Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Tell us where your Pajero has taken you.
pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
Vehicle: Mishubishie Pajero 3.2Di-d 2006 Auto GLX
Location: Centurion
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Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:36 pm

We went to the South Coast for the April holidays and decided to return via Sani Pass and through Lesotho. The planned Itinerary was

2 April - Scottburgh to St James Lodge 269 km 5:00:20 302° true 4
3 April - St James Lodge1 to Katse Dam 144 km 8:40:19 268° true
4 April - Katse Dam1 to Clarens 202 km 5:55:42 354° true 2
5 April - Clarens1 to Centurion 339 km 3:46:44 355° true 2
Planned Route on Google maps Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

A trip report of a similar trip http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/sho ... p?t=212116
Some useful videos of South African passes mountainpassessouthafrica - Sani

[BBvideo 425,350]http://youtu.be/MNxvROAcdFw[/BBvideo]

[BBvideo 425,350]http://youtu.be/iD-FYsoEqvk[/BBvideo]

GPX track of our Route
Last edited by pfgrobler on Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:24 am, edited 4 times in total.
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pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
Vehicle: Mishubishie Pajero 3.2Di-d 2006 Auto GLX
Location: Centurion
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:09 pm

2 April - Scottburgh to St James Lodge 269 km 5:00:20 302° t

Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:45 pm

2 April - Scottburgh to St James Lodge 269 km 5:00:20 302° true 4

We started a bit later than what we wanted to, but at 7am we were on our way. Trailer and kids packed. We had a little rain and a lot of mist on the way up but by the time we got to Underburg all was clear and we filled up with diesel. Oh dear, the Trailer coupling plug worked its way loose and we only had bear wires left.

Not to worry, we packed a trommel with tools (including a trailer plug and instructions) but the instructions did not give colors. We still had internet and I downloaded some diagrams, they all showed a yellow cable in connector 1 - but the trailer does not have yellow :(
All people not following a standard if one exists, should be shot.

20 minutes later I was done, we refueled and kids had KFC, except that the left indicators did not work. It took me another 30 minutes to figure out that the Blue that is marked as aux in the diagrams was wired to the left indicator on the trailer - should have been a yellow wire.

We continued on our way. It was our first trip up Sani and we were towing a trailer so we were a bit worried.

All went well upto about 2600m when we overheated. Overheating up Sani Pass

5 minutes later we were on our way again.

The road was good and all the corners was quite wide - so quite an enjoyable trip. Most of the pass after the border was in Low range 3rd and 2nd.

At Sani Top we wanted to go for a drink and realized we only had R300 cash with us and we still had to pay at St James. Luckily they had a card machine but they were convinced it was not working. So we were almost on our way without having a drink.

I took some photos inside when I got a SMS and realised I had signal so I checked the card machine and it had signal as well, it took some convincing but eventually they swiped my card and all went through in seconds. So we did have our hot chocolate at the Highest pub in Africa. I was wondering if its an honest problem or a effort to rather have cash paying customers.

We continued and the Chinese are making good progress on the Kotisephola Pass to Mokhotlong. On some steep sections sement has already been laid and a small sections has already been tarred as well.

I was concerned whether we would manage with a trailer once it's tarred as we were in low range for quite a few of the steep inclines of 1:3 going up black mountain. Once it's tarred we won't be able to stay in low range with the center diff locked :( the same will hold for Sani itself when it gets tarred.

We eventually arrived at St James were we would spend the night. When we phoned to confirm the booking they said they did not have running water, they did fix it while we were there, but it was too late for us to have a shower.

We forgot to expel the air from the mayonnaise before we left and had mayonnaise over all our food drawer. We tried to braai but we struggled to get our firelighters and charcoal to burn nicely - and blamed it on the lack of oxygen, but eventually we got our pork rashers warm (they were only warm)

We had a good night, but at 12 pm it started raining and did not stop before we had to pack up the next morning. So the tent was packed wet.

We considered waiting for the rain to stop, but it did not look like clearing up.
Last edited by pfgrobler on Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
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Location: Centurion
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Re: Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:45 pm

Coupler missing
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On the way up
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We got a bit to warm
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Cement sections on the steep inclines
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Chinese monster eating rocks
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ST James camping
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pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
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3 April - St James Lodge1 to Katse Dam 144 km 8:40:19 268° t

Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:46 am

We woke up 5 am ready for a long day driving. But it was raining and decided to wait a bit. By 7 am we realized we will have to pack up wet.

We spoke to the people than manages the bookings and maintenance for ST James - they were there to do some maintenance. They reckoned 5-6 hours + another 1 when towing.

It rained more than we thought and the braai was about half full with water - about 7-8mm. The first 20km was really great, just slightly muddy which made the ride quite smooth. At 2800m we stopping to have breakfast and look at the view, we found a small toad next to a small stream.

We then had 2 really steep muddy declines. I'm really glad we did not need to go up them. We hugged the mountain even when it meant going over bigger rocks and ditches. At the second there was a Pajero IO coming up and the driver was really glad he made it to the top.

Driving through thick mist on a gravel road was a lot less scary than it sounds. I think because going at 10km/h the side of the road is a lot further than when you are doing 60km/h on a tar pass.

At the 3rd downhill we met a 2wd X-Trail stuck 1/3rd up the hill. He was not really stuck just could not get any higher up. It was a family of 5 and they had been stranded there for about 3 hours.

We deflated his tires to 1.2 bar and tried again. With the extra traction and 3 hours that the mud had to dry, we made it halfway up.
There was no way around and we reversed to a level section and unhooked the trailer. We did a 10 point turn and reversed back down. Deflated to 1 Bar front and rear and hooked up the snatch strap to use as a tow rope. He reversed back down to 1/3 up so that both of us had enough traction. We started of together and we it ended up being a fairly gentle pull up the mountain - definitely easier than what it would have been towing the trailer up. It took about 1 hour 40 minutes and we were all on our way again. Luckily the village they were headed for was before the next muddy incline.

Except for 2 taxis we did not pass any other cars going that direction for another 3 hours. If we didn't pass by they would probably had to wait another 5-6 hours for the mud to dry.

The road then dried out nicely and we continued without any other excitement. The rest of the road was not quite as scenic.

With the rain we were concerned about the causeway crossing the orange river on the way to Tsaba-Tseka but the Chinese build a brand new bridge over the river and it was plain sailing.

Just after Tsaba-Tseka we drove through what seemed to be a local horse race. The horses were dressed and had headgear, most did not have saddles though. 3 separate sets of horses came past us as we slowly made our way past.

The last stretch to Katse felt long, but we made it. The campsite at the old visitors center was full. 1 UK overland Iveco, a Suzuki and Fortuner, and a group of 2 Musos and another vehicle. Unfortunately we did not have a view of the dam from our spot but we had warm water and was happy me made it before dark. It was a long day. In the dry I think it would have taken us about 7.5 hours.

Later that evening another group of about 6 cars arrived and the camped a bit further down in the veld.
Last edited by pfgrobler on Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
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Re: Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:11 am

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allandell
Country: South Africa
Vehicle: Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2DiD LWB AT
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:53 am

What was the cause for the engine getting warm going up sani?
I have found that yoy must go into manual mode and keep the revs a little higher as in drive the gearbox keeps the revs at about 2000 and the viscous fan does not get to work and with slow driving there is no air passing over the motor
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CATS
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Re: Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:49 pm

Thanks for sharing! Lovely trip report.

I am also interested in your overheating. Were you in normal Drive mode, low range, or in tiptronic?

CATS
2009 Pajero 3.2 DiDc Lwb GLS (Gen4) - Casper (Starting to grow on me)
2001 Pajero 3.2 DiD Lwb GLS Manual (Gen3) - Snoopy (SOLD but not forgotten)
2008 Pajero 3.2 DiDc Lwb GLS Auto (Gen4) - Silvester (SOLD)
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pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
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Re: Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:43 pm

Ill post abou the overheating in viewtopic.php?t=6326

I was in triptonic 2nd low at the time and was trying to keep revs @ 2500 - 3000
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andrew.ashton
Country: South Africa
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Location: Randburg, South Africa
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 12:57 pm

Re: Sani -> Mokhotlong -> Katse

Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:11 pm

pfgrobler wrote:Ill post abou the overheating in viewtopic.php?t=6326

I was in triptonic 2nd low at the time and was trying to keep revs @ 2500 - 3000
Nothing wrong with that choice - lowrange 2nd gear - especially under those conditions with a trailer.
Andrew Ashton
2002 Pajero 3.2 Di-D LWB A/T
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pfgrobler
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Country: South Africa
Vehicle: Mishubishie Pajero 3.2Di-d 2006 Auto GLX
Location: Centurion
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Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:09 pm

4 April - Katse Dam to Centurion 550km 7:55:42 354° true 2

Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:46 pm

We woke up early and admired the view from our tent and over the dam wall.

The campsite at the old information center was really nice with clean toilets hot water and even electricity. It started to drizzle and we packed up in the wet again. We decided that we would probably head all the way home after the tour and wont be stopping at Clarens.

We went on the Dam wall Tour and it was quite interesting, we visited Katse twice previously in 95 and again in 99. Standing under the the dam wall looking up its quite impressive. There were tours at 9am 11am and 2pm.

By 11 we were on our way the plan was to stop at the Leribe Dinosaur Prints (S 28º 49' 23.4 E 028º 04' 29.7)

The pass from Katse to Leribe was quite impressive driving the tar Pass at 50km/h was allot scarier and nerve racking than the gravel passes of the day before, the edge of the road just seems that much closer.

At Leribe braaivleis pap and veggies from a street vendor and it was quite good. T4A Decided on a 80km route from Leribe to the Dino foot prints. TO our amazement switching to Garmin's own maps it seemed to find the route and the route seemed fair enough.

Al long the way we saw an old road sign so were happy we were on track. From the Tar road we turned on to a small gravel road that became smaller and smaller and shortly afterwards Garmin told us to turn right into a cornfield but we could still see some tracks so we followed. We drove through beautiful cosmos fields. 3km further on we lost the road and reached the end of the terrace we were on.

We switched to off-road driving view on Garmin and eventually found the road again after about 7km and following some locals.

We found the Small hut that is used as the info center for the foot prints and the guide promptly arrived. On the way down to the river there was a small thundershower and we were all soaking wet. At least we got to see the prints - they were however underwater and with all the rain we could not spend that much time with them. Back at the info center we were charged R40 per person for the guided walk.

Wet we were back on the road - 200m and we were back on tar. If Garmin thinks it knows a small road be afraid...

The border posts where empty and we continued, in and out none checked any paperwork or disks or anything.

The roads were good except for the portion between Bethlehem and Veliers which had lots of potholes.

It was a long day but we were safely back at home at 21:15.

It was really a very enjoyable trip and I find it strange that its not a more popular route.
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