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Author Topic: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt  (Read 5824 times)

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Offline JonW

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OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« on: September 02, 2009, 09:34:53 am »
OngeluksNek Pass lies between the Eastern Cape town of Matatiele and Lesotho.



The turn off to the pass is about 10km outside of Matatiele on the Mt Fletcher road. The road to the pass is dirt and it passes through the Ongeluks Nek Nature Reserve, which was officially opened in June 2009. The reserve forms part of the Maloti - Drakensberg Transfrontier Park and straddles South Africa's and Lesotho's borders.



The history of the Pass is fascinating and goes all the way back to 1861 when Adam Kok 111 led the Griquas on their great trek from Philippolis in the Southern Free State all the way through Lesotho, across the Drakensberg, and into the Eastern Cape.

The trek involved 3 000 Griquas and their horses, 300 wagons, 20 000 head of cattle and 200 000 sheep. The trek took nearly 2 years before they finally reached their destination on Natal's southern border.

OngeluksNek is the pass where the Griquas descended down the Drakensberg  from Lesotho into the Eastern Cape. The pass reputedly got its name because one of Kok's party accidently shot himself there.

The area in the Eastern Cape where the Griquas settled became known as Griqualand East, and the headquarters that Adam Kok 111 set up still carries his name to this day, Kokstad.

The whole history of the Griquas is really interesting and their story reflects really badly on the British, the Afrikaner Boers and particularly on the Christian Missionaries operating in the area, who all conspired to disempower the once prosperous and fiercely independent Griqua people.

More information on the history of the Griquas can be found here: 

 http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/library-resources/online%20books/role-missionaries/chapterIX.htm

Up until a year ago the pass was really neglected and in wet weather it was very difficult  to traverse, and was hardly used at all. So much so that when I rode up the pass a few years ago, the border guard  told me that I was the first person to come through the border in the last few months.

The authorities have obviously always had plans for the pass to be upgraded as the Border post is brand new and quite impressive.







Recently the pass has been graded and a lot of money spent on maintaining it, making it a relatively easy ride. I would highly recommend this pass to anyone to ride, it is very remote and the scenery is spectacular.





At the top of the pass you come across  Lake Letsie, a natural lake.





After this the dirt road heads into southern Lesotho, into some of the most amazing countryside I have ever ridden.







How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?
 

Online edgy

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 11:22:11 am »
Thanks bud,wanting to go this route in Nov on route to the Roof! :thumleft:
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Offline JonW

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 11:33:22 am »
Hey edgy

If you are still coming to the KZN Bash we will be doing this pass as well as Ramatsilitso Pass on one of the outrides.
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Online edgy

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 11:34:00 am »
I`ll be there! :thumleft:
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Offline Ama ride ride

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 11:48:05 am »
Thanks for this info :thumleft: :thumleft:
Gewoontlik n@@i ek reguit aan op fyndraai.

 

Offline chicco

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 12:10:17 pm »
This was one of KZN's best kept secrets, This is the ultimate Lesotho ride....
Underberg
sani
katsi (sleepover)
Thaba tseka
Qachas nek
Matatiele (sleepover)
Ongeluks nek
Tele bridge
Rhodes (sleepover)
Back to underberg
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Offline Frog

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2009, 12:17:21 pm »
Thanks for the valuable info
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Offline SGB

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2009, 05:27:54 pm »
Two weeks ago Lake Letsie was still iced up, you could walk about 20m from the shore on the ice, but the cracking sound caused a quick u-turn!
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Offline michnus

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2010, 04:16:28 pm »
The new Sani for D/S bikes.  :thumleft:




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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 08:38:01 am »
Thanks JonW for the update, was wanting to also update it. I couldn't believe how they have fixed up the pass. We went up there this Christmas, unfortunatly not with the bikes though...
Another bit of history (more recent)-
When going through the Ongeluksnek valley (between the Matat-Mt Fletcher tar road and the start of the pass/border post, one will notice many old and once beautiful sandstone farmhouses, now badly neclected. This valley was originally not part of the Transkei, untill 1976 when the farms where bought out from the private farmers. Many of the farmers around Matat and Cedarville grew up and farmed in the valley (including my previous 3 generations).

Another place maybe worth a visit is the impressive sandstone Roman Catholic mission (Mariazell) a few km's before the start of the nature reserve. Over a 100 years old already.

Agreed, southern lesotho is still very "unspoiled" tourist wise- don't know of any rock-trowing etc.. and beautiful with awesome roads! Once passed Lake Letsi, when you turn left towards Mt Moorosi, the step descent/pass is called Devil's Staircase.

Happy touring!!
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Offline sakkier56

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 09:01:46 pm »
Yes you guys this the most kept secret to adv biking. I do reside in Matatiele and yes i do offer day trips to all these BAIE MOOI places. Visit my website www.r56bikeadv.co.za and see what i have to offer. Sakkie Maartens.
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Offline chicco

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 09:17:39 pm »
Hi Sakkie, welkom .... :biggrin:

was laas by jou na die Rally raid......  :thumleft:

Amper weer tyd vir die winter Lesotho ride.......
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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 07:33:05 am »
Hallo Sakkie :biggrin:

Welkom hier!
Een van die dae (DV) trek ons terug...
Groete
Gerbrand
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Offline Kelvin

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Ongeluksnek Pass - Oct 2014
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 10:39:37 am »
Having just completed a week tour through Lesotho, riding in via Sani Pass and out through Ongeluksnek. Both riding our GS650 Dakar (shod with Heidi' rubber), this pass is not for the faint of heart or novice rider. The condition of the route is VERY poor and the switch-backs strewn with large stones, making this a RED ROUTE for good reason! Gale force winds made even walking to inspect the surface difficult and coming from the rear, forced the bike faster than safe. Compression braking in 1st is an obvious must and even then not sufficiently slow for the downhill climb. It is impossible to dodge the rocks and to reduce speed I slalomed the narrow road, which resulted in the the rear sliding out on the heavy gravel. Lightly feathering the brakes allowed some speed reduction but also caused the bike to stall on three occasions coming down. On the final switchback my mate hit a rock, causing an almost fatal accident as he went off the road. His plummet into the 5m gully was fortunately stopped by a tree stump, and he only suffered a dislocated kneecap and torn ligaments. Passed the switchbacks the route is less stoney, however very deep rutting and worn rock surfaces make the road equally challenging for a heavy bike. Constant focus is necessary and there is little opportunity to appreciate the view. The road is also overgrow with grass clumps and at times it was easier to ride on the side margin.
When I arrived at the boarder control by 4pm, the gates were locked (7pm official close). After getting no response hooting SOS I started to climb the fence and eventually I got some attention. Avondale police station is approximately 12km away and Matatiel is a 55km drive on dirt, making emergency assistance quite far.

This boarder pass SHOULD NOT be attempted in poor weather, including extremes of heat or cold, both of which are taxing. Wet conditions will render the surface unridable, do not attempt it!

Consider this route an EXTREME CHALLENGE, ensure bikes in good condition and riders fit and experienced. My advice is to AVOID THIS ROUTE unless well prepared psychologically as well as physically.

Suggested preview: http://www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za/find-a-pass/eastern-cape/item/479-ongeluksnek-pass.html

PS: The photos posted are very deceiving and having been taken a few years back, they do not represent the current condition of the pass its self.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 10:44:21 am by Kelvin »
 

Offline Donaldbr

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Re:
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2014, 06:40:46 pm »
Thank you for the status report, we are going up sani on Friday, across to semonkong, and have three options for return, ongeluksnek was one of them.

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Offline sakkier56

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2015, 06:47:55 pm »
Hi.

Please the Ongeluksnek pass is just about not ride able. When it is wet stay away. You won't make it and you will sleep out. If dry tempt it BUT sure take a riding buddy or 2 with. Very rutted and many riders have been stuck in these ruts. We are trying our best to get the correct Govt officials involved to get it sorted. If you tempt it rather do it with no passenger OR your passenger can act as a 4 X 4. Help pull and push. :'(
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Offline chicco

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2015, 10:27:48 am »
Hi.

Please the Ongeluksnek pass is just about not ride able. When it is wet stay away. You won't make it and you will sleep out. If dry tempt it BUT sure take a riding buddy or 2 with. Very rutted and many riders have been stuck in these ruts. We are trying our best to get the correct Govt officials involved to get it sorted. If you tempt it rather do it with no passenger OR your passenger can act as a 4 X 4. Help pull and push. :'(

Hi Sakkie, if that is not a challenge I dont know what is!!!

Sounds like fun....
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Offline Len vR

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2015, 10:57:01 am »
Hi Sakkie 56

Ek en 5 ander ouen's het Ongeluks gedoen in Dec 29 2014,een ou moes terug draai nadat hy sy clutch op n'690 uitgebrand het.My 990s ,Johnny Brambles 1190R ,Leroy [volmossel] 990adv en twee 690R het na n'uur en half by Montusi cafe stillgehou.Ek sal later photo's op sit.Grenspos SA tot by die groot pyp
is n' bietjie afkak daarna ok maar soos jy se VAT n' pel of drie saam.

Groete
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Offline >>Thump°C

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2015, 11:08:20 am »
Just saw this thread now, brought back good memories.

Came down in the dark during the 2009 kZN bash with veld fires on both sides of the road. LOL.

Had to find the gate guard to let us through as they'd just closed the border post when we got there.

We did the loop up SANI then out down here. Luckily I never knew the name LOL.

see for the day http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=38766.msg753246#msg753246

The next day we went back up on the group ride
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 11:09:04 am by >>Thump°C »
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Offline EssBee

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Re: OngeluksNek Pass (Matatiele - Lesotho) EC Dirt
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2015, 12:11:21 pm »
Hey, Thump, thanks for sharing that again. Yeah, the 2009 bash...cannot believe how long ago that is now, hey!