1. Total distance of route and date of ride?
Approximately 420km. November 2012
2. How long did it take to complete?
You can travel to Katse and back to Fouriesburg or Ficksburg in a day. Or you can take it easy and spend a night at Katse Lodge. It took us six hours to reach Katse, but we travelled quite leisurely as the roads are very twisty.
3. Why do you recommend this route?
The views are epic and the roads are challenging.
4. Please tell us how the route runs.
Exit Fouriesburg and continue 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 Oxbow with.
When reaching Butha-Buthe again, go straight for about 32km, until you reach the town of Leribe. Here you have to look out carefully for the turn-off to Katse dam. As you enter the town you will find an 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, 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 ride 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 advise superbike riders to take it easy. We were on BMWs (GS800 and a K1200RS)
6. Please name significant points of interest along the way.
The only accommodation at the Katse dam is at Katse Lodge, which isn’t bad.
The main attractions are the twisty roads and the unbelievable scenery.
7. Are there petrol stations along the way?
There are petrol stations at Butha-Buthe and Leribe; 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?
Be careful on the roads as there are extremely sharp bends, loose gravel, potholes, oil spills and wild animals.
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?
Approximately three tanks of fuel and R400 per person sharing per night (including bed & breakfast) at the Katse Lodge. About R1100 per person for the trip.
10. Did you use any special gear?
My Camelbak made it easier, as there are no stops along the mountain passes to have a drink.
11. Any must-do activities on the route?
The dam-wall tour at Katse Lodge. When you reach Oxbow Lodge, stop for refreshments and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding the lodge.
12. Did anything funny happen that you’d like to share?
Funny-but-dangerous are the taxies and buses on the roads. They speed like lunatics down hill and crawl like crabs up 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 you not to race, because you do not want anything bad to happen here. (Keep ER24’s emergency number on your phone, 084 124, as they also attend to emergencies in Lesotho. – ed)
The rider – Willem Fick