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Author Topic: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3  (Read 604 times)

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Offline johanp

Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« on: May 14, 2019, 09:06:18 am »
Following up from http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=232868.0
I haven't had time to do a proper ride report yet so I thought I'd rather just start and fill in the blanks & pics later.



« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 09:52:05 am by johanp »
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 09:14:26 am »
Day 1:
https://tinyurl.com/LesothoDay1


5 of us left Centurion early morning.
Me - 800GS
Buddy - Silver 650GS-twin
Buddy's wife - Orange 650GS-twin
Other buddy + wife - Red 800GSA

We met up with another friend(800GS) from Durban at Harrismith and headed off to Clarens via Golden Gate for brunch.
From there we went through the Caledonspoort border which was much less effort than usual - no forms, only pay R40 toll/road tax.
It started raining literally the moment we went through the border. No complaints though since it was nice cooling down a bit.

From there on we headed off to Katse lodge where we spent the night in one of their 3 bedroom houses.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 09:59:14 am by johanp »
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 09:14:39 am »
Day 2:
https://tinyurl.com/LesothoDay2


We had some rusks & coffee for breakfast and hit the dirt towards Thaba-Tseka.  Some stunning views and generally a nice road, even though it had some deep ruts from the recent rains.
This was a short stretch of about 70km to Buffalo's Hotel which was surprisingly nice.  Not to be confused with Buffalo's B&B in town.
We checked in at the "hotel" and found a nice shebeen with some friendly locals across the road. We also managed to buy SIM cards at the local shop and load some data.

Quite a bit of rain that evening with some amazing rumbling thunder through the valley, not like anything I've experienced before. We were a bit worried that we'd be having a muddy day 3.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 09:59:36 am by johanp »
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 09:14:55 am »
Day 3:
https://tinyurl.com/LesothoDay3


Hit the dirt early morning towards Sani. The sun was luckily out and the dirt was mostly okay. We did come across some mud patches, some worse than others.
We came across a group (Alfie Cox's apparently) of bikers come from the other side and one on a KTM 690 hit the mud hard and came off, breaking his arm, etc.  Not good, but it was a big group so not much we could do to help. No reception, and even if we had, who do you call? Need to get this info sorted before the next trip.

We carried on with this amazing road and some of the most stunning scenery I've seen in my life. Some of the stretches were tricky with massive ruts and if you chose the wrong line you'd really be in for a bad time. Luckily no incidents, other than my buddy and his pillion come off in the dirt. No injuries.




We finally got to the tar road leading to Sani and rested for a bit. We noticed a bakkie with a KTM and rider on the back, looking worse for wear. The same guy from earlier - they loaded him and his bike on a local's bakkie and sent him on his way. Not something we would do, to be honest.

He could not move his right arm, had no comms and seemed a bit dazed. He insisted on getting on his bike and we realized we wouldn't be able to change his mind, so we helped him on his bike, got his hand on the throttle and off we went, escorting him slowly to Sani pub. It started raining again when we got there.

We also learned a valuable lesson here - comms is important and NEVER lose sight and don't be stupid....I noticed my friend and his pillion was missing so I stopped and waited, but my group didn't see my signals and carried on. I could sense a big f-up developing here.

I waited for a bit but my buddy wasn't coming and neither was the rest of my group. I eventually decided to turn around to go looking for them.
Found them on the side of the road with a massive sigh of relief, turns out my one friend spotted his dad who was on tour with another BM group and stopped to chat without signaling. Not cool.

We headed towards Sani to meet up with the rest of the group. Injured guy was able to contact his people with help on the way, so he was taken care of. Still raining at this point and the whole top of Sani was filled with mist.

We  headed towards Sani Stone Lodge and this turned out to be mess of note. The snottiest mid I have ever encountered and we were slipping and sliding all over the place. I was NOT having a good time at this point and I was simply gatvol to say the least.  :biggrin: I was also regretting fitting a Karoo Street rear tyre.

We finally reached the lodge and was finally able to have some room temp beers - no working fridges there. Very picturesque though and we had some nice pap & steak that evening.
They did switch the generator on so we could have charge our devices, but no warm shower unfortunately.
It was also raining the whole evening so we knew we were in for a bad time getting out the next morning in the mud.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 09:59:57 am by johanp »
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 09:15:08 am »
Day 4:
https://tinyurl.com/LesothoDay4


More slipping and sliding on the mud, but miracilously no falls. I was really happy to see tar..
We headed back to Sani pub for a coffee and some sightseeing before heading off to Afriski since we knew the pass was closed for roadworks. Spent some time there, had lunch and simply relaxed before heading back to Caledonspoort.
From there we went to Bethlehem where we spent the night.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 10:00:12 am by johanp »
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2019, 09:22:08 am »
Day 5:
Boring trip back home. Sad to leave Lesotho behind. :(

This was by far one of my best trips ever with some of the best sights I have ever seen. I've done Sani Pass before, but I think people are blinded by its "legend", there is much more to see inside Lesotho and I can't wait to explore some more.

This my buddy and his wife's first time pillioning on dirt & mud. So hats off to him for doing so well.

I'll update the post with more photos over time.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 09:50:14 am by johanp »
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2019, 09:51:22 am »
(Reserved for random images)
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Offline 0012

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Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2019, 04:02:09 pm »
lekker man lekker   :ricky:


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Offline JonW

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Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2019, 04:12:38 pm »
Very nice Ride Report, thanks for taking the trouble to share  :thumleft:
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2019, 04:42:49 pm »
Day 2:
We had some rusks & coffee for breakfast and hit the dirt towards Mokhotlong.  Some stunning views and generally a nice road, even though it had some deep ruts from the recent rains.
This was a short stretch of about 70km to Buffalo's Hotel which was surprisingly nice.  Not to be confused with Buffalo's B&B in town.
We checked in at the "hotel" and found a nice shebeen with some friendly locals across the road.

We also managed to buy SIM cards at the local shop and load some data.

Quite a bit of rain that evening with some amazing rumbling thunder through the valley. We were a bit worried that we'd be having a muddy day 3.

Little correction: I believe you have mixed up Mokhotlong and Thaba Tseka. If I understand correctly you stayed in Buffalo hotel in Thaba Tseka (about 70 km from Katse), not Mokhotlong (another at least 130 km away). You were heading for Mokhotlong on day 3 - that is where A3 actually goes heading east. If you would have been in Mokhotlong at the end of Day 2, it would be tar all the way to Sani pass on day 3 (about 50 km).

Mokhotlong is  at the end of the A3 about 130 km away - when you hit tar you turn left to Mokhotlong about 10 km away and right to Sani pass, about 40 km away.

And I agree, I don't get why so called adventure riders avoid Lesotho and ride the boring route long way around just to pop up and down Sani pass (at least people from Gauteng, can probably understand quick day trip if somebody is from KZN). And in the process miss fantastic riding unmatched anywhere in Southern Africa - be it dirt roads and passes, or twisting tar that must be best tar riding anywhere in Southern Africa. Go figure...

Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 06:30:13 pm »
Oops, sorry yes, Thaba-Tseka. :thumleft: I'll edit my post quickly.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 06:31:54 pm by johanp »
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Offline Sheepman

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 06:42:11 pm »
Great report and pics  :thumleft:
 
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Offline sackett

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 09:18:23 pm »
Thanks Johanp!!
Previously owned: Yamaha XT250, Honda XL500R, Yamaha XT600 Tenere, then moved over to the Dark Side with a great classic: Honda CB750F - all sold unfortunately.
 
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Offline johanp

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2019, 10:00:35 am »
Posts updated with maps.
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2019, 02:50:24 pm »
Good research for me, thanks for sharing.

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Offline wilfwalk

Re: Lesotho - Katse to Sani Stone Lodge via the A3
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2019, 09:32:49 am »
Thanks for your trip report and great photos. Ja Lesotho is simply beautiful, and I agree, Sani Pass isn't all Lesotho has to offer, by a looong way.
 
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