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Author Topic: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)  (Read 38517 times)

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Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #100 on: February 15, 2010, 04:35:19 pm »
 :laughing4:    :thumleft:   

 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #101 on: February 15, 2010, 06:25:35 pm »
Aaah, the time has surely arrived! With reluctance my dad wished me a fairwell as he still had lots
of little jobs for me on the farm. I will travel from Jagersfontein to Stynsburg and overnight at my mom's
family on their farm before I join up with Dustdevil in neighbouring town Hofmeyr the next day.

The 'ol KLR is already groaning under the weight of my luggage and I haven't even filled up with water.
I don't have a hydrapack and since we have to carry at least 3L of water each I opted to use some old
empty papsakke my aunt gave me. Rinsed them out a couple of times but the taste of red and white
wine still lingers. (Later on I would have lots of omplaints from my riding buddies about this.)

The total weight of my luggage comes in at +- 30kg, or that's what Ouma Kosie's 60 year old scale measured.
Just the camera gear I will carry on my back weighs 8kg.

On my way to Stynsburg I took small dirt roads as far as possible, even had to break through a fence once.
The farmers sometimes close off some off the tracks that used to be a through road in the old days. I got
caught out and didn't want to backtrack a 20min ride.

At Bethulie I admired the longest bridge in South Africa.



All around this part of the country Rooijakkals are a big problem for sheep and goat farmers and they kill them
on sight as many as they can but their numbers never seem to drop.



The most amazing lekker-ride roads in the country exists in this part. The landscape just rolls on and on and on.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 06:28:55 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline madmike999

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #102 on: February 15, 2010, 06:38:50 pm »
more more !

no sleeping please this looks like the story of the YEAR
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Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #103 on: February 16, 2010, 03:17:20 pm »
We left Stofmarai (Hofmyer) in a pile of dust and aimed for Barkley East where we will meet up with the third member of the group Stefan or Sack as he is known under the Wild Dogs.
The route was gravel only and took us past interesting places like Spitskop, Sterkspruit, Dortrecht and Rossouw.

Padkos at Sterkspruit, a neck of lamb lovingly prepared by mum.



 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #104 on: February 16, 2010, 06:02:53 pm »
Although we were already travelling through all enspiring landscapes I took few pictures.
Sack decided to start riding a day earlier than planned and this made myself and Dustdevil
a little behind schedule. It will take us some time to get into camera mode but once we did
we probably overdid it. Or so Sack said...  :3some: More of this later...

Some chickens in Rossouw.

 

Offline Spore

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #105 on: February 17, 2010, 08:10:52 am »
Keep going - can hardly wait!! Great quality!! Thanks :thumleft:
Courage without conscience is a wild beast...
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #106 on: February 18, 2010, 04:51:35 pm »
The Eastern Cape never fail to amaze with its ever changing landscapes and vistas. Dirt roads are in good shape and we were making good time rolling along past quiet farmsteads and endless expanse of the most beautiful open landscapes. Trailing along twisty roads following short on Michiels tail we were winding our way amongst the most spectacular sand stone koppies and valleys. The road between Dortrecht and Barkley East being especially spectacular. We stopped at a small shop in the one horse town of Rossouw and not being able to locate a cold Coke I had to settle for a Fanta Grape. I don't know how people can stomach drinking that. I never drink any alcohol when riding so beer was out of the question. I have noticed how drinking a single large glass of wine can influence my concentration the following day. When on the bikes we are constantly doing stuff that require our utmost focus and attention, being under any influence is just not acceptable.

We arrived on the farm in Barkley late afternoon to meet up with Sack and to get ready for the first leg of our trip the following day.

 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #107 on: February 19, 2010, 08:03:13 am »
Like John and I did the year before, we stayed on Wallace Hardie's farm about 10km outside of Barkley East.
Wallace was kind enough to accommodate us. We arrived on the farm even before Wallace and his wife did as
they were returning from a weekend at the coast. Sack was 1st to be there and had to wait a couple of hours for
the rest of us. Wallace's dogs got a hold of one of his boots but I'll leave him to tell the story.  

The old farmhouse has, amongst all the other, one huge room with 3 single beds and this is where we spent the night.
Dustdevil compared the beds to rowing boats but Wallace made up by preparing a proper dinner and much needed
breakfast himself.

The next morning the HPN was to be the 1st bike to need some attention...


« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 08:06:19 am by Michiel »
 

Offline madmike999

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #108 on: February 19, 2010, 08:27:25 am »
julle ouens is maak skaam met die photo's né
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Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #109 on: February 19, 2010, 09:06:00 am »
julle ouens is maak skaam met die photo's né

We did not spend to much time stopping for photography at this time saving it all for Lesotho.


Hey Michiel, stop reminding my about having to chuck a perfectly new UHD tube on account of a lousy rusty piece of nail.
It was quite embarrassing as I was floating around wasting time and then as we were ready to go I had to stop the bus and fix the flat first. Fortunately it was the only one I had for the whole trip.
 

Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #110 on: February 19, 2010, 09:39:10 am »
julle ouens is maak skaam met die photo's né

We did not spend to much time stopping for photography at this time saving it all for Lesotho.


Hey Michiel, stop reminding my about having to chuck a perfectly new UHD tube on account of a lousy rusty piece of nail.
It was quite embarrassing as I was floating around wasting time and then as we were ready to go I had to stop the bus and fix the flat first. Fortunately it was the only one I had for the whole trip.

:laughing4:  :laughing4:  :laughing4: That's Murphy's law for you !  :imaposer: These things always happen at the kakkest times !

 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #111 on: February 25, 2010, 12:34:34 pm »
On the way to Matatiele we took a wrong turn and landed up in this place, as Stefan called it "Teletubby Land"

We played around here like a bunch of kids :biggrin:








« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 09:02:59 am by Dustdevil »
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #112 on: February 26, 2010, 08:45:49 am »
These shots of Stefan on his bike is rare, in fact shots of Michiel and myself in motion on the bikes are even more rare. I don't even recall any photographs of myself while riding.
The reason for this is simple... we were always filming our video when there was some movement.

The video Michiel and I are busy editing contain some really spectacular shots of us cruising through these awesome landscapes and even more spectacular shots of us crashing and wrestling our bikes over and through some of the toughest terrain rideable on a large heavily loaded DS bike.

Our time is divided between writing this report and editing the video that will be over one hour long. So do bare with us, the best is still yet to come and I promise it will be worth the wait.


« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 08:58:11 am by Dustdevil »
 

Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #113 on: February 26, 2010, 09:48:48 am »
These shots of Stefan on his bike is rare, in fact shots of Michiel and myself in motion on the bikes are even more rare. I don't even recall any photographs of myself while riding.
The reason for this is simple... we were always filming our video when there was some movement.

The video Michiel and I are busy editing contain some really spectacular shots of us cruising through these awesome landscapes and even more spectacular shots of us crashing and wrestling our bikes over and through some of the toughest terrain rideable on a large heavily loaded DS bike.

Our time is divided between writing this report and editing the video that will be over one hour long. So do bare with us, the best is still yet to come and I promise it will be worth the wait.



Will I be able to buy one of these vids pleeze ! ????

 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #114 on: February 26, 2010, 01:53:26 pm »
These shots of Stefan on his bike is rare, in fact shots of Michiel and myself in motion on the bikes are even more rare. I don't even recall any photographs of myself while riding.
The reason for this is simple... we were always filming our video when there was some movement.

The video Michiel and I are busy editing contain some really spectacular shots of us cruising through these awesome landscapes and even more spectacular shots of us crashing and wrestling our bikes over and through some of the toughest terrain rideable on a large heavily loaded DS bike.

Our time is divided between writing this report and editing the video that will be over one hour long. So do bare with us, the best is still yet to come and I promise it will be worth the wait.



Will I be able to buy one of these vids pleeze ! ????
You'll love it, the HPN was styling!...err most of the times at least when the rider had all his marbles together and did not loose faith in the bikes ability.

We will make sure everyone have access to the video even if we have to load the whole damn thing on Youtube in stages. Getting a DVD will be first prize though because this must be viewed full screen to be really appreciated.

 

Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #115 on: February 26, 2010, 02:14:54 pm »
I have a beeg 55' lcd to watch it on .... does this mean I get the first dvd ??   :drif:
Youtube will just use up my cap !


 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #116 on: February 26, 2010, 03:58:42 pm »
On our first day or riding as a trio we headed from Barkley to Lundin's Nek and on towards the Tiffendell ski resort.
The usual stuff. Road was lekker with a couple of steep climbs and descents but nothing too difficult.

Crossed paths with this lot, the oke on the KLR had a nasty fall almost taking out the radiator, but dispite them heading
to the same acommodation in Matatiele as we were we didn't see again.



At Tiffindell the usual picture taking commenced.





From Tiffindell we headed for Rhodes where we made a lunch stop. Just outside Rhodes Sack was the 1st one to take
a little tumble but in his defense I should add that it was to be blamed on a stupid sheep. For some reason all the
cattle and sheep in the Eastern Cape were on the roads we travelled.

One thing that I did notice was how dry the whole region was. I remember seeing a magnificent waterfall coming
down from Tiffendell the year before. Done some water crossings too. This year one wouldn't say it rained at all.
This will be good news for Lesotho as we have got planned some serious roads and rain would make things really
difficult, quite possibly impossible...

Crossing the Naude's Nek Pass I just had to go show my buddies the 5star hotel Tenahead. This place was built to
blend with the landscape and since it's right on top of the mountains it relies on a huge diesel generator for electricity.
I was surprised to see that since last year they have started construction on a power line. It sort of spoils the landscape
but hey, what can we do? We wanted to have a look inside but were showed the door as they clearly didn't want our
sort hanging around their high-paying guests.



The other side of Naude's Nek.



On towards Matatiele I got confused with the roads and led the group down the wrong way. No harm done though as we
discovered a really interesting place a bit like a playground for giants. Sack playing to the camera.







The evening saw us enjoying comfortable accommodation at the Resthaven Guest House in Matatiele.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 04:04:24 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline Doerengone

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #117 on: February 26, 2010, 04:23:00 pm »

Lekka photies. Sack must be a surfer dude, thats classic longboard styling. Like doing a zen hang ten on a glassy 3 foot on a perfect day out.  :thumleft:
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Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #118 on: March 03, 2010, 10:45:51 am »
Time to get this show on the road, the rocky road!

So we spent the night at the Resthaven Guest House in Matatiele. A year ago John and I stumbled upon the
place as we didn't intend on staying in Matatiele but were forced to as we ran so late on our journey to Lesotho.
The owner, Philip, and his wife runs a splendid facility and I can recommend it to any biker passing by. I liked
the fact that every room has its own bathroom and ample space to put all my luggage. Double bed, large
lounge/kitchen with full facilities, safe undercover parking and a moerse nice buffet breakfast you can gorge
yourself on. All this for something like R300/head. Clean and tidy. They even hauled out a hose on my request
so I could wash my 'ol KLR. (Didn't want any extra mud weighing me down.)

Philip introduced me to his friend, Pieter, who knows Lesotho inside out. Speaks Sotho in a way I can only envy.
Pieter had a look at our maps and the route we want to follow and he reckons that we should get through in most
places. The Chinese has invaded Lesotho and in return for her resources they are building infrastructure. The one
section of road, from St. Francis Missionary to Sehonghong, that worried me most has apparently recently been overhauled.
Pieter explained that, what used to be Roof of Africa stuff, can now be negotiated with a Corsa bakkie. He did warn us
though that the valley we intend to cross right by Sehonghong is very deep and riding in the river can be dangerous as,
what he described as quicksand, can bog one down even on a motorcycle.



Further serious warning came regarding the road between Mantsonyane and Semonkong. Pieter believe that, given
we set aside a whole day to get up the mountain on Semonkong's side of the Senquane (Little Orange River),
we should manage. I've been in sight of this road and should admit it scared the hell out of me. Later on it became
apparent that, regardless of my specific cautions, neither Sack nor Dustdevil understood the full extent of what
they were in for...

We also used the opportunity to prep the bikes. Both Sack and I opted for installing a "low range" by swapping
the front sprocket for one with one tooth less than standard. Dustdevil can't pull out the same trick as he runs a
shat drive but he will rely on the HPN's party piece, massive torque right from idle speeds.

Crossing the border via Ramas Gate turned out to be a little less 4x4, as the map indicated, and more 4x2 but it
still beats Qacha's Nek by a long shot as we were just about the only people using the road and didn't have to
contend with the dust thrown up by trucks.

Dustdevil dealing with customs. A quick process I should add.



Some friendly fellow travellers as we entered the Lesotho side of Rama's Gate.



Now we were off heading towards Sehonghong but via St. Francis. The simplicity of these houses make them true
and beautiful.





Some kids at the house I photographed. Look at the valley under the settlement. For some reason the kids always
seem to bend forward to pose for photographs.



Crossing the valley across from St Francis Missionary. There used to be only a suspension bridge but the
Chinese has built a concrete bridge recently. The suspension bridge has become a antique piece only used by
people, donkeys and occationally some adventure riders.



Half way through the day and about half way to Sehong Hong we are on top of the mountain that concerned me most.
Pieter was right, the Chinese bulilt a road up here that one can negotiate with a car!





Looking down into the valley on the other side. This path is only used by people on foot going down towards the village.
The Chinese road carries on on the right hand side out of the frame.

 

As we near a fork in the road we decide to take the time, go off the way, to see the nearby village. A friendly bunch
greeted us. The elders in the village were pointing this way and that way trying to explain something about the road
but we couldn't make out a word.





Back on the road again we now descended a steep, roughly graded section and soon discovered what all the pointing
around was about. The road has been dinamited apart to make way for a bigger cutting on the edge of crossing a
little ravine. Aah bloody hell!






« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 11:04:56 am by Michiel »
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #119 on: March 03, 2010, 02:28:54 pm »
The road up to Ramatsiliso's gate turned rough for about 50 yards but besides it being smoother than expected it was a very scenic drive.

Stefan admiring the scene at the top.


Just inside Lesotho and the scenery has picked up a notch.




We stopped at this remote village before we were forced to turn around by the exploded road. These people must have been cut of from the world by regular transport for years. It would have only been possible to transport their most basic provisions by horseback or donkey across these frightening mountain passes.
It is incredible to find such low levels of pollution in these rural villages. One would very seldom find a packet or discarded piece of plastic anywhere, do they know that it is not cool to throw stuff around or do they simply not consume the kind of products that would produce rubbish through wrappings and containers.


I saw this guy working his fields passing by at around noon, the other two was in front and the sun was to harsh for a good picture so I did not stop. Later we were forced to turn around because the road was blown to bits by the Chinese. Heading back in the direction of Rama's gate I found the man still busy tilling his field after 5 in the afternoon. I could get this image with the setting sun.





« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 07:17:16 am by Dustdevil »