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Lesotho SaniPass report
11-13-2015, 03:28 PM (This post was last modified: 11-13-2015 03:53 PM by @complete4x4.)
Post: #1
Lesotho SaniPass report
Hi fellow Syncro nuts,
Thought I'd give you some feedback on the current road conditions and happenings in Lesotho, and a bit on my “NEW” Syncro
I recently acquired my second and by far nicest Syncro from a fellow SyncroSA member – Adri, she is a beauty - 1989 2.1 WBX - and like the day she rolled off the assembly line. Currently sitting at 129500km on the clock, yes 129500km! All original…
Yes taking the Old girl up Sani pass was a little daunting, as you know the 2.1 gets very asthmatic once you reach the odd 2800m, but after a very relaxed and lazy drive up, she made it safely and in time for a cold Maluti with “the view” On our way up we were stared upon in our strange Taxi – even at the SA border the very unfriendly official decided that it is a VW TAXI as the word Kombi eluded her apparent lack of spelling skills! Also a fellow VW 4x4 driver – in an Amarok – mentioned to me that he’d follow me up Sani, just in case the Syncro got stuck…well seems like the Old girl surprised a few folk.
Anyway back to the “trip report” – we decided to take the gravel road from Nottingham via lower Loteni to Sani, turns out it is a rather badly maintained piece of gravel travel, with the odd good patches, the Old girl took it in her stride though, with a brief “getting a tad hot” spell over one rather long and steep climb to about 2500m. As it happens I changed the high pressure bottle and thermostat, and as reminded by Adri “slightly forgot” to bleed the system at the radiator as well. This in turn just gave us more time for the obligatory cold one on our way up any of the steep passes past 2500m.
Again back to scaling Sani – road surface is very good with a few patches of loose stones, gelände gear was necessary on the last section as the power was really down above 2700m. Once you reach Sani Top, our Chinese friends now provides you with A-grade F1 quality black top! We stayed at Sani Top – camping – as I just can’t get myself to pay the exuberant fees they charge nowadays for the chalets! Camping facilities are rudamentry at best, but the peace and quiet and the views makes up for this.
We followed the newly laid tarmac from Sani to Mokhotlong, with some roadworks still in process like line painting. Believe me these Chinese can build roads, and over and down Black Mountain pass the testament of this is very evident! The new tar continues all the way to the turn off from Mokhotlong towards Mapholaneng and Letseng. This is where the fun starts as they are busy lifting the old tar surface and preparing to lay the new. Lots of places you drive on very loose gravel stones that will be the foundation for the new surface. Graders work in unison and you have to stop – start in a few places, so in general the going is slow. And naturally the Old girl got a bit hot on a few of the longer climbs – mandotary beer stops again – and this helped for a lot to calm my wife down as well as she is not a mountain goat, the fear of heights and passes sort of gets to her a bit, but I think Lesotho cured that for now!
Passing Letseng mine, the road surface is very good again, and we reached Afriski a good four and a half hours since we left Sani, lunch and a cold Maluti was had at Afriski – which by the way is highly recommended – and we headed on to Caledonspoort on the “old” tar surface. The border was reached in two hours, and the Old girl survived her brief inaugural stint in Lesotho.
We went on to camp at Golden Gate and the way back to Pta was quite un-eventful cruising at a leisurely 100 kph (GPS). Fuel consumption was average 7.8km/l (12.8l/100) with a best achieved of 8.7km/l (11.5l/100) from Pta to Nottingham with a strong headwind. So I am VERY pleased with this.
All in all the Syncro performed admirably. I designed a bed and packing system for this trip, as she doesn’t have the fold down bed bench in the back. I will improve on this system with an Aluminium fold up bed unit, slide for the ENGEL 40l, adding a ¾ size Aluminium roof rack with tables, LED bar and Dual Battery system. I fitted new Dunlop TrakGrips on the original 14” wheels and they worked perfectly, just need new shocks to go with these.
The next outing will be Mozambique and lots of sand, and I hope to have the Mods done by then.

a Few more pics and some of the new road

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11-13-2015, 05:04 PM
Post: #2
RE: Lesotho SaniPass report
Nice. We still want to go as well.

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Life's a journey, not a race. Enjoy it.
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