Lesotho Sky MTB Challenge Recce

Day 1 – Lesotho has been on my travel radar, but not so you’d notice … Little land-locked country nestling somewhere against KZN and the Free State, with loads of mountains, dodgy roads and not much else to write home about. Right? How wrong can one be …

Lesotho Sky 2013 - Jacques Marais 03The Mountain Kingdom is everything you can want in an African travel destination, with a dizzying selection of action options vying for the attention of Outsiders from around the globe. It’s not even that far away – Maseru is less than 2hrs from Bloem along a peach of a highway – so no more excuses. And the one thing you cannot afford to leave behind when you cross the border to visit your Basotho brethren? Your mountain bike, buddy, because you’re gonna ride till you get used to the thin air up there.

My first day with the Lesotho Sky MTB Challenge crew (Christian Schmidt and Darol Howes) was relatively laid-back, with us exploring the time trail route within the immediate vicinity of Maseru for this kick-ass Stage Race … 3hrs of cattle-track tripping, donga dashing and pavement cruising eventually got us to Scoopie’s Shebeen, where I was initiated into the pleasures of Africa’s leading brew, Maluti, in quarts, of course.

Any Maseru sojourn is seriously incomplete without a visit to either the Oo-Lah-Lah Coffee Shop or Tumisang Taabe‘s Bike Shop, both institutions in their own right. Best of all, this was just the start of my journey into Africa’s ‘Little Tibet’.

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