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  1. #1
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    Default 6 day Lesotho Trip Advice - Easter 2011

    Hi,

    We are planning on doing a Lesotho Trip from Saturday 23 April 2011, to Friday 29th April.

    We will be leaving from Durban on the Saturday, and returning to Durban on the Friday. There will be four of us in 2 vehicles (A Discovery 3 and Suzuki Jimny).

    Any advice would be appreciated:

    1) Do they accept Rands in Lesotho, or only Maloti?
    2) Is there cell phone reception?
    3) Is petrol (unleaded) a problem? Where can we fill up (I'll post our proposed route below).
    4) Is it safe to do this trip in only the two vehicles above?
    5) Will we need recovery equipment? (Here's hoping the Jimny doesn't have to recover the Disco )

    Our proposed route (and subject to change depending on responses on this forum) is:

    - Saturday 23rd: Spend the night at bottom of Sani Pass.
    - Sunday 24th: Drive up Sani pass, have lunch at the pub at the top, then drive to Mokhotlong and spend the night there. Is there any interesting attractions along the way?
    - Monday 25th: Drive from Mokhotlong to Katse Dam, and spend the night there at Orion Katse Lodge.
    - Tuesday 26th: Drive from Katse Dam to Maseru area, and stay somewhere there. Any suggestions for accomodation?
    - Wednesday 27th: Drive to Oxbow, and spend the night there. Any suggestions for accomodation?
    - Thursday 28th: Drive to Clarens/Golden Gate and spend our last night there.
    - Friday 29th: Head back home to Durban.

    Are there any better suggestions than our route above, and what attractions are there along the way?

    Any other advice/tips also welcome!

    Thanks,

    David
    Last edited by dleerob; 2011/03/13 at 02:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi David
    1. Yes they accept rands
    2. The best is to stop at the PEP in Mokhotlong and buy a Lesotho SIM card (if you really need a cell phone) I wouldn't bother, honestly.
    3. There are fuel stations but whether or not they have fuel is another story.
    4. Yes, it's safe.
    5. Just the general recovery equipment. Be wise!!

    Your route:
    If you leave Durbs you could easily spend the 1st night at Mokhotlong or at the backpackers at St James.
    You could stop at Mokhotlong and buy what you need and then go back to St James. It's very nice.
    There is a chapel there with a beautifully painted roof that is worthwhile seeing.
    Leave early from St James to get to Katse late! Its a long drive.
    Do the dam tour at Katse.
    Then from Katse, I would go to Oxbow via Kao. I've never done it but locals in the area have told me that it is easily doable.
    If you can't get through, backtrack and spend the evening at Rampai.
    From Oxbow you can drive to Maseru, but I would rather turn North at Butha Buthe and go to Clarens and Golden Gate.

    Just a tip. Take you till slips for all your food with, otherwise thay may want you to pay the VAT.

    Regards
    Dave

  3. #3
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    I agree with Dave Robb although your route seems to include some "backtracking".

    As an alternative, look at the possibility of the following:

    1. Up Sani to Mokhotlong and overnight at either St.James or Molumong Lodge
    2. Continue towards Maseru second day, if the going is slow, there are accomodation options in the Roma area or alternatively Maseru itself
    3. From Maseru head north and then down to the dam
    4. From the dam down to Thaba Tseke (you will have been here on the way to Maseru), then Thaba, back towards Mohghotlong
    5. From Mokghotlong north again to Caledonspoort via Oxbow

    This takes you an an "S" type route and limits the backtracking to the Thaba Mokghotlong section. It also allows you some options should you have any delays and need to head back down via Sani.

    With an early start from St.James/Molumong, you could push through to the dam in one day as per the suggested route but allow for delays either for conditions/stops to view various interests. The dam to Thaba to Mokhotlong could be one day and then another day to Caledonspoort via Oxbow

    Allways allow for the possibility of delays due to weather and surface conditions. The averge speed can be 25kmph in some areas although from Thaba to Maseru to Tet and the dam can be quicker. You do have the six days and this should be ample for what you want to achieve. Molumong offers horse treks from the lodge, either a half, full or longer treks. I would recommend these as a good way of seeing another side of Lesotho so with the days that you have, there are options open to you that may consume a bit of time. If you dont do all that you want to do, there is always the next time The South East and Eastern side of Lesotho, i.m.o are the most spectacular so if push comes to shove, you can always do Maseru Roma Semonkong areas on another trip
    Last edited by Estee; 2011/03/14 at 09:13 AM.
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

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  4. #4
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    Hi David,

    2. If you have roaming on your phone it will be fine, try to get two radios as it will help with the communication between the two vechicles.
    3. Unleaded is a currently a problem in Lesotho and we have been to a few without any, just ask the locals where is before going a long distance. Fill up at Mokhotlong as they have and it is a long way to Katse (time wise)
    4. Vehicles should be fine as we have a 4X2 Navara and a X-Trail and did not have any major problems.
    5. Normal recovery e.g. Tow rope, shuckles, compressor..

    The road from Mokhotlong to Katse via Thaba, the bridge over Senqu has been washed away and we could not pass as the river was flowing strong, try to map a different route if the bridge was not repaired yet. Try to get Tracks4Africa (Garmin) as it has all the smaller roads mapped which are not on the normal maps which can get usefull.

    Ask the locals (and other travellers) on the road conditions and everything should be fine. Enjoy it!

  5. #5
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    Hi guys,
    Iam planning a trip to lesotho at the end of july after visiting the Golden Gate can a normall caravan be used and what are the campsites like,to enter from the nearest border post to Golden Gate.
    Thanks Rudy30

  6. #6
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    Was the passed weekend in Lesotho here is some advice

    1) Do they accept Rands in Lesotho, or only Maloti? Yes
    2) Is there cell phone reception? Get rooming as Vodacom is there
    3) Is petrol (unleaded) a problem? Where can we fill up (I'll post our proposed route below). No fuel al Sani top. Fill up anywhere you get fuel.
    4) Is it safe to do this trip in only the two vehicles above? Yes and now. just don't give any locals anything because then everyone will be by your car. They know Give me sweeeeeeeets and Give me money!
    5) Will we need recovery equipment? (Here's hoping the Jimny doesn't have to recover the Disco ) Yes just have a 4 TON rope and a Hi lift jack. just incase.


    Monday 25th: Drive from Mokhotlong to Katse Dam, and spend the night there at Orion Katse Lodge.

    Ok SANI to Mokhotlong will take you not more than 3 hours. Take a lot of ICE as they wanted to give us Ice cream the whole time as they don't even know what ICE is.
    - Tuesday 26th: Drive from Katse Dam to Maseru area, and stay somewhere there. Any suggestions for accomodation?

    The road is closed to at Thabe tseka stay on the main road believe me. Do not take the old Katse dam road. We took 16 hours to do is.
    - Wednesday 27th: Drive to Oxbow, and spend the night there. Any suggestions for accomodation? Quick drive just drive slow down Katse brake pads warms up very fast. Top Gear will love the road
    - Thursday 28th: Drive to Clarens/Golden Gate and spend our last night there.
    - Friday 29th: Head back home to Durban.

    Remember alot of water food for during the day as there is not a lot of nice shops. So buy all you things before entering. And make sure your GPS is up to date.

  7. #7
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    Default advice on my trip

    I am driving through Lesotho in April, going through Fouriesburg border post, to Katse Dam, do the wall tour and camp for the night. I will then drive to Semonkong. Staying two nights, will spend the whole of the next day exploring the area. The following day I want to drive from Semonkong through Qacha’s Nek Border post into the Eastern Cape. Want to find out the following, as I cannot seem to get the info.

    • From Katse Dam is it possible to drive to Thaba-Tseka, on my map shows it is a 4x2 gravel road, and then to Masero to Semonkong? It looks shorter way to drive.
    • Then is it easy to drive from Semonkong to Qacha’s Nek border then into Eastern Cape in a day, relaxed driving? Anyone know how long this would take in hours?
    Thnaks, dont wnat to stick to normal tar roads , want to take the more interesting route
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  8. #8
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    Thanks Dave Robb, Estee, kobusvd and Wern84.
    Your replies have been most helpful. We'll be reading each and taking all into consideration.

    I have another question which perhaps you can help with. Last time I went to Sani Top, I did not need vehicle papers to cross the border posts. However, someone told me recently that we need our vehicle papers and a 'ZA' sticker for our vehicle when going to Lesotho. I'm not sure if this is true? Can anyone confirm?

  9. #9
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    Hi dleerob,
    No you don't need any vehicle papers, nor a ZA sticker. Make sure that your licence disc is up to date though.
    At Sani Top there is now a Toll. R30 for vehicles with Tare under 2000kgs and R60 for over 2000kgs

    Regards
    Dave

  10. #10
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    Awesome, thanks. Didn't think so, but better safe than sorry.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dleerob View Post
    Thanks Dave Robb, Estee, kobusvd and Wern84.
    Your replies have been most helpful. We'll be reading each and taking all into consideration.

    I have another question which perhaps you can help with. Last time I went to Sani Top, I did not need vehicle papers to cross the border posts. However, someone told me recently that we need our vehicle papers and a 'ZA' sticker for our vehicle when going to Lesotho. I'm not sure if this is true? Can anyone confirm?
    Technically it is required to have vehicle papers and ZA sticker, and they can ask you for it if they want to be difficult.
    http://www.aa.co.za/live/click.php?u...2B523&v=b6b865

    But, I've been to Lesotho a couple of times now in the past 2 years and was never asked for it. They've never even checked my vehicle. The border crossing at Sani is especially relaxed.
    I've never taken vehicle papers with to Lesotho. You should be fine without it.
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  12. #12
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    Default Different route

    Hi Everybody
    I plan to go into Lesotho as well easter weekend but want to go in at Sani then to Mokholtlong, then on to Taung to get to the Matabeng Pass, I want to go out at either Ramatsileso Gate or Qacha Neck. What i want to know is can i camp anywhere next to the road or is there campsites that i should pre book. Is this route possible in three days? and lastly if i have to boomdoes anybody have contact numbers?
    Thanks

  13. #13
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    Only 3 more days till we leave for Lesotho...can't wait
    Been taking the advice from above - thanks everyone!

    Got my vehicle papers and insurance letter sorted as well, just to be safe. Just need to get the ZA sticker, also just to be safe. Just got a warning from a friend that apparently they often do roadblocks and spot checks. You also need 2 emergency triangles (that's standard in Mozambique as well), so luckily I already have that.

    I have another question if someone is able to advise: should I take a lot of cash along, or will they generally have credit card facilities and/or ATM's available. Especially around Mokhotlong, Katse and Oxbow, as those are the places we'll be staying.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dleerob View Post
    Thanks Dave Robb, Estee, kobusvd and Wern84.
    Your replies have been most helpful. We'll be reading each and taking all into consideration.

    I have another question which perhaps you can help with. Last time I went to Sani Top, I did not need vehicle papers to cross the border posts. However, someone told me recently that we need our vehicle papers and a 'ZA' sticker for our vehicle when going to Lesotho. I'm not sure if this is true? Can anyone confirm?
    I have been asked once only for the papers or the letter from the owner for permission to take the vehicle across the border but if I hadnt had them on me, they could have stopped me from going in.

    The ZA sticker and two red triangles are on and in my vehicle anyway and havent been asked but I think there was another post where someone was either fined for not having them when changing a wheel.
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dleerob View Post
    I have another question if someone is able to advise: should I take a lot of cash along, or will they generally have credit card facilities and/or ATM's available. Especially around Mokhotlong, Katse and Oxbow, as those are the places we'll be staying.
    Take both but err on the side of cash
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

    Total 4x4 Novice with no experience whats-so-ever

    ''Nothing makes the Earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes''. H.D. Thoreau.

    Hummer H3 V8

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  16. #16
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    Quick report back: Our 7 day trip to Lesotho and back was awesome!

    - The Jimny and Discovery had no problems.
    - We filled up in Himeville before heading up Sani Pass, then again in Thabe Theka at a petrol garage there (which had unleaded and diesel), and then only again in South Africa once we reached Clarens.
    - We took ebough cash with us to last the entire trip and pay for accomodation everywhere.
    - We were not asked for vehicle papers anywhere.
    - We did get stopped at a police roadblock once, and they just checked our license disk and drivers license.
    - It was cold.
    - There was no snow But lots of ice
    - We loved every minute of it.

    Thanks all for the help!

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