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Author Topic: Sehlabathebe Magic  (Read 1116 times)

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Offline JonW

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Sehlabathebe Magic
« on: January 11, 2021, 11:46:45 am »
A couple of times a year I try organize a group of friends to do a ride up into Lesotho. The last one was meant to be in November last year, but persistent heavy rains over Lesotho meant that we had to cancel the trip, as riding in the rain in Lesotho is no-one's idea of fun.

After some consultations about dates for doing this ride again it was decided to leave on the Wednesday, spend a night at the St Bernard's Peak Hotel, spend 2 nights up in Lesotho and then return on Saturday.

I was keeping an eagle eye on the weather reports, which showed heavy rains early in the week leading up to the trip, but clearing by the time we were due to start riding. On the morning of our departure the owner of the lodge called me ans told me it was pouring with rain and had been for the past few days, so maybe we should rethink. I told her thanks, but we were still coming, I really didn't want to cancel again.

So Carel, Dawie and Shaun trailered down from Pretoria on Wednesday afternoon, stopped to pick me up in Howick on the way and we got to St Bernard's Peak near Swartberg at around 20h00, just in time for dinner.

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we got our bikes ready and left at around 08h30 to head up the pass into Lesotho.

All 4 of us were on KTM 500's

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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 11:57:18 am »
The first couple of km are farm roads and they were muddy and slippery, evidence of the recent heavy rains.

I don't really enjoy riding in slippery mud as I find I have to spend my time concentrating on not falling off instead of enjoying the scenery.

But it wasn't raining, just misty and overcast and I was hoping that by the time we got to the top of the pass we would be above the low clouds.

The pass wasn't that slippery, could see the farmer who owns the land which the pass is on had done a lot of maintenance on the pass, which was a bit disappointing as it made the pass less of a challenge, but still beautiful scenery and stunning views.

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Offline DavidMorrisXp

Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2021, 12:03:52 pm »
Would love to do the same but not on my bike...

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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2021, 12:08:32 pm »
Some more on the pass, and then the start of the last steep rocky section to the top, where no maintenance has been done and which is still a nice challenge.

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Offline Grunder

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2021, 12:18:38 pm »
 :ricky:
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Offline petri oosthuizen

Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 12:37:24 pm »
Looks nice thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!

Doable on an old Tenere 600, I'm a medium skilled rider, if I take it rustig??
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Offline Amsterdam

Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 12:54:34 pm »
Where did you cross the border?  Did they want COVID tests in and out?
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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 01:18:46 pm »
Looks nice thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!

Doable on an old Tenere 600, I'm a medium skilled rider, if I take it rustig??

Some parts of the ride this would be fine, but this ride you really need something light.
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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2021, 01:20:05 pm »
Where did you cross the border?  Did they want COVID tests in and out?

Un-official border crossing, so no Covid issues  ;)
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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2021, 01:31:35 pm »
The rocky section, looking backwards from the top

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Offline XT JOE

Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2021, 04:40:50 pm »
Wow this is stunning area /ride- short legs du toit and these steps could have a hard time but it eish - look forward to the rest
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Offline OomD

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2021, 05:18:21 pm »
Hell that look so inviting! :thumleft:
 

Offline Crankshaft

Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2021, 05:23:45 pm »
Awesome
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Offline DavidMorrisXp

Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2021, 06:44:05 pm »
Hell that look so inviting! :thumleft:

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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2021, 07:26:01 pm »
Once at the top of the pass we took a few minutes to catch our breath and have a quick stretch.

Unfortunately we hadn't broken through the cloud like I had hoped, which meant it was quite misty and there were no views. But the terrain was nice and rideable, much drier than at the bottom of the pass, and there was no sign of rain.



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Online Noneking

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2021, 08:01:58 pm »
Fantastic as always!
 
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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2021, 08:38:12 pm »
We then entered Lesotho through a farm gate and set off through Sehlabathebe National Park, roughly following the border fence in the direction of the North East corner of the park.

The park was at it's most beautiful, lush and green from all the rain, with fields of wild flowers.

Every now and then we hit a marshy section which lasted a couple of hundred meters, but surprisingly enough not once did any of us get bogged down or stuck.

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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2021, 09:06:13 pm »
After an hour or two of really enjoyable riding we came to a river crossing that normally would not have been a problem, but when Carel waded into the river to check it out the water came up to his waist, so we figured that even if we pushed the bikes across with the engines turned off, the airboxes would still get filled with water.

After riding for a short bit up and down the river bank looking for a better crossing place, we decided to pick the back of each bike out the water by the swing arm and push the bikes across with only the front wheel on the ground. I didn't think we would be able to do this, but it was surprisingly easy to do because the 500's are so light.

It didn't take long and all 4 bikes were across





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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2021, 09:15:37 pm »
From there we headed across the park towards the Tsoelikana Falls on a path @Losper had told me about.

For the most part we were able to follow the path, but had to deviate over the odd mountain every now and then as the river deviates all over the park.

After some fun riding we came to the falls, where we again had to find a new path over the top of the mountain next to the falls as the river above the falls that the path crossed was flowing too strongly.


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Offline JonW

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Re: Sehlabathebe Magic
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2021, 09:23:53 pm »
Some more pics of the falls

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