03-15-2006, 03:32 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
This trip is just getting better. Julia from the night before joins us.
Down South has a lot more sandstone.
We come across the Senqu river again. In South Africa it is known as the Orange River. Somewhere down there it has my numberplate.
Julia borrowed an old oversize helmet from the lodge, the yellow sticking out the back is my t-shirt which makes it fit.
We have an uneventful ride except for being hauled off to the police station and wasting about an hour because the 640's licence lapsed two days ago. For some reason they do not notice my lack of numberplate.
We say goodbye to Julia who just joined us for a couple of hundred km. I look suitably depressed.
She's a brave girl. She takes a taxi back to the lodge, and no these are not taxis like you know them in the US.
We hit a road following the Quting river. Excellent fun and very scenic.
Then the road starts climbing and clmbing. It gets colder very quickly, we reach our destination. The highest lake in Africa. Whether it is true I can't say. Actually looks more like a smallish dam to me.
It is fffreezing. It may not look it but I'm sure it's close to 0 degrees and the wind is pumping.
Here we are again presented with a choice. Less than 20 km straight on used to be a border post. According to the Lesotho people the wind blew the structures down. According to the South Arican border guards the Basotho just don't have the balls to take the extreme cold. However it may be, there is no Lesotho border post on the top of Ongeluksnek, but there is a South African Border post down below. In between is a pass that had been abandoned for some time. According to the Lodge owner at Malealea there is no way in hell that we'll get down.
The problem is that the alternative route over Quachas neck is probably 150km.
Clearly the correct option is to skip the country illegally, go down the pass even if it kills us, and take our chances with the SA border guards. By the way, Ongeluksnek roughly translates to 'bad luck neck' or 'accident neck'.
Between the lake and the pass is the most beautifull valley filled with horses, goats, sheep etc.
Coming across the neck.
In front of us, the promised land, good old SA.
We are very pleased, the pass looks like a highway from here.
About 15m further on it all turns to shit.
I can tell you stories of man handling a 200kg lump of metal down a slippery as snot
700m drop with two wheel slides
and of ruts and washaways and dropoffs and muscle cramps and more,
but I think this says it all
Man was I happy to reach that border post.
Almost as happy as the lone guard. He couldnt believe his luck. He showed us around, showed of his vehicle, posed for pictures and chatted away endlessly.
This more or less concluded our trip. For the SA okes who are probably going to attempt Ongeluksnek - use off-road bikes. Dual purpose bikes can come down it but it's hard work when it's wet. If it's wet forget about going up, it can't be done. For 4x4s, no up or down, even if it's dry.