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  • Lesotho trip report 2014

    Thought to just post some details on our trip just completed.

    From Jhb to Fouriesburg for a few days at Meiringskloof, what a great place to stay, lovely walks, beautiful kloof, but bloody cold.

    So entered Lesotho at Caledonspoort (Fouriesburg) and they only wanted to see the passports, nothing else, not the fire extinguisher, or extra triangles, or ZA stickers, or nothing. Paid the R60 toll fees to enter. First bit of Lesotho is very busy, through the towns, through Buthe Butha and down to Leribe/Hlotso. So slow driving and very busy. Sandstone mountains and peaks, quite pretty. I was greatful for the garmin gps with T4A, as I could navigate a bit, the Land Rover GPS is useless, and given the poor signage on the road, and difficulty navigating with a map (which is hard work if you work out distances etc) I think we would have gotten lost without the GPS, knowing where to turn off at Leribe. But all went well, things got quieter as we moved on towards the Highlands mountains in the distance. This whole piece of road from border to Katse is tar, and although not cambered, it is a good road with only a few potholes. The pass up to the top is spectacular and the top at 3090 metres. Then the stretch to the north of the dam shorter than expected, nice scenery. The 50km from the north of the dam to the wall took just over an hour, given the scenery and twisty roads, and goats, sheep and mules. Total trip from border to wall was maybe 4 and a half hours (169km)

    At Katse village stayed in the self catering houses which was just fine, walked about from there and did the dam wall tour, at the price of R10 per adult and R5 per child it is a steal. Lost my newish iPhone there in the botanical gardens, so very upset about that, but otherwise things were great. We were surprised by the nice weather, it was nice and warm the days and nights of 29 and 30 April 2014.

    Left at 7:30 am on 1 May towards Thaba Tsheka and Sani, I read here on the forum that the first leg to Thaba Tsheka is a 3 hour affair, but the road was actually pretty good, you could see recently scraped up and leveled and other areas still have the gravel dumps on the side of the road for further upgrading, so the 57km took us an hour and a half to Thaba Tsheka. Then it is about 100km to Mothlokong. The first 50km was also good, similar to the stretch between Katse and TT, you could average your 40 -50km per hour, comfortably. But then a few km after the big bridge the Chinese are building the more difficult road conditions started, and the second 50km took us around 4 hours, did most of that in low range and higher suspension, just to make it easier on the car, not really necessary, although there are a few difficult sections.

    Then from the mission where the St James guest house is the Chinese road making is in full force, and that 50km stretch from there to Sani was a fairly comfortable wide and reasonably flat gravel road, that is a bit too bumpy to drive fast one, but you can average again 40-50km/h comfortably up to Sani Lodge.

    From Sani down was smooth, and I took some of the back roads, dirt roads north against the Drakensberg but eventually took the tar road to Nottingham road.

    One of the things that worried me about the trip was fuel. There is lots of advice on the forum of taking extra fuel etc. Using the fuel search option on the garmin, it seems there is significant opportunities for buying fuel, albeit basically none and conventional service stations. Particularly at Thaba Tsheka I was in two minds whether I should refill, but was worried about maybe the diesel quality would not be good, maybe water in the diesel, should I risk contaminating my existing diesel or risk running out of diesel. At the end it was very comfortable, after all, from Caledonspoort to Sani is only 380km and the Disco 4, not known for its fuel economy, took me easily even further and I refueled in the Midlands KZN at Nottingham road, with still 120km available per the computer. So it seems I needn't have worried. Only did about 50km in low range, and in total averaged per the computer 12.5 l/100km which is only a little bit more than normal town driving.

    All in all went very well, and enjoyed it, will do it again.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Lesotho trip report 2014 started by Mikehe View original post