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  1. #1
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    Default Lesotho Easted Weekend Trip Report

    The plan was a camping weekend in Lesotho this Easter Weekend but at the end we didnít do much camping, but a lot of driving and exploring this beautiful country!
    Day 1
    We left Centurion Friday Morning at 4am; we decided to take the back road and not the N3 due to possible Easter weekend traffic to Durban. We arrived and met Willie with his Mahindra Thar, fully equipped for the weekend at Underberg and filled up.
    The road to Sani was short and Sani almost came to quick. At this point I must point out, it was both my and the Thar's first Sani trip! The Sani has being on my bucket list for a long time and we were not disappointed!
    I want to point it out, Sani pass is not the most extreme or challenging I have driven, so if you looking for something wild.... rather look somewhere els, but if you looking to explore and experience a truly beautiful and awesome strip, the Sani wont let you down! Staring below one can see the zigzagís going up the mounting and the experience was great!
    We only managed one stop in the pass as it was fairly busy, but our next stop, after getting our passports stamped was obviously having a drink in the highest pub!
    After having a quick drink(s) we decided to take the road to St James "Lodge" - the drive to the lodge is not short, spoiled by the Chinese road works turning the world around and busy building or destroying the current road which might turn into a tar road fairly soon.
    Luckily we arrived at St James just before dark - just a note - if you planning to drive for the first time anywhere in Lesotho, make sure you have the GPS-coordinates as their directions and sign posts cannot be trusted!
    St James was great, very basic and cheap but we had a great stay, unfortunately we missed the hot water window.
    Day 2
    We drove to Mokhotlong to some reserves, this was the biggest town/village for a long time we saw.
    From there we headed towards Tlokoeng where we turned towards Katse Dam, the first 20 odd km was good, dirt road but good.... thereafter the honey moon ended and we started with 4 low, but this was truly and awesome road towards Katse.... It took us around 6 hours to complete 80km of road.... very rocky made the going very slow but again, awesome part of our trip.
    As it was raining when we got to Katse dam we got a Guest House through Orion hotels for R700 to sleep.
    Day 3
    Again early we took the scenic road next to Katse dam, dirt/muddy road on the edge of the dam. This is the only way to truly experience Katse, we made breakfast at the edge of the water.
    From there we drove via Koa Mines, which are also in the process of really making a reall mess of that part of the country but the road for the day was easy, did use 4H every now and then as the road had really wet and slippery patches, but the scenery on this road towards the A1 was the best I've ever seeing or experienced, this took us to the highest pass 3270m above sea level.
    We decided to stay the night at the Liphofung caves as its dirt cheap and must easier to camp.
    Day 4
    Yesterday morning we crossed the border and drove home.
    This was truly one of the best trips I've ever had! The roads was not that bad, even with the standard Pajero and standard Thar we completed the trip with no issues.
    I've being to Lesotho before but not exploring the country in so much detail, I can really recommend doing such a trip, the people are really friendly and always willing to help. The kids in the villages just broke our hearts, everywhere as you approach villages small kids from 2 years up storm the roads, run from up the mountains with faces as if we were Santa bring Christmas gifts, screaming...... Some Sweets Please ....... obviously tourists is handing out sweets and the kids learn to beg from a very early age, which is so wrong but just wish we could rather give them clothes or something they could use.... maybe one day I will return with such a plan
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    Last edited by Navigator; 2013/04/02 at 07:53 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Hi Cobus, great report and stunning pics!

    1) What where the daytime temperatures like?
    2) Is there camping facilities at Katse Dam?
    3) What other places did you have in mind for camping?

    My original idea was to sleep first night somewhere near Clarens/Fourieburg, then enter via Caledonspoort and exit Sani the same day ( we have to be in the Western Cape by Friday night ). Now I am thinking that the opportunity to experience Katse should not be passed up lightly, but that will mean one night camping in Lesotho.

    PS, Can you get to the Katse dam viepoints on your own or is it a guided tour?
    Last edited by PeetS; 2013/04/02 at 06:26 PM.
    Peet Schultz

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeetS View Post
    Hi Cobus, great report and stunning pics!

    1) What where the daytime temperatures like?
    2) Is there camping facilities at Katse Dam?
    3) What other places did you have in mind for camping?

    My original idea was to sleep first night somewhere near Clarens/Fourieburg, then enter via Caledonspoort and exit Sani the same day ( we have to be in the Western Cape by Friday night ). Now I am thinking that the opportunity to experience Katse should not be passed up lightly, but that will mean one night camping in Lesotho.

    PS, Can you get to the Katse dam viepoints on your own or is it a guided tour?
    Hi Peet
    Up Sani was really cold and the moment you go over 2500m it also get a bit chilly but not really that cold, all our stop over points was cooler than in SA but not cold, my wife would obviously argue this point..
    Yes there is camping at Katse dam, I need to get the info as its in my tour file at home, but Lesotho is easy - many people camp in the middle of nowhere but you then need to get the local Chief's permission and pay him for the night - we saw a guy camping on the side of Katse Dam - next time I will do the same. We found a great spot where we had breakfast the Sunday morning to sleep over.

    If you enter at Caledonspoort I would recommend you do the same route as what we did to Katse dam, its a awesome route and not technical at all - without mud even a 4x2 would be able to do this if you know your vehicle.
    Katse dam is great, but I enjoyed the route more than Katse, I will scan my map and post it on the forum for you to see.

  5. #4
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    Cobus, We did almost the same route but in reverse. We came into Lesotho at Caledonspoort on the 26th March, travelled to liphofung caves on the A1 towards Afriski. We then back tracked to Butha Buthe and then turned off at Hlotse and over the pass to Leribe and on to the Katse dam where we stayed over at the old information site positioned directly opposite the Dam wall. The accomodation is free and this was confirmed from the new offices with the blue roof located close by. The following day we left via Taba Tseka to st James where we overnighted. We also had a cold shower, but then I was cold showering for the whole week whilst we were in Lesotho and then in KZN at the Splashy Fen music festival. The following day we travelled to Sani and then to Underberg where we stayed for a further 4 days. Our route home was Underberg to Himeville and then on the dirt road to Nottingham road. Over the whole trip we experienced a lot of rain, and really bad roads in Lesotho from Katse to Sani, but it was all worth it. Pleased you also enjoyed your trip
    Edwin
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeetS View Post
    My original idea was to sleep first night somewhere near Clarens/Fourieburg, then enter via Caledonspoort and exit Sani the same day
    I would personally not sleep at Clarens/Fouriesburg or anywhere in SA during your first night, its to close to Centurion, I would rather recommend you stay at the caves, its very cheap or even deeper into Lesotho.
    Its a long drive from the border at Caledonspoort via Katse dam to Sani. I dont see myself driving from SA, Katse, Sani in one day as the road to Katse is fairly long - even the direct road and then also the road from Katse to Sani will also take around 3 hours if you dont race.
    Maybe you can push from Centurion closer to Katse and then from Katse to Sani should be ok.
    Remember my trip from Katse to the Caves took me from 8 am to around 15h00 the same day.
    Peet, otherwise you are more than welcome to phone me on zero 8 two 4123 five five two

  7. #6
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    Thanks for a nice write up Cobus!
    That guy carries his sticks up and down Sani everyday! I've got so many pics of him! He must be the most photographed Basotho!!

    The pic of you guys crossing the bridge on the way to Kao mine is just past the hall that Freddie and them stay in on their mission trips. You should join him on a trip, you'll LOVE it!
    Good write up! Thanks again.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Robb View Post
    Thanks for a nice write up Cobus!
    That guy carries his sticks up and down Sani everyday! I've got so many pics of him! He must be the most photographed Basotho!!

    The pic of you guys crossing the bridge on the way to Kao mine is just past the hall that Freddie and them stay in on their mission trips. You should join him on a trip, you'll LOVE it!
    Good write up! Thanks again.
    Thanks Dave,
    We really enjoyed Lesotho and will return, if all goes well we might join one on the mission trips soon!

  9. #8
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    Thanks for a brilliant article Cobus. Would love to plan something similar soon
    Can't wait to see the map of your route. Do you have GPS co-ordinates of some of the spots you were at? Perhaps include these (if you know them) with your map scan?

    Always love to see what others are doing - makes my butt itch to get out there more

    Brenden

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendenh View Post
    Thanks for a brilliant article Cobus. Would love to plan something similar soon
    Can't wait to see the map of your route. Do you have GPS co-ordinates of some of the spots you were at? Perhaps include these (if you know them) with your map scan?

    Always love to see what others are doing - makes my butt itch to get out there more

    Brenden
    In the words of Kingsley Holgate, "Just turn the key and go!"

  11. #10
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    Here is a very innovative website that I found compliments of another fred on the community:

    This should intensify any itch to the point of departure:

    http://visitlesotho.travel/travel/routemap.aspx
    Last edited by PeetS; 2013/04/03 at 07:04 PM. Reason: typo
    Peet Schultz

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeetS View Post
    Here is a very innovative website that I found compliments of another fred on the community:

    This should intensify any itch to the point of departure:

    http://visitlesotho.travel/travel/routemap.aspx
    True, but I did the blue line on Sunday and it was not close to a extreme 4x4 route.
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    Have a look at these two links, I have used these maps with my GPS points

    http://molumonglodge.com/download/di...MolumongSM.jpg
    Did the 6-7hour route from Tlonkoeng via Malingoaneng on Saturday and then the 4-5 hour route on Sunday - as per this map

    This is also a very usefull map:
    http://molumonglodge.com/download/map_of_lesothosm.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Navigator View Post
    True, but I did the blue line on Sunday and it was not close to a extreme 4x4 route.
    Correct, this was extreme between the mine and the A1 before the mine worked on it late 2010. These days it is done easily by 4X2, though rain and snow conditions might add other variables.

    This route via Ha Lejone now provides a shorter driving time Mokhotlong to Katse (about 4 hours) compared to the route via Thaba Tseka.

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    I also visited Lesotho and the Drakensberg area this Easter. It was a first trip for me in the new Disco4 after having toured the last 8 years with my trusty Pajero.

    Our route was:
    Saturday - Centurion to Royal Natal Mahai Camp Site.
    Sunday - Chill and do some short walks with the kids
    Monday - Mahai to Injisuthi camp(One of my favourate Berg camps)
    Tuesday - Injisuthi to Highmoor camp where we had a mother of a rain storm that night.
    Wednesday - Highmoore to Sani Mountain lodge. This was my first trip up Sani being on my list for a long time and the Disco4 really impressed towing the Xplorer up there in the very wet conditions.
    Thursday - Left Sani latish and drove past St James on hte way to Thaba Tseka to try and get as close to Katse as possible. We had to bushcamp at a nice spot next to the road on a level part away from the closest settlement as I saw that we were not gonna make Katse. Tried to ask for permission with some passers by but they reckoned that we can camp there without hassles.
    Friday - drove the rest of the way via Thaba Tseka to Katse. Must say I was a bit gatvol of rocky gravel roads on the last 1/2 hour of that trip but the scenery definately made up for it. Camped at the Katse old information site for free but for the first time felt bit 'unsafe' in Lesotho with the security guards there telling us where to camp and 'looking after us' that night. I dont like being looked after
    Did the tour the next morning at the dam and then left on the tar road for Butha Buthe and out at Caledonspoort border and stayed at Golden Gate for two days.

    Weather was very wet during our stay with rain at least once every day. Was wonderfull to visit Lesotho in summer as my previous visits was all in winter.

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    Cats, we passed you on Thursday on yur way from Sani to St James. I was in the Defender with the Aluminium canopy and RTT.
    Edwin
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  17. #16
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    Hi Navigator

    Was this the route you took from Mokhotlong to Khatse?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defender TAZ View Post
    Cats, we passed you on Thursday on yur way from Sani to St James. I was in the Defender with the Aluminium canopy and RTT.
    Yip - I remember the Landy and thought it was you. We should have stopped and had a good hello! O well - Next time

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  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Difflock DW View Post
    Hi Navigator

    Was this the route you took from Mokhotlong to Khatse?
    Yip, but we came out at Katse, will see if I can find the GPS points where we came out - I recall it was a tar T-Stop - which is higher than your point

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Navigator View Post
    Yip, but we came out at Katse, will see if I can find the GPS points where we came out - I recall it was a tar T-Stop - which is higher than your point
    Thanks and please im going the end of June and need some detail.

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Difflock DW View Post
    Thanks and please im going the end of June and need some detail.
    I'm also planning a trip in June, but one needs to be very carefull for it snows alot it will be very difficult to see the road,

    Have a look at the attached map, I exit at the A8 close to Katse
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