Golden Gate-AfriSki-Sani... in the snow!

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Thanked: 0

    Default Golden Gate-AfriSki-Sani... in the snow!

    I decided to make an adventure of the family trip down from Joburg to Natal for the Sani2C - the "Trail" runs from Tuesday to Thursday, so I needed to take the entire week off anyway. The plan would see us spending a night camping near Clarens, then a night at Afriski and finally a trip pass across Northern Lesotho, down the Black Mountain pass and then down Sani to the Sani Pass Hotel. All this in an X5 with my wife and two young daughters.

    Our adventure started with a night camping in Golden Gate National Park - 2 year old + 4 year old + wife and I in a 2 man tent. We arrived at noon and the rain was pounding down, but the weather report indicated that the weather in the area would clear by mid-afternoon. Thankfully, it did. Lesotho had had 2 days of snow, and overnight temperatures dropped well below freezing (we woke up to a tent covered in a layer of ice, and the car's temp indicator was still on -2 degrees at 8am on Sunday morning). We had Saturday lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday breakfast at the hotel restaurant - which is very pleasant (snug and warm, big fireplaces, good food).

    We left for Afriski after packing up the tent - the road to AfriSki has been closed the day before, but we'd contacted AfriSki and heard that a vehicle had made it through on Sunday morning. So off we went...

    The road to the border post at Caledonspoort is good, and the border post was quiet and the people friendly. After getting our passports sorted out we paid the official R30 fee and were in Lesotho. The road up to AfriSki gradually climbs and once we hit the pass we encountered our first snow. The road has some tight switchbacks and a large truck carrying steel (presumably destined for the diamond mine) had hit ice and slid off the road - fortunately the road is properly cambered and the truck slide towards the inside of the turn. It was blocking a row of approaching trucks, but we managed to navigate around it. Upon passing the truck we eased past a grader (with snow chains on it's rear wheels) - this, it seems, is what rescue mission look like (the guys at AfriSki later told us that if the graders can't manage, the mine sends "heavy equipment"!)

    The road to AfriSki didn't present any real challenges - the ice on the surface had melted by the time we went through, and the snow on the main drag from the pass on to the Afriski (and the mine) had been cleared by the mine's graders - I suspect it was actually smoother than normal.

    When we got to AfriSki I took some photos - a real winter wonderland: the mountains were covered by over a foot of snow. Photos below... and story to be continued...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Thanked: 0


    How did the rest of your trip go?

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