OK, today into the mountain Kingdom!

Teyateyaneng Travel Blog

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The next morning border crossing was easy and you see a difference straight away from South Africa.  It wasn’t as developed, poor, cars and buses were much older and battered, people on horse back.  But riding through it felt different, you get a feeling about a country by looking closely for the smaller things, as much as the obvious…  The people were very friendly, more friendly and happy with life than the other side of the border.  The black locals of South Africa are much more guarded and look at you with suspicion.  There was none of the usual rubbish, plastic bags, wrappers and bottles that I’d come to expect from an African society of this level, I must say this impressed me a lot!  Some of the people’s houses were the traditional round shape of brick or traditional wood and mud construction.

House on the hill
  Some tin huts and it seemed brick houses where becoming popular.  They brick houses were not large as you would think in western standards but had a few rooms, built in different styles with different simple effects for the eye and not solely built for a purpose.  The thing that made me smile was these people had big windows and this was very unusual to see for majority of poor people in Africa.  They usually didn’t care about looking outside preferring small windows just to let in daylight and not to admire the view and see the world but there again Lesotho has some great views!  Maybe the no rubbish and big windows meant they had pride in there space…

 

Lesotho is part of the Drakensburg mountain range that formed 150million years ago with a population of 2million compared with South Africa’s 44.

Riding into Makhaleng river valley
2million but people say the figure is much higher because of illegal immigrants from the rest of Africa.  Parts of Johannesburg was solely Nigerian (Nigerians are 2% of the worlds population!), they carry the traditional name of scammers and here they have forced an end to the 200Rand bank note because of the counterfeits they made… 

 

We rode into the Makhaleng region where its rivers winds between the high mountains.  One word summed up this place, Spectacular!  On the way we stopped for a snack on a gravel road leading up a mountain and a local taxi driver (an old car packed with people) stopped to make sure we were ok and knowing I wasn’t from these parts asked where we were from very pleased to meet us and bit us a safe journey with a happy smile.  Kids would come running out waving and smiling, some with there hand out for sweets.

In the Makhaleng valley
  Giving kids sweets for nothing can be the start a slippery slope within such a poor society, hand out now they’ll always have a hand out instead of working later in life, does that make me a hard person?  I now have a similar view on aid relief, you must be careful what and how it is distributed or you can damage people’s future, so much aid is lost in corruption in this continent.  In Chad about 1% of medical aid reached its people from the corrupt government.  Anyway, I’ll stop preaching…  These gravel tracks through the mountains are a bikers dream and even with Paulina on the back together we were riding well.  I made a wrong turn as I thought we could cross a mountain section beyond so we doubled back to another one marked as a track on my GPS.  The single gravel road disappeared and so did any sign of a vehicle passing this way, accept for a horse or donkey and cart.  It turned more into a wide path with Paulina asking did we miss the route but the GPS said we were spot on with 25km to go before joining another route.
“Are you sure about this one?” – Paulina
  We crossed a couple of rock gardens, areas with loads of big stones, a couple of streams, lots of bemused looks for locals as we passed, kids running to us others running away to hide.  Eventually I stopped to study the GPS coming up to a stream with a difficult accent over a couple of ridges for two up, Paulina saying to return and me saying it’s only another 20km!  It was just after 2pm and these 20kms would take at least 2hours or more, I’m sure we could pass but it would take time, too much time for this stage in the day and it would very cold once the sun went down.  I’d had my fun on this route and we turned around as we hoped to be up around the capital, Maseru, that night.

 

Back on the tar I noticed the local drivers were not possessed like the South Africans, “there is a gap in front of you that is mine! now move out of my way!!!” and they actually obeyed the basic rules of the roads.

We’re under attack! Hahaha... we had to return back along this one but was a great ride.
 I copied them keeping an eye on my speed as I was sure the only reason was police check points or speed traps.  I was right.  We found a guest house for the night, taking my bike through the front door to secure closed area at the back.  The nights where too cold for camping up here, and this was the low lands so what was the high lands like?

 

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Run Forest! RUN!!
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House on the hill
House on the hill
Riding into Makhaleng river valley
Riding into Makhaleng river valley
In the Makhaleng valley
In the Makhaleng valley
“Are you sure about this one?”…
“Are you sure about this one?…
We’re under attack!  Hahaha...  …
We’re under attack! Hahaha... …
Run Forest! RUN!!
Run Forest! RUN!!
Teyateyaneng
photo by: MrDuck