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  1. #1
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    Default Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    I will be doing a trip with Halfway Toyota Fourways in April (23 - 27). It will be a trip through Lesotho.

    Breakdown per day more or less:
    1. Ficksburg to Semonkong Lodge
    2. Semonkong down to Senquyane River
    3. Senquyane river to Katse dam via Senquyane river valley pass
    4. Katse Dam to Tlokeng via St Martins Mission
    5. Tlokeng - Home


    Really looking forward to this trip.

    I am hoping to make a 3 Part Youtube series on this.

    Has anyone done this trip? Any special sightings to look out for?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Some more details:

    The trip is for experienced 4x4 drivers who do not mind getting their hands dirty, and use their recovery equipment for themselves or possibly for others. This is the most challenging of all our 4x4 trips, but once again it's a fantastic drive through awesome countryside.

    Vehicle suggested to have a raise and or underbody protection. ( Sump guard, Rock sliders )

    Friday 23rd April:
    08h00 - Meet at Ficksburg Communal campsite with full Tanks ( C/o Toorn/ Bloem Str, Ficksburg ) Briefing, hand out radios
    08h30 - Depart - Easy Drive to Semonkong Lodge, set up camp, Visit the Maletsenyane falls.

    Saturday 24th April:
    The 4x4 Fun begins. We tackle the mountain pass down to the Senquyane River, Be prepared for some road building.

    Sunday 25th April:
    Takes us to Katse Dam via the Senquyane River Valley Pass. It will be a full day's drive with some serious 4x4ing along the way putting man and machine to the test on numerous occasions.

    Monday 26th April:
    Takes us Via St Martins Mission to Tlokoeng. Again, it will be another 7 hour driving day with a good likelihood of road building en route over some of the more challenging areas.

    Tuesday 27th April
    Fun has to end sometime; we head back home (Option for guys to drive down Sani Pass, add on an extra day traveling)
    Last edited by Bogaards; 2021/03/11 at 01:15 PM.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by renier_c View Post
    Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy!
    Thanks! Hopefully the plays along as well... And Covid...
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    So this is the trip report. I will also add the YouTube videos (3) when I have uploaded them. Should be available from next week.

    In short - what a Epic trip this was!

    The trip was led by Ryan from Halfway Fourways. We were 5 cars in total:
    1. Ryan and Garrick (Toyota Hilux)
    2. Myself (Toyota Fortuner)
    3. Francois (Toyota Fortuner)
    4. French Couple with kids (Toyota Hilux)
    5. The Doctor (Toyota Prado)

    In preparation for the trip G4 Outdoor installed a BH plug in the back of my Fortuner. This was to connect a battery box and Fridge. On top of that I have a Flexopower unit to charge my camera batteries.

    I took a canvas (Tentco) tent as I could not justify the cost of R2000 for a popup tent (I know there are cheaper ones, but they were too small).

    Day 1:
    We left early the morning from Ficksburg to cross the border. On the SA side there were no problems and our passports were stamped after we showed our Covid test results. On the Lesotho side everything went smooth as well. We presented letters that we are entering for Charity work (as we would be handing out clothes and books during the trip). We paid the toll fee (think R40 or something like that). Funny enough the stamped the Covid tests we have presented and not the passports (they did this with everyone in the group.

    We drove up to Semonkong lodge. This part of the trip was more scenic and did not require 4x4. We pitched our camp and from there drove to the Meletsuyani falls. This was maybe one the highlights of the trip. Arriving at the falls as the sun was going down. The only pity was the conference centre they have build close to the falls. Luckily we could reach a viewpoint below the buildings.

    The evening we had a bit of rain, but luckily not a hard storm.

    Day 2 will follow tomorrow.

    I don't have much pictures, but will update the thread with the YouTube videos when they are on.

    Link to Part 1 on Youtube:
    https://youtu.be/E4at73uemaw
    Last edited by Bogaards; 2021/05/10 at 12:52 PM.
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zKr1M8N0wE&t=929s

    Day 2:
    Day 2 started at Semonkong Lodge. We had a very cold evening with ice on the tends. This would be the last stop where we would have ablutions. From here on we will have to be self sufficient.

    We deflated our tyres to 1.8 bar and this is what they will be for the remainder of the trip.

    We left around 08:30 and none of us know what to expect of the road ahead. Previous years it was not even to complete some of the bus routes due to the roads being wet.
    We left the main road just outside Semonkong and started to drive down to the Senqu river.

    Initially we made good progress and could drive in 4H. Along the road we handed out some gifts (clothes, books etc) to the local people. (Note - please don't give them sweet - this is a request from their Captains since they don't have access to any dental care).

    Finally we reached a point where we had to engage Low Range and the vehicles will remain in LR for the next 2 days. The terrain started to get more and more technical. Parts of the road washed away as well as big rocks in the road.

    One of the rocks was such that we had to pack rocks to get over it. The last 20 km or something took us about 4 hours to complete.

    We finally reached a village at the river and got their permission to camp on the banks of the river. For this we had to cross the river (luckily without any incidents) This is one of the nicest camps I have had. We made some nice braaibroodjies from the bread be bought at Semonkong (don't let out the secret...).

    The evening we spent around the fire sharing the experiences of the day.

    We were lucky that at this point there were no damage to any of the vehicles (we learned on our return that another group to the same route, only in the opposite direction and they did damage a vehicle (think the diff or sump) and lost some oil.
    Last edited by Bogaards; 2021/05/17 at 10:26 AM.
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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zKr1M8N0wE&t=929s

    Day 3:

    Senqu River camp to Thaba Tseka

    We woke up next to the Senqu river and packed up camp.

    We had some rocks to cross just to get out of camping.

    Tension was high as we were not sure what to expect. On previous trips they had to get locals to help to build a road. Will the road still be there? Or would it be washed away?

    Today was technical from the word go. Picking the correct line, packing some rocks, looking at the guide to help you through. Today was about driving up from the river, so good traction will be important.

    The road was previously build was luckily still there! Just after that we had to do some rock packing. Luckily the locals were willing to help in bringing rocks. We again handed out some books. These people are so grateful for the smallest little gift. That is why we have tried to give them something meaningful (books, stationary, clothes, food).

    It took us about 6 hours to get to the main road again.

    From there another 5 hours to get to our wild campsite close to Thaba Tseka. We reached camp around 08:00 in the evening and had to pitch camp in the dark.

    That evening everyone had something to eat quickly and then went to bed...

    Tomorrow will be the 2nd last day and turned out to be full of surprises...
    Last edited by Bogaards; 2021/05/17 at 10:27 AM.
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 4:

    Thaba Tseka Camp to Mapoko Camp

    The plan today was to drive around the Katse Dam area and the go to a campsite close to the Weir. This would involve some 4x4 tracks as well.

    We drove to the Dam wall and also drove over it. Must say it is all very impressive.

    The route (4x4) which was planned turned out to be a normal gravel road and we also had to turn around as they were blasting a section. We then drove to the planned campsite to find that it also does not exist anymore and that they are now mining sand at the specific spot.

    We therefore had to change our plans. The next option would be the Mapoka campsite close the the Letseng mine. We drove to the mine security and got the relevant approval. From there we drove down on a mild 4x4 track to the campsite. This turned out to be a very great campsite next to a river. Their used to be ablutions, but due to floods etc they were not usable and this turned out to be a wild camp as well.

    The views again was amazing. The road to the campsite also gives a bit of a 4x4 experience and has to be done in Low Range. Luckily it is not too technical and I can really recommend this camp to anyone with a 4x4 with Low Range.

    The evening was spent around the camp fire sharing our experiences of the trip with a last Maluti Lager.

    Tomorrow will be the last day of the trip.

    Video link:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsG6joBqt6w&t=2s
    Last edited by Bogaards; 2021/05/24 at 04:13 PM.
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  11. #9
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 5:

    Today will be the last day of our trip.

    In order to leave the camp we had to cross a river. Luckily it was not too difficult. We just had to pack some rocks to exit the river. The water level was luckily low.

    From there we took a 4x4 track out back to the mine. This route was a scenic track with a couple of river crossings.

    This track was actually perfect for the last day of the trip.

    Back on the main road we head towards Afriski. There was a little bit of snow, but nothing major. We quickly had a coffee at Afriski. They told us that they were expecting about 30 cm of snow in the coming days.

    From there we took the road down towards the Caledonspoort border post. Going down it is a good idea to make use of engine braking, otherwise your brakes will overheat.

    Back in the country we all head our separate ways home.

    What a trip this was and has definitely changed how I look at 4x4 trails and routes...

    Hope that everyone will enjoy the 3 part YouTube series coming out of this...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsG6joBqt6w&t=2s
    Last edited by Bogaards; 2021/05/24 at 04:14 PM.
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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 2 Updated.

    Will start uploading the YouTube videos from next week Monday. It will be a 3 part series.
    Part 1 - Ficksburg to Semonkong
    Part 2 - Semonkong to Thaba Tseka
    Part 3 - Thaba Tseka to Fouriesburg
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  14. #11
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Trailer/Intro to the YouTube Video:

    https://fb.watch/5h_dQeobA7/
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  15. #12
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 3 updated.

    Video for Day 1 will be on YouTube this coming Monday...
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 4 Updated

    Apologies for not having pics as I took mostly videos. I am sure though the videos will be worth it...
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 5 Updated and Part 1 of the Youtube series is now available.

    Links have been added where required.

    https://youtu.be/E4at73uemaw
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  19. #15
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Day 2 and 3 parts now on YouTube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zKr1M8N0wE&t=929s
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  21. #16
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Magic trip. Do you have a gpx file of the route you took?

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  23. #17
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by warrenpfo View Post
    Magic trip. Do you have a gpx file of the route you took?
    Hi Warren

    Unfortunately not, I received it as a picture file as I did not use my GPS (don't have space for it on the window and USB as I am charging cameras as well).

    I have attached the picture of the Map I worked from for the video.

    I am actually looking for a solution to make the maps nicer. Problem is that the routes does not exist in Google Maps, so I could not use it.

    Basecamp to me does look a bit basic... With the Tracks4Africa guide app you can see the road, but this is similar to what is on the website, so not sure it this is a solution.
    Attached Files Attached Files
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  24. #18
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Thank you ill try make do with what you got sent

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  26. #19
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogaards View Post
    Day 5:

    Today will be the last day of our trip.

    In order to leave the camp we had to cross a river. Luckily it was not too difficult. We just had to pack some rocks to exit the river. The water level was luckily low.

    From there we took a 4x4 track out back to the mine. This route was a scenic track with a couple of river crossings.

    This track was actually perfect for the last day of the trip.

    Back on the main road we head towards Afriski. There was a little bit of snow, but nothing major. We quickly had a coffee at Afriski. They told us that they were expecting about 30 cm of snow in the coming days.

    From there we took the road down towards the Caledonspoort border post. Going down it is a good idea to make use of engine braking, otherwise your brakes will overheat.

    Back in the country we all head our separate ways home.

    What a trip this was and has definitely changed how I look at 4x4 trails and routes...

    Hope that everyone will enjoy the 3 part YouTube series coming out of this...
    Bogaarts we did that trip the other way round like in 2017 or so but we turned around about halfway up the pass after crossing the river.

    One more thing where did you do pcr tests for coming back to south africa? Was it necessary?

    Herman

    I just love minerals!

  27. #20
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    Default Re: Lesotho Senqu 4x4 Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Topazguy View Post
    Bogaarts we did that trip the other way round like in 2017 or so but we turned around about halfway up the pass after crossing the river.

    One more thing where did you do pcr tests for coming back to south africa? Was it necessary?

    Herman
    Hi Herman

    Yes, I also think it changes over time.

    No, we did not need a new test coming back.
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