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Old 5 May 2006
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Lesotho incident - vandalism

Just readed bad news from this website about Lesotho.

Be cautios there, never leave anything (the bike) behind, w/o you and let there be many of you together if possible!

Originally Posted by Chrissie B
This is just the short version... by my AT is now history... read on:


Over the weekend of the 27 April to 01 May 2006 we went for a trip to Lesotho with a few friends, some on motorcycles, 3 BMW GS's, 1 Triumph Tiger and me on my Africa Twin, and some in 4x4's.

All went well on the first day, we did not see too many locals on our way up Sani Pass. And no I did not make it all the way up, the height just became too scary, so one of the guys rode my At up the last 4km's. On the second day travel was slower as the road became more difficult to ride on as the rain had washed away parts of it, and the locals started to become a problem, especially the younger males, as they kept harassing the ladies in our group, especially me as I was not in a car but on a motorcycle.

Due to our slow progress we had to spend the night in the mountains as it was getting too dark to carry on. The next morning we set out early, but a little way down the path the guys decided that it would be better for me not carry on riding the bike, but rather travel in the car with the other girls as my bike was misfiring and I was just too slow and too exhausted to carry on, and some of the guys would go back and fetch my motorcycle later. We offered the locals a reward if they looked after the bikes.

A little further down the road the Tiger broke down with an oil leak and it was decided to also pick it up with the bakkie. Initially I wanted to wait with my bike, but as the behaviour of the locals was not friendly, we decided against it. So we drove on to our destination at Katse Dam. But since it was already late, our friends only went back early the next morning to fetch the two motorcycles.

When they arrived back with us, only pieces of the two bikes were left. The bikes had been gutted, burned, dragged along and made almost unrecognizable by these monsters which call themselves human beings, there is nothing human about anyone who does this to someone else’s’ property. Just as well that I did not stay behind with the bike, I would most probably have been raped and killed.

The following day the incident was reported to the local police at Katse. I did not deal with them directly, as I was far too upset and emotional at the time.

As I now no longer had transport to get home, I had to travel on the back of my boyfriend's bike. But even on the way back to the border we had several incidents of stone throwing and being hit on the legs with their herding whips. I was very glad to finally arrive back in SA. We had arranged for someone from Katse to bring the destroyed motorcycles over the border, and now we have to arrange for the bikes to be transported back to Johannesburg.

Now I no longer have my motorcycle which I used for daily transport as well as for recreation. I now have to travel in my car which uses double the amount of fuel, triple the amount of time and is half the amount of fun.

Lesotho is not a safe place and a lot of the locals we encountered were unfriendly and demanded sweets and money, and if you did not oblige they threw stones and hit us with their sticks. We came to Lesotho as visitors, we spent our money in their country and I did not expect to be treated like this. I would strongly advise against anyone wanting to go to Lesotho on holiday. If Lesotho does not want tourists, then they should not print fancy pamphlets inviting people to come and visit. I will most certainly never come back to this part of Africa.

My poor baby.... and I can't really afford to buy another one, so I am going to try to sue the Lesotho Authorities, someone has to pay for this.

We paid the Chief R220 for camping there, and he told us where we could set up camp. As for leaving the bikes alone, if you had broken down there you would not have had a choice, and had I stayed to guard the bike I would probably have been raped and/or killed... and the terrain was so bad that one could not push the bike for the 60km's that we still had to go to get to the dam. It took the guys that fetched the bikes 5 hrs there and 5hrs back... and we could not risk another night in the mountains guarding the bikes... besides it was freezing cold and it snowed on the way home.
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Old 5 May 2006
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I'm very sorry to hear that.
I visited Lesotho too and liked it very much. We did had some problems with stone throwing kids but most people were very friendly.
Jan Krijtenburg

The bikes I ride are a Honda GoldWing GL1200 Aspencade and a 1978 Honda CB400T
http://jkrijt.home.xs4all.nl/ (my personal homepage with trip reports)
http://www.krijtenburg.nl/HU_BoZ/ (The HU Motorcycle Travellers Community in my area)
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Old 6 May 2006
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I fully agree,

As sorry as I am about your extremely negative experience, Travelling around Lesotho by public ytransport and on horse back over chrismas/new year I have never experienced any unfriendly behaviour. On the contrary, I found Lesothons (???) extremely accomodating and friendly (apart from in Maputo...that was a bit weird...horsewipping excess passenger away form the only coach home fo x-mas...different, more complex story...)

I'm just wondering...did you have South African plates? I understand that Lesothons are not very fond of South Africa...might have something to do with that???

Hope you will get some sort of compensation...

You can never have too many bikes......

Triumph Tiger 885
Yamaha XT600e

Jens is gone, but not forgotten.
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Old 6 May 2006
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Yeah they had ZA plates, that's south african to you guys.

I'm on a ZA bike forum and a lady there reckons those bikes were insured.

I don't know if that is correct or not.

Regardless it's a strong reminder to be careful of where you leave the bikes.

I'll give you some tips about moving disabled bikes that work.

If you absolutly have to move a broken down bike...one bike can tow another.
It's not easy of course but it can be done, a rope or a tow strap, spread about two to three car lengths apart. After a few kilometers the rider on the towed bike will even start relax a bit. LOL.
If you have a vehicle such as a Land Rover with you, well I know it sounds awful but man handle the disabled bike up onto the bonnet (the front hood) of the car if you have too. It's cheaper to repair/replace a hood than it is to buy a new bike. You can obviously drag in onto the roof of the vehicle if there are enough of you, but I suspect a hood is cheaper to repair than a car roof.
Sticking a blanket or a jacket or whatever under the bike will save a bit car paintwork as well. If you have plenty of rope you'll find a way to secure it ok if you drive slowly.
If you have a bull bar/crash bar on the front of the vehicle you can secure a bike to that easily enough.
You can also strip the bike down into parts if you have enough time and just stick bits of bike throughout the interior of the vehicle.
These things work when miles from anywhere in the bush.

Note: Chrisse the lady who owned the Africa Twin says she was insured but that she has to pay R5000 excess on the claim.

A lot of local ZA riders have just finished telling me: Don't ever leave your bike on the side of the road or in a village unatteneded in ZA or any other country in Africa.

Last edited by Jaqhama; 6 May 2006 at 11:58.
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Old 7 May 2006
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Sorry for your experience, remember a few car owners in Paris probably felt the same way recently.
Close to Antarctica and a long way from reality
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Old 12 May 2006
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What a rotten shame! I'm usually a laid-back guy, but that would make me spit blood.
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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Old 20 Jun 2006
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That is something I would not wish apon my worst enemy, just plain awfull. I would never leave my baby next to the road alone. I've visited Lesotho 2 times and did not find the locals friendly. They don't like us. Although thier country is very beautifull. Towing is possable, we towed a KLE500 behind a DR650 for about 50km on gravel road at 40 km/h. The worst about this is the poor guy at the back eats dust, but at least he brings his boney home.
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