03-15-2006, 02:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Day 3 and I'm out of bed and on the road at 6am. Why? Same reason I did this whole trip on Anakees and left the TKC and Karoo at home. From the dam starts a tar road about 150km long with appr 600 turns. I am stoked and have been looking forward to this for a long time.
And again I learn, like so many times before, that it is a mistake to expect too much. The damn rainy season had covered most of the road in a loose sandy layer. The result being that traffic had cleared a 'racing' line.
OK, to be fair this was the worst of it. Even so, the second you saw oncoming traffic and had to get off the racing line, you were toast. So, I felt uneasy and unsafe on the bike and it responded by treating me like likewise. I did notice though that it was a nice grippy tar and that the roadmarkings were non slip.
I'm gonna have to come back in winter time. Still it was good and crisp out and I got some dam photos.
After the ride we enjoyed a crap breakfast, courtesy of the only accomodation available, so can't really complain.
The excellent scenery on the way back to Thaba Tseka made up for it though.
From Thaba Tseka towards Mohale Dam we cross spectacular ..... never mind, go check it out yourself, I'm not able to convey.
Did see something interesting though; a group of policemen on foot with shotguns and so forth herding some cattle. Now I know that on the border with South Africa there are ongoing cattle raids conducted by both sides, retrieving stolen cattle and collecting some extra, often accompanied by the killing of one or two owners/minders. This was in the centre of Lesotho though. Looks like it's not confined to the borders.
Anyway, like I said, it is green.
We stop in at Makabei lodge for a breakfast beer and the place looks abandoned. Don't know if it is changing owners or whatever but dont plan to stay over.
We reach the tar again at Mohale Dam and drop into Mohale lodge for a brunch beer and I am flabbergasted. It is huge.They must have a thousand rooms. It is like blocks of flats sitting on the veld. Only thing is Me and Nardus appear to be the only guests. No other vehicles. We go in and are shown through (wonderfully helpful staff) to the formal restaurant. One of those with curtains and wine lists and waiters with bow ties. We say no thank you, you must have misstaken us for people with class.
Some ways down an excellent pass we find something more suitable.
The view so effectively barred by pillars etc above actually looks like this.
We leave in high spirits and then........
I'd like to say 'nuff said', but I can't. It was wild, fantastic, smoke rubber tar brakes unity. I am a crappy road rider, but man this pass made me a god. I was smokin. I would already be half leaned over in a turn, then gear down to second with the rear tyre squeeling like a pig, then knock it down another gear and hear that Anakee shout my name.
My tyres was still at 1.3 and 1.6 bar as I was too lazy to inflate it after coming off the gravel. There was grip everywhere, and because of the extreme drop in altitude you could pretty much see your future.
This pass is magnificent, it has all kinds of turns you can desire. All 1-3rd gear stuff. It sure as hell made up for the morning ride at Katse.
The kicker: the first settlement you come after having survived God Help Me Pass, is called...... Nazareth.
We pass through Roma and hit the dirt again on the way to Malealea Lodge. On the way we pass some rural scenes.
I also notice that in this low lying, more populous region, people seem to have less pride in their surrounds. Up North around Mokhotklong, on the other hand, you will often see this kind of thing.
Someone obviously enjoy staying there.
In Roma on the other hand it's no big deal to erect a dwelling in an obvious flood area.
When the GPS say that we are 6km from the lodge we start down this pass.
For the following 35km we stay within 3 - 6km from the lodge. I have a rule of thumb applicable in Lesotho; double the distance on the map, then add half and youll be close to the real distance.
As we get to the lodge it turns out to be quite the happening spot. Loads of people and I'm still busy untying my luggage and I am accosted by a German blonde by the name of Julia who rides a SRX600 when she's home.
Some murals at the lodge.
The end of day three is spent in the peace of female company. (conversation, that is)