Heloo All

Slowly but surely our early morning starts are starting “on time”, however this was not the case in Ugie – as we were about to pack our bikes and leave we figured out that the owner of the B & B locked the room our bikes were parked in and she was only due in later that morning!  Fortunately the domestic came in an hour later and set our bikes free (25th April)

After a brief stop in Mclear for some fish and chips we continued to climb to Mt Fletcher.  Did our highest altitude ascent, from Ugie to Mt Fletcher – 1475m.  Overnight in the garage of the local pastor, winner as we didn’t have to pitch our tents on the pouring rain!
On to Matatiele we experienced very strong cross winds, dangerous as it unexpectedly pushes you onto the road, with a nonexistent shoulder.  Jiten put his hand up, to fix a puncture again! Number 8 to be precise, while Ria and I have only had 1 each.

Both our contact numbers in Matat failed to respond, with the light fading quickly and us desperate to find a place to crash we resorted to lurking in and out of Spar (fully kitted with helmet and gloves) to strike up a conversation with a local!  We eventually managed to find a camp spot at the local caravan park for free.  Tents stink! Miff! Smells like wet dog, from being packed wet in Lady Frere.

While still in E.Cape I have to till you our top 5 responses after telling locals we cycling C2C

5.  Most common – Yooooooohh Or Yoh Yoh Yoh Yoh!
4.  Common guys, stop joking, be serious now.
3.  Stunned / Confused and Silenced they walk away in disbelief.
2.  How!! I can’t tolerate!!
1.  Bongani lets go – these guys are lying!!

Off to Lesotho via Ramatseliso’s Gate.  Lesotho has the worst gravel roads I have ever seen, with the steepest gradients, massive boulders on the road, and loose stones making cycling impossible.  Our 70km/day average plummeted to around 25km/day.  Uphill consisted of pushing and profanity while down hills, sitting on the brakes, praying you don’t fall 6 feet under! Test of physical and mental strength.  Compulsory downhill breaks were needed to prevent a blow out from the rims and tyres overheating. 

In Lesotho our early starts fell away - this time due to the extreme cold in the mornings.  At midday waterfalls are still frozen! Jt had to buy a cheap blanket as the Basotho blankets cost R500, we all underestimated the gradient and mercury!

Note to self,and now you:  Never take advice from people who have never travelled a particular road and always consult a map frequently.

Our only negative experience so far was the Lesotho border official giving us a place to stay for R50 and telling us the next morning we said R300! Just trying to make a quick buck, but we did not budge.

Scenery is absolutely stunning with rugged mountains, herds of grazing animals on cliffs, intermittent “fun” river crossings and majestic Basotho ponies galloping past.

After the Matebeng Pass (Phew) we crashed on the floor with some Locals in their mud hut.  At Sehonghong we had some vetkoeks and homemade bread with tin fish, exhausted we hit the sack early (18:30) only to be awoken at 19:30 by people calling our names outside.  Confused we opened our 3 X 3 meter room door – It was Sujith (Ria’s cousin) and his friend Ritesh that had been driving the entire day from Sani Pass looking for us; and they managed to find us in a isolated mud room in the middle of Lesotho – amazing!!
Such a relief to see familiar faces and with cooler boxes full of food we didn’t know where to start.

The next morning we loaded our bikes and bags onto the Siyashova branded bakkie and headed off our route for some site seeing to Katse Dam. 
I must make it clear that the bakkie is not a support vehicle; It was just some dedicated Siyashova fans (Sujith and Ritesh) visiting us in Lesotho for 2 days.  Thanks guys, your effort and dedication is much appreciated!
Arrived at Katse Dam at 14:30 only to be told the exorbitant lodge fees and the last tour of the Dam is at 14:00!!  Disappointed we headed for Mokhotlong via Leribe and Butha Buthe. 
At the KFC in Butha Buthe we met a friendly soul that directed us to Afri Ski Lodge where we spent the night for free - thanks Etiene and Heather for the much neede rest after 15 hours of driving. 
Afri Ski is a must visit, with ski slopes, mountain biking and trout fishing!

After doing a circular detour through Lesotho on a bakkie we were dropped off in Mokhotlong, close to Sehonghong where we were picked up and continued our cycling to Sani Pass. 

With an initial steep and windy decent from Sani Top the road gradually flattens towards Underberg; does not compare to some of the gradients and terrain encountered in Lesotho.

At Underberg we chatted to Ayob Vawda who drove from RSA to China border and back!  Thanks for lunch and some priceless tips.

Overnight at Phoelela Christian School in Bulwer, after first having to get an affidavit from the friendliest police station I’ve been to allow us entry into the school.

Off to PMB with a brief stop at the Pickle Pot Restaurant / Café.  Fantastic hospitality from the owner Tyren; he will soon be converting the place into an educational nonprofit centre called Khula Shanti.

Took some pictures at Howick Falls then dropped down Town Hill  - hair raising stuff overtaking trucks at 70km/hr.
At PMB we split for the night with family and friends; Jiten was forced to break his 11 day hydrophobia and take a shower.  The bed and a home cooked meal was fantastic, Thanks Ruzaidh and Aneesa.

In the morning we gave a talk at Pelham primary School. 
Thanks to Hattons cycles for our free bicycle service.

From here it was all smooth sailing following the comrades route down
to the moses Mabida Stadium in Durban were we were welcomed by our family and friends. (7th May)

Ria and I are looking forward to our break in Durban, while Jiten flys to JHB to sort out some Visas

MMMHHH Curry!! I got to go