This event will mark the opening of the northern section of the Trans Lesotho Mountain Bike Trail.
It is hosted by the Freedom Challenge working in partnership with the Lesotho Durham Link and is funded in part by the European Union.
It offers an opportunity to experience Lesotho, her people and their culture whilst also providing mountain biking in the truest sense of the word - a journey by mountain bike that will take riders to altitudes of 3000 metres and the isolation of remote peaks and valleys. It promises to become an iconic event on the international mountain biking calendar.
Riders participating in this event need to anticipate some demanding riding.
23 March 2011 to Saturday 26 March 2011
R4 800 per rider which covers the following-
5 nights accommodation
Pre ride dinner
All meals including breakfast at Katse
Any sponsored products.
No of participants:
The field is limited to 40 riders.
Day 1: 63 kms
Day 2: 28.2 kms
Day 3: 37.5 kms
Day 4: 79 kms
Tuesday 22 March 2011 - Registration
Registration and the pre ride dinner and an evening of traditional entertainment takes place at Liphofung (the Place of the Eland) Cave and Heritage Centre .
The centre is located on the M1 tar road running from Bothe Buthe past Oxbow Lodge to Mokhotlong and on to Sani Pass.
Accommodation is at the Centre in well apportioned rondawels. However, riders are required to bring their own bedding.
Wednesday 23 March - Leaving the Lowlands
Liphofung to Libono
Check points at 19.9 kms and 35.4 kms
Anticipated riding time: 8 – 10 hours
Riders leave Liphofung and immediately drop down to cross the Hololo River. Follow the Mohakare (Caledon) River northeastwards. Climb up the band of Clarens sandstone at . Continue above the river with the basalt Rooiberge that form the core of the Golden Gate National Park to the north and those of Lesotho’s Central Range to the south follow the road and footpaths to the village of Libono in the Boiketsiso Ha Napo. Libono is the trail head for the Trans Lesotho Mountain Bike Trail which runs from the northern to the southern border of Lesotho. This trail forms part of the extensive trail network extending from Kilimanjaro to Cape Town being developed by the Freedom Challenge (Riders are able to easily join the Trans Lesotho Trail from South Africa by riding from the top of the Oliviershoek Pass which is familiar territory to those who participate in the annual Berg and Bush mountain bike race through to the gravel road Monantsa Pass the top of which is located 10 kms west of Libono)
Dinner will take place at the Libono School and riders will be accommodated by families in the village.
Thursday 24 March – Crossing the Makhoakeng Mountains.
Libono to Oxbow
Total distance – 28.2 kms
Check point at 24.4 kms
Anticipated riding time: 5 - 6 hrs
Leave Libono Boiketsiso at an altitude of 2000 metres. You are straight into a climb on a good jeep track that runs through to the village of Pitseng (2200 metres) before swinging sharply westwards. Pitseng being a cluster of about 20 huts, is the last village that you will encounter in the next two days. From this point you might meet the occasional shepherd, clad in grey blanket and wearing folded back gum boots or come across an isolated and austere stone packed. Otherwise you are able to relish the isolation and beauty of high altitude mountain biking and amongst the finest riding to be had anywhere in the world. A 200 metre ascent on a cattle track takes you up towards Molekane Peak (2400 metres). Over the next few kilometers you follow a well established shepherd’s track as you climb gradually through the Makhoakhoeng mountain range.to reach the high point of the ride at Lejoe le Tseke (2910 metres). Passing through the saddle at the top of the Pitseng valley you will see just ahead of you, running southwards, the Tsehlanyane River After dropping down to the river, good shepherds’ tracks run down alongside the river to the Oxbow woolshed and weather station. From there it is an honest climb and fast descent on the tar road into the Oxbow Lodge (2500m), located on the banks of the Madiba Matsoa River.
Dinner and accommodation is at the Oxbow Lodge
Friday 25 March – Riding the Madiba Matsoa River.
Oxbow to Motete
Total distance: 37.5 kms
Anticipated riding time 7 – 9 hours
Check point: 23 kms
From the Oxbow Lodge the newly established Trans Lesotho Trail runs westwards to the confluence of the Maliba Matsoa and Tselhenyane Rivers before swinging southwards. The view southwards is dominated by basalt peaks with steep spurs running down in a series of steps created by successive volcanic flows towards the river. On each of these spurs, generally on one of the steps quite high above the river, can be seen a single shepherd’s hut. The Maliba Matso (River of Black Pools) is so named for the extensive pools and the rich black colour derived from the basalt rock. The river winds downstream in extended but tight bends as it works around the high spurs dropping off the surrounding peaks. Initially the trail stays high on the basalt slopes. After crossing one spur the trail will drop off gradually before climbing to cross the next. Once the valley opens up slightly the trail drops down on to the flood plain. Despite the occasional uphill there are no significant climbs. The day’s riding, although technical in places, is not particularly demanding. The occasional river crossings provide sweet crystal clear water and, for the adventurous, a chance to swim. After passing the Solane Falls the trail reaches the cultivated fields of the village of Solane where the 23 kms of single track ends. From here on a well established but unsurfaced vehicle track cuts across the mountains via Lekhalong la Moutloanyane to the village of Motete ha Sekhobe (2200m) on the banks of the Motete River.
Dinner will take place at the Motete Primary School and riders will be accommodated by families in the village.
Saturday 26 March – Alongside Katse.
Motete to Khatse
Riding time: 8 – 10 hrs
Check points at 13kms and 53.1 kms.
An early start sees riders following the degraded vehicle road to join the Koa Mines gravel road near the village of Ha Sello (2200m). After crossing the gravel road it’s a sharp climb on a footpath up to the village of Ha Molemo (2500m) after which tracks continue on through the mountains to the headwaters of the Katse Dam, above the village of Ha Lejone before crossing the M5 tar road that runs was tarred with the building of the Katse Dam. A good dirt road which runs above the vast expanse of the Katse Dam then takes riders through to the Katse Dam wall. After crossing the 188km high wall riders arrive at the Orion Katse Lodge for sundowners, supper and then end of ride celebrations.
Dinner and overnight accomodation is at the Khatse Lodge on Khatse Dam.
Sunday 27 March – Shuttle to Liphofung
Shuttles are available on Sunday morning to take riders from Khatse back to Liphofung (2½ hr drive)
Please note that there is no extra accommodation at Liphofung, Libono or Motete. Spouses and partners wishing to link up with riders are advised to drive from Liphofung on to Oxbow (30 mins) where they are welcome to join them the following day or to go on to Khatse.
Getting to Liphofung
For directions view here
Note: Liphofung and Khatse Dam are located on sealed roads accessible with ordinary sedans.
At registration each rider will be issued with an 80 litre bag which will be transported for the rider between overnight stops. Beyond this riders must be self supporting during the event.
Riders must carry foul weather clothing, a space blanket and a whistle. Day 2, in particular, takes riders high into the mountains.
Profiles | Maps | Downloads | Trans Lesotho 2011 Gallery | Trans Lesotho 2012 Gallery