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«Cartwheels Over Lesotho»

A special 10-part photo story of a road trip through South Africa and into the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Tales of dirt roads and torrential rains, of camping kleptomaniacs and good-hearted traffic cops, of wine bottles hidden by a riverside, of game grazing freely on rolling hills and on wonderfully lush lands, of stars and satellites drawing perfect skies, of solitude and silence and peace, of unsettling poverty and proud herders, of hairy mountain passes and differential lock, and of all the small traveling links that glue all these together.

Cartwheels over Lesotho – The Teaser

It’s been weeks since we came back from the road. With so much to do in Cape Town, including flash training sessions for the Argus Cycle Tour, I’ve only had moderate amounts of time to sort out the many pictures taken and throw a few ideas on paper. But it is all taking shape. Some […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 1 – War and Peace in the Karoo

The Karoo has not always been hot. Long, long ago, it lay covered in ice for a hundred million years. Then, two hundred and fifty million years before this blog post was written, the area turned into a basin and as the millennia passed, featured various water bodies, some as vast as inland seas. Enormous coal deposits were […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 2 – Once Upon a Time in Nieu Bethesda

From Beaufort West, we drove steadily east and as our morning unfolded, the Karoo’s unflinching dryness mellowed out and slowly gave way to encouraging traces of vegetation. By the time we’d reached the town of Graaff Reinet, two-thirds into our daily leg, green had appeared all around us in a surprising display of tenacity. There […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 2b – Nieu Bethesda, last moments

These are a few very moody shots taken near the Doornberg Farm cottage but which didn’t make the cut because they were perversely hiding in the wrong folder. Bad, bad, bad files!

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 3 – The Ladybrand Disappointment

We packed up early and left the Vleihuisie with a tear in the eye. Then it was back over the hills and onto N9, direction Ladybrand. Reaching Middelburg, we branched off to the east towards Burgersdorp and Aliwal North, which we reached in good time. We were now ready to climb off the western flank […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 4 – Thy Mountain Kingdom Come

Like most storytellers, I enjoy the occasional temporal digression. It keeps me (and hopefully you too) sharp and focused. So let’s rewind a bit. The last post recalled the end of our stay at the Golden Gate National Park and was leading up to a second incursion into Lesotho, a full crossing this time, to […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 5 – Differential Lock on the Sani Pass

We attacked the next leg with dreams of grandeur. Just like Sossusvlei had been the apotheosis of our 2009 Namib trip, Southern Africa’s highest mountain pass was going to be something to write home about. Located in the Drakensberg mountain range, on the easternmost flank of Lesotho, the Sani Pass leads from Basotho Highlands to […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho – Space addendum to Golden Gate

On the 20th of February 2010, around 19:20, while camping in South Africa’s Golden Gate National Park, Marie and I were busy preparing our evening meal in the rapidly darkening valley. I happened to glance up at the sky, as I often do for no particular reason, looking for planes, for birds, for friendly or […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 6 – Flash Flood on the Road to Rhodes

My mosquito bites soothed and Himeville left behind, we drove southwestwards, keeping the dark Drakensberg walls to our right, through rolling hills and immense fields. This was Zulu land. We had already noticed around Himeville that the locals were friendlier, more self-assured. The Zulus are a dancing people. It seemed to show. We took two […]

Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 7 – Stalking the Mountain Zebra

Out of Rhodes by mid-morning, we drove lazily through patchy fields, their freshly plowed soil dark as coal and contrasting strongly with lush green vegetation all around. In Barkly East, the dirt road was left behind and with it, all driving worries. We drifted north to Lady Grey and Aliwal and then plunged directly south […]