Apologies to those of you who have been waiting in anticipation for the ride report of our recent Lesotho tour. The tour will be split over 3 blog posts so as not to bombard you with too much info all at once. So please be patient, the next instalment to follow within 24 hours. Something to look forward to…
The long-anticipated Lesotho week started with us leaving Hout Bay together with Paul in the
bakkie, 3 bikes in
tow early on Saturday morning. The trip
to Aliwal North is exactly 1000km and there is no way that you want to attempt
that on a KLR or other 650 single for that matter. Towing the bikes was definitely the better
We planned to meet up with guys from East London, PE, Cape Town and Johannesburg for a ride around Lesotho, taking in Fouriesburg, Golden Gate, skirting the Drakensberg to Underberg, Sani & Matabeng passes in Lesotho, Naude’s Nek, Rhodes and Lundeans Pass before getting back to Aliwal North and heading home the scenic route via De Rust with the bikes in tow.
The trip to Aliwal was uneventful and longer than expected. There is really nothing glamorous about spending 12 hours in a car – fortunately Paul shared the driving. We met up with the group at the Toll Inn at Aliwal.
bike had a leaking petcock and he was trying to fix it with Pratleys putty –
not a good start. Kwagga had a baptism
of fire, riding up with Baksteen and Frenchy. Mud is now his friend.
The Toll Inn at Aliwal is well worth a visit with their historic bridge, the river and friendly animals. We parked the
bakkie and trailer there
pending our return a week later.
We celebrated Jorg’s birthday at the start of the tour and Baksteen very generously presented Jorg with an entire box of condoms (probably 3000) for his birthday – go figure! We did something a bit more demure and had a
tshirt printed for him reading Jorg’emeister.
Rather fitting I thought as he is the master of all things mechanical
when it comes to our KLRs.
So without any
Day 1 Cape Town to Aliwal North
|Had to wake at sparrows to leave, so everything felt like a blur....|
|2 KLRs and an XT|
|Can't imagine a belt driven chain is cheap to maintain...|
|"The long road ahead" with Paul & David|
|Arrived at the Toll Inn in the dark and joined the clan to watch the SA |
Day 2 Aliwal North to Fouriesburg
The first leg to Fouriesburg was around 350km in windy weather with rain forecast for later in the day. We rode as many dirt roads as possible and found scenic roads to Van Stadensrus, a little
dorp that must have looked a lot
better 50 or 60 years ago, and it feels like you are travelling back in time in
the Free State. Porra was thoughtfully
leaving a trail of petrol just in case we need to find our way back.
Frenchy decided to go it alone and discovered that the route preference settings on Garmin do make a difference, so he spent most of the day trying to find us again.
We stopped at a very derelict Wepener for fuel, and ran through to Hobhouse where we stopped at a delightful spot for a longish break, decent coffee and freshly baked cake. The rain was threatening and we
it to Fouriesburg on a combination of gravel and tar.
|Woke to a glorious day, ready to start our adventure|
|Views from the Toll Inn|
|Where I go, birds will follow & the other way around|
The Magnificent six
|We were led down to the river by Skye the Labrador|
|We found McSack|
|The journey begins... |
|Glorious riding weather|
|Derelict house at Vanstadensrus|
|We stopped at the Workshop in Hobhouse for a cuppa and a slice of cake|
What great hospitality!
|Must be good if Baksteen's little finger is doing the talking|
|The owner, an artist and avid biker, created this BMW looking piece of art|
|Happy birthday Jorg'emeister|
I especially had this
for the smaller pics - apologies pics not cellphone
Day 3 - Fouriesburg to Himeville
Monday morning arrived with a gloomy sky, but thankfully the rain had more or less passed over.
Porra’s bike was being objectionable and
refused to start. After various attempts
at towing (tanks Kwagga) and jump-starting, he was forced to make the call of
shame to Rick (his long-suffering brother) to come and fetch him from
Johannesburg. The rest of the group were
sadly forced to elect a new entertainment committee.
We left about an hour or so later to Clarens for fuel, and on to Golden Gate for a slow drive through the National Park. Golden Gate is probably best viewed in the late afternoon or early morning on a clear day, and the overcast conditions didn’t do it much justice. We passed by Bergville and kept close to the Drakensberg on the dirt roads through the villages.
kids all wave and are excited to see the passing bikes, while the school-going
teenagers are way to cool to acknowledge your existence.
The roads were reasonably good, but the 400km that we had to cover at slowish speeds meant that the day was quite long and we were thankful to reach Himeville in the late afternoon. The overnight stop at The Old Hatchery was ok, we ate in their restaurant and did the chains and checked the bikes for a last time before Lesotho. The rain was still threatening and there were some showers overnight.
Kwagga was trying to find a new radiator cap
for what ultimately proved to be a leaking gasket while Frenchy attempted some
trout fishing without success.
More famous for the beauty of its landscape than for its wildlife
|Amazing how well they blend into their surroundings. We had to look very closely to spot all 10 of them|
Day 4 (Underberg/Sani/Mokotlong), Day 5 (Matabenge Pass/