TRAVELBUCKET

Lesotho

TIPS ON HOW TO NEGOTIATE AFRICAN ROADS

This post is mostly for the inexperienced first-time visitor/driver to the African continent.  Always remember that Africa is quite different than any other continent.  So be aware that you sometimes need to come out of your comfort zone to survive the continent.  Things that seems abnormal on other continents is sometimes quite normal in Africa! Check your tyres before you drive off. It sounds a bit foolish, but this can safe you some embarrassment if you just walk around your vehicle once to check if all your tyres are still okay and inflated to the correct pressure.  Now you are ready to hit the road and enjoy the rest of your trip.    Tyre compressors and gauges at garages, especially in remote locations, are not always correct.  Be aware of that.  We have a habit of using our own tyre pressure gauge that we carry in our cubbyhole.   Part of… Read more >

GOING SOLO OFF THE BEATEN TRACK?

Going solo off the beaten track is not for every off-road traveller whether you visit Botswana, Namibia or venture further into Africa past Zambia, going north.  There are pros and cons to it so you need to consider everything.  If you are a social person and like the company of fellow travellers and hate being alone then going solo is definitely not for you.  Groups also provide some security and you can share costs of planned activities. If you like your own company and have some travel savvy then going solo is for you.  Going solo gives you freedom of choice and total independence to change your travel plans on the spur of the moment if something interests you on the wayside. Things that you need to consider when planning your next solo African trip are the following. You will need the ability to navigate.  There are not many countries… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART III) – ARRIVING AT THE BORDER

You have made it to the border post!  Now you need to keep calm and work through the process.  Remember each country has its own rules. Which border post? In all our years of travel we found that it is much easier to enter/exit at smaller border posts.  At the bigger border posts, the officials are sometimes tired and irritated and will take their time to work through the processes.  Our experience is at the smaller posts they are friendlier and welcome a chat while doing their work. When? Try to avoid peak times, if possible, like month end, late Friday afternoon or popular public holidays like Easter.  Everybody is in a hurry and the queues are longer, the tempers flare quicker and willingness is shorter. Be positive! No matter how frustrated you get, try to smile and be friendly.  They are only doing their job.  A positive attitude goes… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART II) – VEHICLE AND INSURANCE

This is probably the most stressful aspect of any border crossing, with the most variables per country, but if you stick to the following you should be more or less okay.  If your vehicle is still under a finance agreement, you will need to acquire a letter of permission from the applicable financial institution. Each institution has its own requirements and procedures to follow as to how to obtain it.  Allow enough time to obtain the required paperwork.  If you are planning to take a trailer or caravan remember to do the same, if financed. Make sure your ID number matches that used on your vehicle documents. If your registration papers show your RSA ID number, then take it with you.  Rather take too much proof than be in a predicament. Take a colour copy of your vehicle’s registration papers. This is very handy. It is a popular document and… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART I) – PLANNING

African border posts have a notorious reputation, but it is not as bad as everyone thinks as long as you go prepared and have no illusions.  Most border trouble comes down to inexperience or impatience – not only in Africa, but throughout the world.  The key is to prepare well beforehand and remember, every successful border crossing pans out differently in each country. Regulations change all the time and is rapidly outdated.  There are general tips that you can follow to ease your encounter at the border post, so consider some of the following tips: SO, THIS SAID, WHERE DO I START?  Right at the beginning.   Planning, planning, planning and some more planning!  Start doing your homework well in advance, because it might take some time to get your ducks in a row and quacking. The number one place to start will be at your documents.  Without a passport, the… Read more >

SOME LESOTHO FACTS

A trip to Lesotho country can easily be incorporated into a South African trip provided that you have your own vehicle with a good ground clearance, but preferably a 4×4 as the roads can become treacherous at times. Lesotho is not called the “mountain Kingdom” for nothing.  Everywhere you travel you will encounter mountains, mountains and some more mountains in every shape and size.  There is no way that you can avoid them when travelling so please take care on the narrow winding roads as you will also encounter men on horseback and pedestrians sharing the road with you.  So be considerate. The highest dam in Africa is located here –  Katse Dam – which also supplies water to Gauteng in South Africa.  Please take care not to pollute any of the streams as this has a ripple effect. Due to the high altitude temperatures can suddenly plummet to freezing… Read more >

THE LANDLOCKED COUNTRY IN THE CLOUDS

We have visited Lesotho a couple of times before, especially the eastern side coming up with Sani Pass from KwaZulu Natal, but this time round we visited Malealea Lodge in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and entered from the more developed western side at Wepener. Arriving at the border post at Van Rooyen’s Gate (hours 06:00- 22:00) near Wepener all was quiet the day after Christmas and the formalities were done without a glitch and off we go. Our plan was to camp at Malealea Lodge and explore the vicinity during the last week of the year.  Since our previous visit to Lesotho we noticed that the main road network improved a lot, but as soon as you get onto the gravel things are still the same = the further from civilization the worse the roads. The roads are potholed and maintenance non-existing.  After all this is why we come… Read more >

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