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Author Topic: Adam Kok’s Road. Done and dusted. Box ticked (Ongeluks Nek to Mt. Moorosi)  (Read 3115 times)

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Offline IanTheTooth

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Adam Kok’s Road. Done and dusted. Box ticked.

Of the three rides that I had hoped to do I had largely given up on Adam Kok’s road. The window of long days and temperate nights had passed and I thought it was an unobtainable goal. For the background see:

 http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=213242.0

Kok and about 2000 followers; about 20 000 head of stock; something like 300 wagons and numerous donkey carts set off, early in 1861 to cross the mighty, uncharted and the most incredibly precipitous mountains to reach Kokstad on the eastern side of the Drakensberg range. Much is written about the historical events leading up to this trek, but very little, if anything is recorded about the arduous and harrowing trek itself. Near Mt Moroosi, the Dobson Map clearly shows ‘Adam Kok’s Road’. It climbs the steep Mkochomela range near Tosing.

Last weekend Iain McDonald phoned me up. His wife and family were going shopping for the weekend and he told me he would be bored kicking around the farm on his own and he thought we should go and do Adam Kok’s Road. After checking that Stuart Joyner was in and that I wouldn’t finish up in the divorce courts I signed up.   I found out later that he had another ulterior motive apart from his limp excuse of the shopping expedition. He wanted to clear the decks of unfinished projects so that he could get down to the business of setting up a Roof preparation/trainer event wearing his Rockrabbits/7 bridges hat that may be held in conjunction with the Natal WFO enduro Association.  Now THAT will be exciting! See Rockrabbits on Facebook & www.rockrabbits.co.za.

As with our grand traverse, we couldn’t have chosen a more unsuitable weekend. On the Monday and Tuesday there was quite heavy snow at that end of the Berg and on Thursday I got a plaintive morning phone call from Iain asking me to bring up a three bike trailer because it was so cold in Matatiele he couldn’t stand the thought of the first thing in the morning 70km ride from his farm to the Ongeluks Police Post. It was a fortuitous decision. I used 7.4l of petrol from Ongeluks to Mt Moroosi and the others about the same. If we had chucked in our 2l coke bottle at the border we would have been sucking on a standard 8l plastic tank. I had fitted a 14l long range tank that would have got us through but it would have been an issue.
 
Attached is the gps track in gpx and kml for Google earth and an overview map. Ongeluks Nek Border Post to Mt Moorosi petrol station 87.3km
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 12:54:34 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline THROTTLE JOCKEY

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Offline IanTheTooth

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Ongeluks Nek Pass

It was relatively warm on Saturday morning but there was a wet ground mist so I didn’t mind sitting in the back of the Landcruiser doing the 70 odd km to Ongeluks Nek border post . We picked up Stuart from his farm gates that his wife had driven him down to as we had loaded his bike the previous evening. His wife had also made us a box of sandwiches.
   
I told Iain not to take me up a wet Ongeluks Nek. He told me he wouldn’t. He didn’t exactly lie but he wasn’t completely truthful.  As it turned out it took us less than 15min to crest the summit. They have done quite a bit of work on the pass and it is an enjoyable ride up. For the 4x4 drivers they have also sorted out the dodgy culvert just before the top. 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 12:41:06 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline peteb

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Looking forward to the next installments on this thread Ian, should be good!
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Offline IanTheTooth

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Following the escarpment

There is a cutting you can see that takes you on to the escarpment top. I took the cutting and Stuart and Iain went straight up. There wasn’t much in it. After that it was “ Tussocks, bloody tussocks,” as Stuart calls it. The visibility was so good that we stuck with the edge of the escarpment all the way down to Tsanasana Gate/New Gate/Kok’s pass.  One thing about Kok’s followers is that they didn’t all stick to the same route. Quite a few came down at this point to Black Fountain where there was an established drover’s road to Mt. Fletcher.  There is an obvious landmark just south of Ongeluks Nek on the edge of the escarpment called “The tooth.” It is visible as a marker for most of the ride. This is a very empty part of Lesotho and we came across a couple of groups of Rhebok who were not skittish at all.

There was quite a bit of snow which was more slippery than I remember it and also my old friend the frozen bog. They don’t have to be flat. There are some impressively off camber frozen bogs which will whip your wheels away from you in a flash.  One bit Xpat definitely wouldn’t have liked was a snow covered Southern facing off-camber dropping off the escarpment edge. Luckily there was a reasonably deep animal path there that our wheels could track in.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:41:05 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline IanTheTooth

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More escarpment. Below us at this point there is a signature Rockrabbit feature called "the tightrope" which you can get to from the Avondale SAPS. It is a ridge that narrows to about a meter wide with a precipitous drop on each side!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:50:27 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 

Offline Malcolm

Looking Awesome!
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Offline IanTheTooth

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last escarpment pictures leading to to New Gate/ Kok's Pass
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:58:45 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline RobLH

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Great stuff Ian, thanks.

Heading to Matat tomorrow evening for a ride through Lesotho over the weekend, nothing as adventurous as this though.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:04:57 pm by RobLH »
 

Offline RobLH

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double post
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:04:43 pm by RobLH »
 

Offline IanTheTooth

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New Gate across  the Mkochomela Range to the Sebapala river Valley

At this point we had to start heading North West and pick up the North side of the Sebapala valley. There are obvious paths along this area. Don’t get too excited. They are now mainly eroded rock beds and often it seemed a better bet to just crash through the virgin bush.  When we stopped for our sandwiches at 2pm the range of mountains with the passes down to Tosing was looking a very long way away. The going was quite unrelenting and it would get harder as we continued. I was preparing for a miserable night huddled under a space blanket.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 02:43:16 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline IanTheTooth

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Crossing the range and getting harder..........
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:50:38 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline BiG DoM

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Awesome in the extreme! Keep rollin.  :thumleft:
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Offline IanTheTooth

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The pass down to Tosing

Just as the shadows were getting longer and the mountains seemed darker we came around the side of a rise and there it was… the way down. As I said earlier the Griqua’s probably used a few passes concurrently to get all the livestock and wagons through but I imagine the one we choose was the main wagon route. You can see the leveling stone work in the pictures and there are chisel and tool marks in the rocks on the high side where blocks have been cut off. There are two other options coming down just past Tosing but I imagine they would have mainly been for livestock.

Nice as it was to see our destination it still took a while to find our way down. A few hundred meters after we hit the main road we realized Stuart was missing. He’d spotted the first Sheeben and stopped for a celebratory drink in the last rays of sunshine. The last pictures are of a very happy and relieved bunch of men. I shouldn’t sound surprised, this is the third journey into the unknown that I’ve done with Stuart or Iain and they’ve always got me home in time for dinner! 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 03:09:31 pm by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 
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Offline Xpat

Thank you for this Ian!  :thumleft:

I can now rest in peace knowing that my chicken out instinct was correct yet again. I wouldn't have a chance there...

Again - mucho respect!

Offline peteb

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Really fantastic ride, report and sleuthing beforehand. Interesting about the sandwich lunch. I remember soon after I met Ian way back in about '81 coming round a corner in the middle of a  WFO to find him sitting on the ground next to his bike. When I stopped to ask if he was OK he said all good, he was just having sandwiches. I assumed - rightly or wrongly - that given his recent British heritage they were cumcumber!
Anyone who doesn't know Ian should understand that he is the master of the understatement, and his ride reports should be read as such. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 08:05:49 am by peteb »
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Offline Casting from Turd

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Moerhel. Hats off to the "Toppies"

Awesome stuff Ian
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Offline BiG DoM

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Moerhel. Hats off to the "Toppies"

Awesome stuff Ian

Careful with the ageist thang - seems to 'sit uncomfortably' (maybe some ibuprofen or medicinal cannabis needed?)  >:D
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Offline Casting from Turd

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Moerhel. Hats off to the "Toppies"

Awesome stuff Ian

Careful with the ageist thang - seems to 'sit uncomfortably' (maybe some ibuprofen or medicinal cannabis needed?)  >:D

I can help with the latter  :deal:
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