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Online IanTheTooth

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Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« on: July 19, 2017, 08:03:13 pm »
Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
Sub: Southern Drakensberg Traverse Bushmans/Sehlabathebe to Sani Top 75km

I’m sure many of you would have read about the Grand Traverse, a six day 200km long hike along the top of the escarpment from Mount aux Sources to Bushman’s Nek and wondered if this would be possible on a motorbike. Others of you will have wondered when you go in at Sani why you have to ride almost 100km inland before you can head South to Quacha’s Nek and why you can't go a more direct route. Well, you wouldn’t be the only ones, myself and Fred (an alias, Fred does not want to be identified by name or image on the internet) have been planning an escarpment edge ride out on Google Earth since 2012 and more recently I mentioned this to Iain and Stuart in Matatiele who had wanted to do the same thing for probably a longer period of time. 
 
The problem is that it is not flat at the top. There are no paths and for the whole ride you will be working your bike over boulders, grassy & heather humps interspersed with significant climbs over rock steps and valleys. The most significant obstacle in this ride is Mashai ridge. From the escarpment there is a 4km cliff on the North side culminating in a saddle at 3265m that you can get a bike (or a sheep) over.  If your bike dies on you, you will have to kiss it good bye and start walking and depending which part you've got to it may be more than one day's walk.

The four of us had set a date in stone a while ago. It had to be a weekend when Fred was flying into Natal for a couple of weeks. In retrospect, we couldn't have chosen a worse weekend if we'd tried. It is the time of year of the shortest days and coldest nights and over this weekend a cold front had brought snow up to Lady Gray and on the day of our ride the evening forecast was for -7 degrees and a dusting of snow. Just to make it worse Stuart had family issues to deal with and had to drop out a couple of days before. 
 
Ian and Stuart have done the real work on this trip. The pair of them had recce'd from their farms to the Mashai Ridge, the most difficult part of the ride, and when their wives were doing a charity walk up Sani they rode from Sani Top to Majoe Matso pass finding on the way back a very useful bridle path along the Sani river.

Iain had also found a cottage for hire in Sehlabathebe village called "The Croft" which was kitted out with beds, bedding, gas stove, kitchen equipment and big wood burning stove. The only thing that we took a bit of time to locate was the key to the long drop and our poor driver was just about to explode by the time he found it. This meant we were already 2  hours further  ahead than if we'd started at Iain's farm " The Meads" and driven through the border at Ramatseliso's Gate.

Attached: the route in blue and pictures of the croft, Stuart and Iain recce in grey 

Next:  the ride
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 09:25:02 pm by IanTheTooth »
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Offline TinusBez

Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 08:11:23 pm »
 :sip: look forward to this one

This looks epic
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Offline 1ougat

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 08:15:57 pm »
 :sip: looks epic
Make mine a Boxer with a shaft!!!!
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Offline TinusBez

Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 08:16:36 pm »
Iain had also found a cottage for hire in Sehlabathebe village called "The Croft" which was kitted out with beds, bedding, gas stove, kitchen equipment and big wood burning stove. The only thing that we took a bit of time to locate was the key to the long drop and our poor driver was just about to explode by the time he found it.

Heading up that country in a few weeks. Learnt the camp site near Sehlabathebe was sold and in ruins but you can still camp/wild camp there. Do you mind sharing the info for The Croft? Either here or PM please. I can't seem to find anything on T4A of Google.
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Offline JMOL

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 08:48:13 pm »
 :sip:
Life is hard - even harder if you are stupid.
 

Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 09:06:00 pm »
Intrigued!
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Online IanTheTooth

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 09:12:08 pm »
TinusBez. Iain MacDonald farms to live but he lives to ride. He has a lot of accommodation on his farm and I know that he has a list of places to stay in that area of Lesotho but what he really wants to do is to show visitors some of the riding available in the area. A word of caution: be very honest about your riding ability. he will take you at your word. Contact him at

http://www.rockrabbits.co.za/index.php

facebook: rockrabbits 
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Offline 1ougat

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2017, 12:16:09 am »
what bikes did you use?
Make mine a Boxer with a shaft!!!!
2006 R1200 HP2 !!!! - La Poderosa - "The Mighty One"
1965 R50/2
1996 R80 GS PD Classic
2010 1200 GS 1975 Suzuki AC50
 

Offline TinusBez

Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2017, 05:41:00 am »
Thanks Ian

Cheers
Tinus
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Offline Slim Jim

Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2017, 08:05:31 am »
 :sip: . this one is going to be good !
 

Online IanTheTooth

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2017, 08:14:31 am »
what bikes did you use?

little bikes
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Offline armpump

Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2017, 08:15:26 am »
sub
 

Offline Lou1

Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2017, 08:37:21 am »
 :sip:
 

Offline LoopSoosStroop

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2017, 09:20:30 am »
 :thumleft:

Following this one!
 

Offline 1ougat

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2017, 09:57:23 am »
what bikes did you use?

little bikes

Wat n verbasende insig
Make mine a Boxer with a shaft!!!!
2006 R1200 HP2 !!!! - La Poderosa - "The Mighty One"
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1996 R80 GS PD Classic
2010 1200 GS 1975 Suzuki AC50
 

Online IanTheTooth

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2017, 11:05:29 am »
Croft to Ngwanwane

When we arrived on Saturday afternoon the wind was howling and cold. Iain’s wife had given us a feast of food to get through so after our steak and wors we wondered what tomorrow would bring and if we would be able to do our planned ride. The wind howled all night long. I had a good and comfortable sleep in the room with a loft ceiling on top but those in the body of the cottage had spent some sleepless time wondering if the roof sheets would blow off.  Iain had talked of getting up at five but when I stirred at about 7am there was not much movement. The wind was still howling and it was still bitterly cold. However, it was not snowing and it was magnificently clear. We had cellphone contact there so Iain could check if there had been any fires on the farm.  Along the top of the escarpment we often had quite reasonable cell phone signal.

 By the time we had our bacon and eggs and Fred had nipped down to the Chinese shop for some extra petrol we finished up leaving the croft at 9am. It was substantially warmer and the first part of the ride was a pleasant introduction to the ride to come. The weird thing about the edge of the escarpment is that you don’t see it coming. You just arrive at it.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 11:10:16 am by IanTheTooth »
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Offline slicknick

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2017, 11:08:57 am »
This I need to follow. Have hiked the GT unsupported in 2011 myself :eek7:
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee
 

Online IanTheTooth

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 11:12:11 am »
more (the fat geriatric in the blue jacket is me)

PS no taal on this thread please. I have to get my wife to translate if you do.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 11:21:45 am by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 

Online woody1

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2017, 11:20:42 am »
The chap with the WHITE face... was he suppose to be at work ? :laughing4:

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Offline Odd Dog

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Re: Drakensberg Grand Traverse – by motorcycle
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 11:27:59 am »
 :) Exactly what I thought.
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