My Southern African Road Trip day 12, Monday 9 December 2013- Lesotho/Quthing to Port Shepstone


It was another dull day in Lesotho.   Lesotho did not deserve my ungratefulness, but I needed to get out.  I guess I’m too much of a city girl than I would like to admit.  The sounds of the animals were not so nice anymore.  The crowing roosters especially.  I slept quite badly.  The tavern next door to the BnB probably stopped blasting their music around 2am.  Etv had screened and interview/documentary with Madiba the night before and it made me very sad.  I did not look forward to breakfast made in a kitchen that could be smelling like boiling cabbage or rotting drain (you pick your preferred fragrance).  It had been good.  But I’d had enough.  And it was not just Lesotho.  It was the whole trip.  It had tired me out.  Pulled my soul from my body through my two little toes. I decided to cut out Durban, Mozambique and Swaziland, because I know feeling like I was, nothing good would come of going there.  They are being saved for another trip which could maybe including Zimbabwe and Botswana.  At that moment, I was thinking about making my way to Port Shepstone and then homewards down the laid back east coast of SA.  It was a comforting thought.

Riding Lesotho is riding a never ending mountain pass.    Hundreds and hundreds upon hundreds of kilometers of really really beautiful and intimidatingly scary mountain pass.  Lots of rockfalls.  Mountains held together by barely consolidated sand.  I think that road is going to be buried in landslides one day soon.  But for now, its the most incredible mountain pass I’ve ever done.  The road after Quthing starts out ok, with a few potholes here and there and the closer you get to Qacha, the more potholes and rockfalls you meet.  The road literally snakes to the very top of the mountains, and then some steep drops and SHARP turns, where the tar on the turns are very much degraded and eaten out.  At least it didn’t rain on the tar part.

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Views on my way leaving Lesotho

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Views on my way leaving Lesotho

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Views on my way leaving Lesotho

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I wish I knew the name of this mount

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rock falls, and the soft face of the mountain.

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Quthing River

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Quthing River

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The soft crumbling mountain

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this could be heaven

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Young entrepeneur. Beggars can’t be choosers. Fuel at twice the price.

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there are cows on the mountain

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Heaven

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From a distance, it looks perfect.

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The town of Qacha, where there is a border crossing into South Africa

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Qacha

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Dark clouds at the border post threatening to make this a nightmarish exit

The moment I crossed over the border at Qacha, the rain started coming down.  The gravel was NOT comfortable.  There were  30 km of it before hitting tar road in SA.  Very stony, and Lots of potholes.  I can thank my lucky stars that it was not a muddy road.  30 km is a long distance to suffer.  Back in SA, the first town I met was Matatiele in the Eastern Cape which Id never heard of before.  I thought while there is still sunlight I should ride in a direction which puts me closer to home.  And so I chose Kokstad.  

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30 km of this, only worse. Immensely potholed, the officers at the border warned me.

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The potholes welcomed me with gaping mouths

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Finally on SA tar again

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Signs of life, finally

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I knew I was home soil (I men tar). I could just feel it in my bones (and grateful bum battered by Lesotho).

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Riding through Cedarville in the Eastern Cape

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Dark clouds looming over the greens.

Kokstad is fucken ugly.  I called a few BnB’s and they all said they were booked out.  I suspect they didn’t want a coloured staying there (The evidence is in my accent).  Then I thought about Port Shepstone, which was really in the direction away from CT, but I called a backpackers and they had place, so at 5pm, with 2 more hours of light, I started the 130 km to Port shepston.  I rode ALOT that day!

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Any minute now and the rain would burst through the clouds

There are the most beautiful pine forests along the road, but It was raining badly, so I never fully was able to enjoy it.  There were lots of trucks too.  One made an especially big impression on me.  It seemed to slow down when I was behind it, and chase short on my tail when I was ahead of it.  What the intention of that fool was, I don’t know, but the weather was bad enough.  Jesus, what is wrong with people?  I was really cursing very loudly inside my helmet, about the rain.  Wherever I met a dry road, it started raining.  Even when I finally came into Port Shepstone, it started raining there too.  It was like doomsday in the life of me.  Once in Port Shepstone, I could not find the backpackers on my own, so they sent someone to get me after I called.  I met a nice couple at the bar.  German man and Namibian woman.  The man knew a guy I met in CT who helped me fixed my brakes shortly before the trip.  He rents out bikes.  And he suggested some nice roads for me to take on my way home.  Its dull again, but if its dry, I’ll take the roads he suggested.  I went with them for breakfast the next day and also they took me to a farm shop to buy a rain suit and gumboots.  True blessing.  It was pissing down with rain the next day too.  No more dirt for me in the rain.  There were choices now.

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3 thoughts on “My Southern African Road Trip day 12, Monday 9 December 2013- Lesotho/Quthing to Port Shepstone

  1. Ramadimetja Matji says:

    Thank you for taking those wonderful pictures! I grew up in Qacha’s Nek, 1960 – 1975. You actually got a picture of my Father’s old shop in the background. It wasn’t that pleasant growing up there; my parents were in exile & I always wondered what life would have been like “home”. Now that I’m 55, and finally “home”, I realise that home is really Qacha’s Nek! Trips were nightmares growing up; only 4-wheel drives could get anywhere. But I went back there in 2008 in my Toyota Runex. Some of the gradients were rather steep but I managed the whole trip, Pretoria – Maseru – Quthing – Qacha’s Nek – Matatiele – Underberg – Van reenen pass – Harrismith – Pretoria. Hope you feel better at your next trip. I’d like to post your pictures on my profile, with your permission. Who shall I cite as the photographer?

    Many thanks for documenting everything. All the best. Ramadimetja Matji
    mmatji@vodamail.co.za

    Liked by 1 person

    • misschief101 says:

      Hi Ramadimetja! Thanks for your comment. Seems these pics were meant for you 🙂 Sounds like you have lived a very interesting life. Lesotho is amazing, and the people gentle, friendly and kind. What a city girl like me would give for a piece of land and some cows … but I suppose the reality is alot of hard work. I think that day I was just feeling tired, and maybe a bit lonely. The trip was quite strenuous. I had planned nothing beforehand. I will go back again, with more experience and perhaps a companion, if I am lucky enough. Feel free to use the pictures. I am the photographer (Nawahl Razak). I’d appreciate so much if you put a link to my blog post 🙂

      Like

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