1. Total distance of route and date of ride?
Approximately 420km. November 2012
2. How long did it take to complete? Were you going fast or travelling leisurely?
You can travel to Katse and back to Fouriesburg or Ficksburg in a day. Or you can take it easy and sleep over at Katse. We took about 6 hours to reach Katse, but we travelled quite leisurely as the roads are very twisty.
3. Why are you recommending this route? What’s special about it?
The views are epic and the roads are challenging.
4. Please tell us how the route runs.
Exit Fouriesburg and continue straight on the R711 until you reach the Caledonspoort border post. From the border continue till you reach the T-junction at Butha Buthe. At the T-Junction turn left and continue about 80km to Oxbow Lodge. Exit the lodge and turn left going back down the same pass you came into Oxbo.
When reaching Butha Buthe again just go straight for about 32km until you reach the town Leribe. Here you will have to look out carefully for the turn off to Katse dam. As you enter the town – you will find an old dilapidated filling station with a road turning left – TAKE THAT ROAD as it is the only way to get to the dam.
Continue with that road for 122km until you reach the dam.
To get back to the Ficksburg border post – just continue back to the T-Junction in Leribe and turn left. You will find an Engen Garage on the left where you can refuel. Continue about 10km then turn right towards Maputsoe and go straight through the town to the border.
5. What kind of motorcycle is the route suitable for?
Adventure bike, superbike, cruiser, touring bike. I would recommend superbikes to take it easy. We were on BMWs (GS800 and a K1200RS)
6. Please name significant points of interest along the way, e.g. eateries, supermarkets, accommodation.
Only accommodation at the Katse Dam is Orion Katse Lodge, which isn’t bad (tel. +266 2891 0202, 011 718 5100 or www.orionhotels.co.za)
The main attraction will be the twisty roads as well as the unbelievable scenery.
7. Are there petrol stations along the way? Do you know of any motorcycle repair shops along the route or in the area?
There are petrol stations at Butha Buthe and Leribe which is more than enough to get you around. The Caltex station in Ficksburg makes a good stop, as the owner is a GS rider and knows all the ins and outs of the area.
8. Are there any dangers along the route, e.g. loose gravel, potholes, sharp bends, oil spills, wild animals or angry locals?
Be careful on the roads as there are sharp bends, loose gravel, potholes, oil spills and wild animals.
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?
Work out approximately 3 tanks of fuel and R400 pp sharing per night including bed & breakfast at the Katse Lodge. About R1100 per person for the trip.
10. Did you use any special gear, e.g. fuel bags, that made your journey possible, easier or more enjoyable?
My Camelbak made it easier as there are no stops along the mountain passes to have something to drink.
11. Any must-do activities on the route?
You must do the dam wall tour at the Katse Lodge. When you reach Oxbow Lodge stop for refreshments and enjoy the beautiful scenery around the lodge. www.oxbow.co.za
12. Did anything funny happen that you’d like to share?
Very funny but dangerous are the taxies and buses on the roads. They drive like lunatics downhill and crawl like crabs up the hill.
13. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?
Just enjoy the scenery.
14. Are there any doctors and/or hospitals in the area that you know of?
Nope. And hence I advise not to race, because you do not want anything to happen there. (Keep ER24’s emergency number on your phone, 084 124, as they also attend to emergencies in Lesotho. – ed)
The rider – Willem Fick