The road seamlessly transformed before me, unravelling slowly from tar, to potholes, to dirt, to a goat trail. By the time I had passed the last tiny settlement, I was in Low-Range, hoping that I was heading in the right direction; towards South Africa.
I was met by a ghost border, completely abandoned. It felt strange, yet it made all the sense. No one in their right mind would drive on this road. Then again, that’s why I was there. Earlier in the day I was warned by police, “Don’t go that way, the road is terrible.”, I looked back at him and smiled, “Oh, that’s why you’re going there.” he chuckled back at me and let me go on my way.
Through the boarder the road seemed to tame, a couple of rocks and some mudholes here and there but nothing a Citi Golf rental car couldn’t handle. Driving through the awesome tiered crops and the last remaining herds of cows and sheep. The crisp green landscape contrasted so beautifully against the lively blue skies, with the hint of a storm brewing in the distance.
The beauty of the Lake Letsie, would be difficult to match. Cresting a steep rise and being greeted by lake Letsie, is definitely a moment that will live with me for a while. The last remnants of Lesotho and her infamous sheep herders, began to fade into the rolling green hills. I could see how the dirt path I was taking could become incredibly slippery if it started raining, and little did I know I had barely begun the descent back into South Africa. With a storm cloud approaching, I decided to make haste.
At the peak of the last hill, a lonely poll stands. On one side, Lesotho and of the other side South Africa. It was a sad moment to say goodbye to Lake Letsie, and Hello to the harrowing descent through Ongeluksnek Pass. There isn’t much you can do but go slowly, bouncing between low 2nd and 3rd when I was feeling confident, then coming around a tight switchback and suddenly have to pop back into 2nd, manoeuvring the vehicle past the treacherous rocks. At times it was just a slow walking pace through some of the sections, sharp rocks everywhere ready to slice your tyres. The nearing grey clouds meant that I could not risk a puncture, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. Ongeluksnek Pass is one of those trails that becomes near impossible and downright dangerous if attempted in the wet.
Being on your own, you can’t afford to take stupid risks. so, It was incredibly frustrating, having driving for 11hours already, and being only 9km away from the South African border post, but still being over an hour and half of driving away. Every now and then you just have to stop though, and take it all in. The scenery is just unbelievable.
I was excited to have finally reached the border post, just before the storm came in over Ongeluksnek. I was met by very friendly officials who said that they maybe had a total of 8 people pass through the border in the past 2 weeks, a massive contrast to the thousands of people I saw at the Maseru border. After that pass though, I can completely understand why though.
I can’t help feeling like I would love to do it from South Africa into Lesotho though. Oh well… Next time!