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Offline bud500

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Lesotho Debut
« on: October 09, 2006, 12:59:40 pm »
As discussed in the "Planning a trip" section, the plan was to make my debut in Lesotho. Thanks to everyone for the input and info.

Me and my friend Sol(still to register here...) met in Harrismith this past Thursday morning as I am from KZN and he is from GP. From there we planned to ride to Golden Gate National Park where we would stay that night and also meet up with his folks, our support crew.(Spoiled we were, I know!)

Friday from Golden Gate into Lesotho and to Katse for the night. Then to Sani Top the Saturday and back home on Sunday.

But not all plans work out and here follows our story, through my camera lens.

My steed, packed and ready to go at 05h45 on Thurday morning. After 48 hours of non-stop rain I was relieved not to be met by a rainy start.


After surviving wet roads through sugarcane plantations in harvesting season I made my first stop in Hilton to fill up. As I had started with half a tank. I also found out that luckily I took the alternative route (R603) instead of the N3, as there was a major cash heist on the highway.



The workhorses for the weekend. Sol has twin Akras on his bike and the droan from them are truly sole stirring.



As we approach the Golden Gate entrance you get your first view of the sandstone(?) cliff faces.



What followed was a surprising stretch of road. Game viewing from a bike is truly amazing. We saw Blesbok, Springbok and Zebra. Then we came across this piece of tarmac, I feel slightly guilty for speeding a bit here...



Someone didn't understand???



Setting up camp in Golden Gate. It was still early and we planned to go for a ride in the area.

[/img]
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Offline bud500

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2006, 01:19:45 pm »
After camp was setup we took off to Fouriesburg via Clarence. Got to Fouriesburg and was not impressed at all. Then turned back to Clarence and stopped there for lunch and the 2nd beer on the trip.(1st was consumed while pitching tents.)



Back at camp for some well deserved relaxation next to the fire. The climate was fine, but with the wind gusting every now and then it was a bit chilly. Travelled just about 450km on the day.



No guessing where the park got its name from....



The next morning me and Sol were up early as we both suffered from SDM(Slowly Deflating Matresses). We packed and refueled and took off direction Phuthaditjaba and Monontsa Borderpost. Formalities were completed quickly. I also deflated my tyres in anticipation of what was to come. We were enjoying ourselves so much that the amount of pics suffered a bit. Here we crossed about our 3rd water crossing, levels were really low and it was almost a non-event.



Another crossing with a bit more water. Sol doing his bit.



At 12h00 we stopped for brunch. Still on the 4x2 track between Monontsa and the A1. Having a vehicle following really gives you some options.



After brunch we linked up with the A1 and went on our way to Oxbow Lodge. Maluti Lager was calling my name! I revelled in the bike's Dual Sport capabilities. Here we also saw our first patches of snow.

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Offline bud500

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2006, 01:38:18 pm »
My definition of Dual Sport:



We were a bit touristy and the sun was getting low. The plan was to camp at Katse. After dodging filled potholes with the gravel all over the tar we got to the Lejone turn off that goes through Kao. After being assured by an official in a Lesotho Tourism bakkie that this road would be fine on bike and 4x4 we were a bit surprised. The road has been resurfaced with golfball sized gravel as far as we could see. I did about a 1km test and it was like riding on ball bearings, the gravel was about a foot deep. No way we were doing that for 70 odd km's.
So the plans were revised and we headed straight for Sani Top.

Here we stopped at Tlokoeng for a break and as it looked like they had fuel. They did have fuel but sadly the pump has been broken for a week so no luck. The attendant also informed us that Mokhotlong was sold out. Fortunately we were carrying 20L of fuel on the back up vehicle and also had enough in the bikes to make Sani Top.



It was getting dark fast now. This is on the pass just before you reach Sani Top. One of my favorite pics.



Coming down above mentioned pass.



It was past 18h00 and the moon was making it's appearance. Sorry but my photography is not up to Wino's standard. Same moon though....



Another attempt at capturing the sight..... :oops: (Handheld)

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Offline funacide

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2006, 01:47:48 pm »
Nice report Bud, keep it coming
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Offline bud500

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2006, 01:56:54 pm »
We planned to camp the whole trip but the campground at Sani Top is non-existant. So we opted for the Backpackers Lodge. It was very windy and cold and you could see spots of snow on the surrounding hills.
Our accomodation the next morning.



As we were staying at Sani Top for 2 days we could unpack the bikes for our first attempt at Sani Pass. So with almost no luggage and near empty tanks the bikes were handling quite well. The pass was steeper and harder work than I anticipated. What a jol!



Sol coming down Sani Valley.



Himeville Arms, hot and exhausted with an allmighty thirst. We filled our tummies and our bikes and headed back up Sani Pass.



 :shock:



Coming up Sani Valley we could see it was raining higher up. We both broke out in a nervous sweat as we arrived at the border post after riding in a soft drizzle.



The Sani Valley gods blessed us with a light rain that settled the dust and brought out that "just rained" smell... 8)



Taking a break just before the last steep bit of the ascent.



Unfortunately shortly after the gods took a sacrifice. Sol suffered from an inseam "shortage"

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Offline bud500

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2006, 02:15:38 pm »
Saturday afternoon we listened to our team lose and had an early braai. It was freezing outside and very windy. Me and Sol took refuge in "The Highest Pub in Africa", man I have been waiting long to be able to say that.
I was really entertained by all the old photographs in the chalet. Especially those of the 1969-70 Roof of Africa participants. Also quite amazed by this pic. Now I have to wait a year for the next winter  :x



Sunday morning and we are packed and ready to go. This was my going home day. But first I have to get down this with a fueled up and loaded bike. Definately had a few "puckering" moments.



So how do you decide to build a road up there?



After some entertaining riding on the R612(tested in last BikeSa) and again loving the Dual Sportiness of my bike I arrive at the coast.



Close to home. It wasn't my scorching riding...I promise



I loved this trip and can't wait to go back and see Katse as originally planned. I covered just over 1000km in the 4 days. This is not much, but time in the saddle(or on the pegs) was a different story. The bike never missed a beat and averaged about 18km/L.

As for any hostilities or unfriendliness? All the people we encountered were very friendly. Yes there were loads of kids shouting "sweeets, sweets", but it was not too bad. I thought I saw one boy taking a shot with a whip at Sol but it was in my mirror so I can't be sure.
Actually I found the people in the rural areas like Highflats in KZN to have worse attitudes with threatening gestures.


Now what to do with my severe case of PTD (Post Trip Depression)?
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Offline Renier

Lesotho Debut
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 02:35:34 pm »
congrats china, glad to hear the yellow machine didnt suffer any side on a slide incidents...

wish i couldve been there, blue frog wouldve prop showd u how not to fall, and where to stop and help pick it up ;-)

nevertheless, congrats on the firts proper dirt trip of the yellow one.
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Offline wino

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 02:42:48 pm »
awesome, awesome, awesome! 8)
 

Offline Ama ride ride

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2006, 03:01:17 pm »
Good report mate.  :P

But I';m all ears to get more info in your buddies twin akras.....wanted to do it myself a while now but it smoney I dont have.. :cry:
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Offline Grootseun

Lesotho Debut
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2006, 03:09:43 pm »
Kickass report and pics dude..well done..

:thumbright:
 

Offline bud500

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2006, 03:14:14 pm »
Quote from: "Ama ride ride"
Good report mate.  :P

But I';m all ears to get more info in your buddies twin akras.....wanted to do it myself a while now but it smoney I dont have.. :cry:


I will get him to register here so you can get the info. Those pipes are stunning race pipes. They sound the business! My Remus wane next to those.

Thanks Gents!
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Offline X Banana Boy

Lesotho Debut
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2006, 03:41:06 pm »
Very nice report Bud.  Thanks.  My Dad and brother ran the Sani stagger last year.  http://www.sanistagger.com/   A 42km from the sani Pass hotel to the Sani Pass summit and back.  they said it was very steep at the top.

Great pics.  Add some to the monthly compitetion, like your favourite shot looking out at dusk.  :D
 

Offline droffarc

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Re: Lesotho Debut
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2006, 03:44:07 pm »
Quote from: "bud500"
.... there was a major cash heist on the highway.


....


 :lol:


Enjoyed immensely. Thanks Bud.
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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2006, 03:47:14 pm »
Lekker report Bud! Enjoyed it. Good to see the bike is going places ASAP.  :P
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Offline brettp

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2006, 04:20:37 pm »
Bud, man what a nice report. Looks like it was loads of fun - very envious!!!  :D
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Offline JonW

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2006, 05:02:47 pm »
Great Report Bud. Enjoyed the pics of Sani. Thanks for the report.
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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2006, 06:02:31 pm »
Way to go dude !
 

Offline SGB

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Lesotho
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2006, 06:14:00 pm »
Good story Bud, looks like you had a pleasant ride.  :)  Like I always say:  Lesotho has its little moments..... :D  :shock:
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Offline Leon H

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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2006, 11:40:30 pm »
What a great story!  Thanks Bud that is awesome, from the mountains to the coast, a little bit of something for everyone.....

Every time I see a Sani Pass story and photos it just blows me out - my brain aches just contemplating riding down it - must be a very entertaining ride...

I have to stop checking this frum and reading ride reports when I arrive at work in the morning - destroys my productivity for the rest of the day as I stare out the window and wonder what riding lies behind the mountains :twisted:

Thanks mate! :)
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Lesotho Debut
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2006, 09:50:48 am »
Quote from: "bud500"
Quote from: "Ama ride ride"
Good report mate.  :P

But I';m all ears to get more info in your buddies twin akras.....wanted to do it myself a while now but it smoney I dont have.. :cry:


I will get him to register here so you can get the info. Those pipes are stunning race pipes. They sound the business! My Remus wane next to those.

Thanks Gents!
Quote
I finally managed to find the time to register on this very cool site. Thanks bud for a great trip, and report! I got the Akras for the sound and not the performance, but what else would you like to know?