed me to the filling station only to hear they were out of petrol so we had to return a couple of kilos back to another filling station where we had no problems. From there we continued on the A4 past Mphaki on the most beautiful mountain passes.  We stopped a couple of times just to enjoy the view.  Hardy any other traffic on the roads.  Eventually we arrived at the turnoff onto the A5 that will take us over the Senqu River to Semonkong Lodge about 50km further.  This is a very new road that reminds me of a racetrack and is not on any Lesotho maps.  Problem is, wherever there is a shack next to the road, there is a speedhump.  Once again we were spoiled with mountain passes views that will make Cape mountains look like hills.  We rode through rain, mist and temperatures of 10 degrees. On my bike I hardly used 6th gear as there is hardly any straits. Eventually we arrived at Semonkong at about 6pm.  We turned off onto a pretty bad road for about 1 or 2 kilos till we arrived at the lodge.  After 285km and 10hr in the seat we were pretty tired and after a good supper and a couple of Maluti Lagers, we had an early night.

Click on link below to view our days route
https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/Barkly+East,+Eastern+Cape/Lundean's+Nek,+Barkly+East,+Eastern+Cape/Semonkong,+Maseru,+Lesotho/@-30.3969287,27.3600664,202838m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m20!4m19!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8a40ff85e48273:0xee562a2d614389ab!2m2!1d27.5906715!2d-30.9690742!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8a4d591d7948d5:0xe1ecb1bcb54a0134!2m2!1d27.73438!2d-30.65882!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8c83b0e19cb299:0xc34037ffefc20c19!2m2!1d28.0496659!2d-29.8421195!3e0
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 02:03:43 pm by ROSSI »
 

Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2017, 05:33:21 pm »
More Day2
 

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2017, 06:05:40 pm »
 :sip:

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Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2017, 08:36:33 am »
Day3 (04/01/2017)
As we woke I noticed its raining and knew this is going to be an interesting day.  Our destination was Katse Lodge about 304km away.  To get down to the lodge from our chalets it was a steep 4x4 path and it was well soaked.  Well, two of us dropped bikes down this short road.  Wonít mention names. No damage on bike and everything was ok.  The plan was to get away early but as it normally happens, we only left at 8am.  It was raining and I nearly dropped my bike on the muddy entry road out to the main road. Once on the main road it was the same story as the day before.  Rainy wet roads with beautiful passes and scenery.  We refilled our bikes at the pretty town of Roma about 80km away. Just out of Roma we tuned right onto the A3 road.  It wasnít long before we once again hit steep mountain passes, extreme views and rain, rain, rain all day long. We viewed the Mohale Dam before some got thirsty and we stopped for a cuppa at Marakkabei lodge.  After a good leg stretch we rode to Thaba Tseke where we had to refill the bikes as we were not sure if Katse had petrol.  Of course I had to drop my bike after refilling when I lost balance of it in the mud while pushing it.  A few scratches on the exhaust guard and crash bars. After refilling bikes we were off to Katse Lodge on a soaked and muddy R31. It was 60km of intense concentration at 30km/h in second gear.  Every few kilometres there was a patch of real snotty mud I as I entered I knew ive got a 50% chance to drop the bike.  My friend Andre actually dropped his GS for the second time that day and fortunately not much damage to the bike and luckily no injuries. We were far from doctors.  Eventually we arrived at Katse Lodge tired and dirty. The bikes were full of mud and we decided a bike rinse was the thing to do before a nice shower and a good Trout supper with a couple of Malutiís.  Katse lodge speciality. That evening we chatted with other guests that travelled by 4x4 on our next days planned route between Lejone and Tlaeeng Mine. They advised us not to take our planned route as the condition is in a bad way and we actually also thought that we had enough off mud on our last road section. We knew the next day was going to be a challenge so we had an early night.   

Click on link below to view our days route
https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/Semonkong,+Maseru,+Lesotho/katse+lodge,+Thaba-Tseka,+Lesotho/@-29.5545008,27.9627498,72310m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8c83b0e19cb299:0xc34037ffefc20c19!2m2!1d28.0496659!2d-29.8421195!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8ccf6ba4ac91f7:0x714e0e85742d8eaf!2m2!1d28.506111!2d-29.336944!3e0
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 11:39:29 am by ROSSI »
 

Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2017, 08:44:24 am »
So ... we hit the road to Katse
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 08:50:49 am by ROSSI »
 

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2017, 09:02:00 am »
Day4 (05/01/2017)
That morning I woke up early at daybreak to adjust my 1190ís chain.  I found that it is unevenly stretched and could not be tightened.  We decided we are going to keep to the tar and travel along the B31 which then become the B25 towards Leribe.  This is a much longer route of over 400km and we will have to push it a bit to get in time to Sani Pass border post before 6pm. After a hefty buffet breakfast we hit the road.  It was good to be on tar again and I once again enjoyed the bends and amazing scenery.  The road took us right up to Mafika Pass at 2950m.  What a beautiful pass. Waterfalls everywhere and we stopped a couple of times just to experience the atmosphere. We then arrived at Pitseng where we refilled our bikes before we headed for Leribe. Here Lesotho seems to be much more populated. At a police roadblock I asked for directions and were directed onto the A1 road towards Oxbow via Butha Buthe.  Getting closer to Oxbow the scenery became increasingly prettier until the road took us up the amazing Moteng Pass.  What a beautiful scenic pass (2840m high).  From there we headed for the Tlaeeng Pass via Afriski were the road took us to up to 3400m high.  Thatís the highest road in Southern Africa!  With the 990ís with us the needed fuel after 250km.  My plan was that we could refill at Mokhotlong but as we rode into Mapholaneng I noticed a filling station there where we then refuelled.  The weather was good and we were hoping the predicted thunderstorms wonít hit Sani Pass before we get there.  Sani could be a bit hectic in a rain storm.  We left Mapholaneng and rode another 30km before we turned at the T junction onto the A31 that leads to Sani Pass. The roads were unbelievable good condition and reminded me of a racetrack. Hardly any traffic on these roads.  The only thing to be careful of is animals here and there and those irritating speed humps. 

Click on link below to view our days route
https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/Katse+Lodge,+Thaba-Tseka,+Lesotho/Pitseng,+Lesotho/-28.8712884,28.04964/Afriski+Mountain+Resort,+Butha-Buthe,+Lesotho/Mapholaneng+High+School,+Mokhotlong,+Lesotho/Sani+Pass,+Mkhomazi+Wilderness+area,+KwaZulu-Natal/Underberg,+KwaZulu-Natal/@-29.3114673,28.3752679,170761m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m39!4m38!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8cc586acb7bdd9:0x5a6575b596c46d39!2m2!1d28.4812806!2d-29.3305421!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e8d1754c1932c3f:0xa00cf853f5371d0!2m2!1d28.2117257!2d-29.0084578!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x1ef2cc89d9585a0f:0x1724d0bf7afe979b!2m2!1d28.727896!2d-28.823164!1m5!1m1!1s0x1ef33aae5f514895:0x1ac255d1edaedd23!2m2!1d28.868444!2d-29.1991776!1m5!1m1!1s0x1ef4827516d5bab3:0xb4a0e56c87edeef2!2m2!1d29.2921966!2d-29.5879785!1m5!1m1!1s0x1ef463fbcf88fdb9:0x746f4716064296e0!2m2!1d29.4918178!2d-29.7928766!3e0
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 11:21:17 am by ROSSI »
 

Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2017, 09:08:08 am »
Still Day4
We reached Sani border post at 15.30 well within our time frame and was delighted that it was still dry on the pass.  While the going was good we decided to skip the memorable beer at the Highest Pub in Africa and rather do the pass while itís dry.  Thunderstorms were expected in the afternoon. As I left the borderpost and saw the steep incline I thought I should use my back brake more to save the front pads from overheating.  Well it wasnít long before my rear pads overheated and I had no back breaks.  The top part of the pass was very steep and rocky.  We stopped at one stage to enjoy the view and stretch some legs. After some refreshments and pictures we continued down towards the SA borderpost.  This part of the pass is less chalanging and not so steep.  Here and there are streams of water that you cross. 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 11:29:29 am by ROSSI »
 

Offline dirtyXT

Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2017, 09:14:15 am »
nice one, i also cooked my brakes once coming down Sani. not sure why i didn't think of using the gears (perhaps too fast?) that break pad of mine was white hot that day. ok i remember now, it was so misty you couldn't see the ground in front of you. slowly does it. thanks for sharing! looks like you guys had a blast. 1 tick off the bucket list before the tar Sani? did you see anything supporting that?
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Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2017, 09:16:51 am »
On our way down Sani Pass there was a guy taking pictures who snapped us as we came past.  Have a look at his pics.
 

Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2017, 09:22:13 am »
We left the border post and Andre mentioned he is now thirsty and I knew just the place to quench that thirst.  Himeville hotel has a great pub. After we had a couple and something to snack we left in the rain to Berghaven where we planned to overnight.  That night it rained all night and we got a local taxi to collect us to go eat something somewhere.  What a day.
 

Offline dirtyXT

Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2017, 09:25:48 am »
nice one, i also cooked my brakes once coming down Sani. not sure why i didn't think of using the gears (perhaps too fast?) that break pad of mine was white hot that day. ok i remember now, it was so misty you couldn't see the ground in front of you. slowly does it. thanks for sharing! looks like you guys had a blast. 1 tick off the bucket list before the tar Sani? did you see anything supporting that?
type o. did you see anything going on with the tarring of sani?

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Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2017, 09:35:07 am »
Day 5  (06/01/2017)
At daybreak it was still raining.  I checked the weather on our planned route that was via the northern part of Transkei to East London.  It was not a pretty site with heavy rain most of the way.  It was Friday, the last day of our Lesotho trip and I could see the guys had enough.  Underberg are 500km from east London.  Considering all these factors we decided then to take the shortest route home.  The rain was not as heavy on the N2 and it was closer. Our first stop was after a long pull at Umtata where we refuelled. After a cup of coffee and a Bar-One we hit the road again in fog, rain and wind past Idutywa, Butterworth and eventually stopped at Kei Bridge for another refuel before we headed to East London.

Click on link below to view our days route
https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/Underberg,+KwaZulu-Natal/East+London,+Eastern+Cape/@-31.3785755,27.6747766,477568m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x1ef463fbcf88fdb9:0x746f4716064296e0!2m2!1d29.4918178!2d-29.7928766!1m5!1m1!1s0x1e66e6fc26098303:0x62b7d874cc1a1b9f!2m2!1d27.8545867!2d-33.0291582!3e0
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 11:40:59 am by ROSSI »
 

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2017, 09:44:14 am »
All the guys agreed that this was one of their best trips theyíve done.  It was very different from anything we have done before. The mistake Iíve made is that 300km per day is too long for Lesotho.  I would say next time Iíll plan 150 Ė 200km per day. There were many places I still wanted to stop and experience but we never had time. Next year Iíll do better planning as now I know better of what to expect.
 

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2017, 09:49:38 am »
nice one, i also cooked my brakes once coming down Sani. not sure why i didn't think of using the gears (perhaps too fast?) that break pad of mine was white hot that day. ok i remember now, it was so misty you couldn't see the ground in front of you. slowly does it. thanks for sharing! looks like you guys had a blast. 1 tick off the bucket list before the tar Sani? did you see anything supporting that?

Currently the tar stops on the edge of the cliff on top of the mountain and then starts well below the SA border post. no costruction happened when we were there.  didnt see any equipment as well.
 

Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2017, 09:58:58 am »
Dont believe the duration of these daily trips indicated on the rout maps.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 10:01:25 am by ROSSI »
 

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2017, 10:01:47 am »
Looks like you guys had a great trip.

Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
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Offline ROSSI

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Re: Zig Zag through Lesotho
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2017, 10:09:35 am »
Looks like you guys had a great trip.

Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:

You bet ... we definitly doing it again ... better
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 10:23:17 am by ROSSI »