Driving up the mountains of Lesotho
Fouriesburg Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
I guess a subtitle for this blog could be: Mixing business with pleasure. I had been working for a while on this project for a diamond mine in Lesotho so was very excited when I had a chance to go and visit the site high up in the mountains of that country, at around 3100m!
I had already been to Lesotho a couple of years ago but only for a one day visit to Katse Dam.
Now the plan was to drive with some colleagues from Johannesburg, stay on the site for about a day and then drive back to Joburg the next day... I don't think so!!! How sad would that be to go to such a beautiful place and not make the most of this trip, especially with the weekend coming up right after the visit. No way was I going to let go such an opportunity!
So on that Wednesday afternoon I took my own car and drove to Fouriesburg in Free State (about 3 hours), right next to the South African border with Lesotho. There I joined my colleagues for dinner at the Country Inn where we were going to stay for the night.
The next morning we made an early start to be at the Caledonspoort Bridge Lesotho border crossing point when it opens, at 6am. I was in my old sedan car, my colleagues in a 4x4. There wasnâï¿½ï¿½t much traffic and getting our visas on the spot was quite easy. Shortly after we were in Butha Buthe where there was already a lot of activity. From there we headed East on the road that leads to Mokhotlong. This is a tarred road, with many potholes, which runs along the Eastern border. On the other side of the border the altitude just drops and these are the majestic South African mountains of the Drakensberg. The road in Lesotho winds up impressive passes as high as 3200m and then stays up on a high plateau.
This was in summer but in winter you would definitely need some equipment for the snow. We drove by a new ski resort just after Mahlasela Pass.
The road got worse as we were getting closer to the mine, which we reached around mid day.