Author Topic: Passes Aorund Outside of Lesotho  (Read 324 times)

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Offline ThinkMike

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Passes Aorund Outside of Lesotho
« on: April 10, 2017, 10:54:05 AM »
We had the time booked, so after the cancellation of the Roam National Bash, myself and 2 mates did the passes trip around the outside of Lesotho. None of us had done the complete circumnavigation before so all of us were keen to experience the South side of Lesotho with all it had to offer.

Day 1.
From JHB we headed for Clarens on dirt where possible where we had a few beers and lunch.

From Clarens, the plan was to head for Zastron where we would find accommodation for the night, while following dirt roads close to the Caledon river / Border on the way.

At one of the stops under a shady tree, I looked at my mates and could see signs of sore wrists, bums and backs - we were in for close to 700kms for the day, mostly dirt and still had around 200kms to go. I asked who would like to head on Tar for the remainder of the day – no complaints. So off we went on the black stuff.

In Zastron, MountainView had accommodation for us so all was sorted.

Alan was knackered so headed for the shower and straight to bed, while Mitch and I were pointed in the direction of a brilliant local Restaurant in town called Nell’s Restaurant - 078 944 7354 . Owner run it was really a Gem.

After the best T-bone I have had and a few beers and the compulsory few C&Cs, we found Mitch’s front tyre was flat. Pumped it up at a garage a block away and whipped back to Mountain view – to worry about it in the morning before we left for the real start of the trip.
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Offline ThinkMike

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Re: Passes Aorund Outside of Lesotho
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2017, 12:06:13 PM »
Day 2
I was up before Sunrise, made some coffee for the guys and watched the sun gradually warm the mountain with a golden ooze. 

Enough mountain gazing and coffee, time to fix the flat and head out.

Smoke break and time to check out the view and check Mitches front Tyre. Still pumped – all good.

We climbed on the bikes and setoff. After the first bed, I saw no headlights so stopped for a bit, switched off the bike and no sound of following bikes. Turned back and found Mitch with a flat front again.

Another puncture ggrrr. Found the culprit and then checked the tyre properly and found loads of small Sekelbos thorns from Mitches farm, so spent a long time ensuring that every little thorn was removed (these Sekelbos thorns lie in wait in the tyre and pounce to show you who is boss). Fixed the puncture

……..and then Murphy’s law – we pinched the tube so same process again. Last time we had a problem.

But by now it was close to 11am and Mitch was over heating so it was time to ride down to the Caledon, find a shady spot and go for a dip.


Chris from MountainView told us about Dangershoek pass which was not on our radar, so we added it in and came across this church on route.

This is a one way in and same way out close to 30kms round trip but SOOOooo worth it.

After that we were back on track and headed up Laudin’s Nek

Then we headed for Tiffindel up Volunteers pass. I am not sure what condition this is normally in, but it was a bit weathered with irritating round boulder rocks and washouts from the recent rains. With Alan getting stuck a few times and toppling over and battling for traction to get going again, he was getting exhausted.

We had been on this section for about an hour and a half and Alan had no energy left and was getting ready to sleep on the mountain which would not be as comfy as a feather bed so I feed him a sarmie (he hadn’t eaten since breakfast) made him rest in the shade for 30 minutes and I went off up the mountain for a quick recce.

It turns out we were past the worst and a about a KM up the mountain a Found a sign confirming it, so I had some good news for Alan. I kept going for a couple of Kms to make sure, but yes all was good. Took these on the way back down.

Just as I was close to where I left Alan and Mitch, there came Alan up the pass, so I waved him on and gave him the thumbs up.

What a view at the top. And then it was flowing track and road all the way to Tiffendell.

When we arrived at Tiffendell the pub was buzzing with a large group from the 4x4 club of SA. After a while the Pub emptied as the 4x4 club left to go and braai, leaving us to enjoy a good meal and a few beers.

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Offline ThinkMike

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Re: Passes Aorund Outside of Lesotho
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 08:58:32 AM »
Day 3

We woke to this view.

I had intended us to go to the top of the Ben MacDui pass (above Tiffendel – extension of the Ski ramp maint road to the top of the mountain) which I believe is now the Highest pass in SA at 3,000 m, but we had lost ½ a day yesterday and also didn’t want to start the day off with any bike drops and start the day off tired.

After filling up with coffee, we left Tiffendell to go down Carlislehoek pass, down to Rhodes to find some Petrol for Alan. His DR had been standing since our previous trip months ago and his Carb was not lekker – sucking too much fuel and his bike would just not idle.

At Tiffedell, you are at around 2750 m Altitude and drop 1,100 m in 20kms to Rhodes. It’s a slightly steep in places but has cement strips where needed so your average Joe can get to Tiffendell in their 1200cc cage.

As we came into Rhodes from the East, we followed the road left past the police station and started looking for fuel. No sign as we zig-zagged through the streets and finally stopped a policeman walking up the road. As we entered Rhodes from the East, had we kept straight, the 2nd house on the right – there is a guy (and I have lost his card) who sells fuel from containers.

With Alan sorted for fuel we would make it to Mount Fletcher for the next fuel stop, so we headed for Naude’s Nek.

Then a Quick Stop at Pitseng Pass to have our takeaway breakfast from Tiffendel and have a look at the Pitseng Rocks.

Next stop Mount Fletcher along the Dr08018. From there we headed to Himeville to find somewhere to sleep. Still trying to make up time from yesterday, skipped Ongeluk’s Nek and Qacha’s Nek. With all the rain it was just as well as we met 2 guys, one with a broken foot – said condition was terrible with massive rock boulders left where once was the dirt, now washed away.

We stopped at the Himeville Arms for a beer and met up with a bunch of riders. They were to split the group to take one of their party back home who had also broken a foot in the bad conditions.

Had a few beers with these guys and got accommodation at the Backpackers and a had good meal before heading to bed

Day 4
Met up with more bikers in the Morning and after coffee, loaded the bikes and off we went.

We headed north from Himeville on the P27-2. This road was in great condition, good grip and some banking formula for loads of fun.

Quick stop at a shabeen for supplies and off we headed towards Mike’s Pass.


Unfortunately, Mike’s pass was closed due to severe damage from the rains. We went off to Didima Lodge to speak to management to try get them to let us go up the pass, but they said it was so bad it was off limits even to their staff.

Oh Well they had ice cold beer and good food.

We continued along the berg stopped at Little Switzerland for a beer. Landed up staying there for the night.

Day 5

Up early at first light to watch the day arrive, before we headed back to JHB.

Quick stop to have a look at Sterkfontein Dam and then as much dirt as we could do

Really great trip!!

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Offline meurig

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Re: Passes Aorund Outside of Lesotho
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 10:41:50 AM »
What a trip!

Love that "You've done the worst, 15km to go"

Offline timex

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Re: Passes Aorund Outside of Lesotho
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2017, 04:27:10 PM »

... :thumbsup:   :wink:...lekker saam gery dankie ThinkMike... :cheesy:
...the less people you chill with...the less bullshit you deal with...