About this event:
All Mountain Maluti Mountain Festival 2020
The ever popular Maluti Mountain Fest is back and even better with polished and refined trails.
Deep in Lesotho’s beautiful Maluti Mountains, Afriski has created a three-day mountain biking adventure that promises the best of the mountains to you and your iron (or carbon) horse! This is no mean feat as every trail has been cut, some with the help of our extremely accommodating Maluti goats. This three-day event is definitely not for beginners but offers a rewarding challenge for the intermediate mountain biker and a chance for advanced bikers to hone their skills. Lesotho is a favourite riding destination for a reason, and this is the ideal way to explore more of this magnificent riding terrain. So, this one really is FOR THE LOVE OF RIDING…
The aim of the Maluti Mountain Fest is to showcase Lesotho’s finest scenery and to show off her best-kept secret i.e. goat tracks make the coolest mountain bike routes!
- Day 1 boasts Dragon’s Back and riding through the scenic lowlands – read sandstone, single track and riding through the heartbeat of Lesotho village life – not smiling is literally impossible!
- Day 2 gives you a taste of the majesty of the Lesotho highlands, remote valleys with shepherds herding their flocks, a rare peek of the Lamergeier, the vulture with an 8 foot wingspan, all to the tune of “Single track, that’s my middle name”!
- Day 3 is a short day which includes a 13km single track to the finish which begins at 3200m and ends at 2500m – you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out the are very, very few uphills! The riding will finish at 11:00, giving you ample time to get home before dark on Sunday.
If you’re not the patient type, or know exactly what you’re looking for within this event post, please click on the below section links for a super-speedy scrolling experience…
Where It’s At And Who It’s For
WHERE IT’S AT:
Afriski Mountain Resort, Lesotho (and surrounding areas). Afriski is approximately 5½ hours by road from Johannesburg, a 4-hour drive from Bloemfontein, 6 hours from Durban, or a 14-hour drive from Cape Town. Already feeling lost? – get directions here.
WHO IT’S FOR:
Maluti Mountain Fest offers you 3 days of bucket-list riding. This is NOT a cross country event as it has some technical sections – although these can be walked. The event features a Lowland Ride, an Altitude Ride and a 12km flow trail ride on the third day.
Novice: You have been riding a little while, ridden some mild trails and maybe a few 40km races. Rather enjoy Afriski’s other attractions as this Fest is really not geared towards beginners. There is, however, a special guided outride for novice riders. You’ll be in the safe hands of experienced guides who’ll ensure that you get the most out of your first experience of riding in Lesotho.
Intermediate: You have been riding for a few years, enjoy single track and have done some 60km plus races and maybe even a stage race like Sani2C. You like slightly more challenging ups and downs.
Advanced: Single tracks with steep ups and downs with tight corners and the odd rock garden are your thing! You’ve probably ridden the major races and trails around South Africa and you know your way around a bicycle.
Expert: You’re a legend and there is nothing you can’t handle on a bicycle! Big air, big rocks or big distance, bring it on!
Non-riders: During day 1 of the race, Mamohase offer guests an opportunity to meet and interact with local communities. Their day trips take you on a guided walking tour through unique Ha Molapo villages where you can learn about village life and what it is like to live in the village. The village tours include a visit to the traditional healer, local chief, schools, health care centre, and shops. Maybe even enjoy home-brewed beer with the locals.
They also do horseback rides to Liphofung caves, where some of the finest San rock art is found. For those who simply appreciate wonders of nature, they offer a guided hike to Mount Khatibe, the highest peak (2734m) in the Lowlands. Guests can also enjoy pony trekking to Muela dam or a visit the hydro-power station.
All the above activities can be pre-booked through Moruti on +266 5904 7042
For day 2 of the race, when you will be based at Afriski, you can enjoy a range of activities including hiking, trail running, monster rollers, kids quad bikes and fly fishing – or just soak up the views from Sky Restaurant. Find our summer activities rates cards here.
Thursday, 19 March 2020
- Registration from 18:00-21:00 in Clarens
- Compulsory race briefing at 20:00
Friday, 20 March 2020
- 06:00 – Leave Clarens /Fouriesburg
- 08:00 – Riders start
- 08:30 – Novice Guided Outride begins
- 12:00-15:00 – Boeries and beers at the finish line
- 13:30 – Cut-off point to return before nightfall
- 15:00 onwards – Depart from the lowlands and head to Afriski to check-in and enjoy sundowners at Sky Restaurant
Saturday, 21 March 2020
- 07:30 – Riders’ briefing
- 08:00 – Start
- 13:00-16:00 – Snacks, beers and music at the finish line
- 14:00 – cut-off at Club Maluti to ensure that everyone returns before nightfall
- 20:00-late – Prize giving and after party at Sky Restaurant [there will be an informal prize giving with a few fun prizes and a chance to share your war stories before we kick it up a gear and get the party started with a DJ and a live band]
Sunday, 22 March 2020
- 08:00 – Riders’ briefing
- 08:30 – Start at Afriski
- 10:00-11:00 – Finish at Club Maluti with snacks, beer and music at the finish line
- 10:00-12:00 – Shuttles to the top
DAY ONE: Friday, 20 March 2020
The Dirt-Breath Express
This is quintessential rural Lesotho at its best: cattle tracks, villages, rivers and streams, sheep flocks and mielie plantations make up the first half of the ride. Expect a 25% technical single track [Dirt Breath 1] down to Muela Dam and tough climbing to Muela Power Station, followed by a 50%, single track [Dirt Breath 2] down to the Khukune River, approximately 10km of district road through villages and massive sandstone formations in the form of Dragon’s Back. This is Lesotho’s version of Moab! The day ends with a 10km ride up the river back to Mamohase B&B.
Marshals will be in place for all the route changes, so you’ll always know that you’re on the right track.
- Distance: 50 km – similar in effort to a Day 1 Sani
- Intermediate: 6 hours
- Advanced: 4.5 hours
- Expert: 3.5 hours
- Exertion Level: 9/10
- Technical Difficulty: 7/10
- Scenery: 8/10
Start/Finish – Mamohase B&B (Butha Buthe, 20km from the Caledon’s Poort border post). Look out for event signage.
Co-Ordinates: 28°44’13.7″S 28°27’14.7″E
Turn off at: 28°44’39.6″S 28°26’59.6″E
DAY TWO: Saturday, 21 March 2020
Black Mountain Pass
Day 2’s ride starts from Afriski, climbing up the old gravel road to the top of the ski slope, over the national road and to the highest point in Lesotho: 3222m. From there it follows a flowing, 10km long single track (90% downhill) known as Black Mountain Pass that winds its way down to the Malibamatso River at 2525m. The first technical downhill in this section is the REAL “Black Mountain Pass”, a rocky single track which advanced riders will find very challenging (most will walk the rocky first 100m, it is rideable (just) if the correct line is chosen. Expect great mountain vistas. From the Mali Bridge the ride continues 3km to Club Maluti where the second water point is located as well as the shuttle pick up for those not up for the challenge and long climb back up to Afriski. This is an essential stop in preparation for the brutal climb – 2830m to 3200m, riding Sunday’s Avalanche section backwards. Regular stops to catch one’s breath is essential as the air is very thin at this altitude. There is another water point 1km from the top of the ski lift. From here its free wheeling adrenaline all the way to the finish. A cold one or two await at the river finish (weather permitting).
- Distance: 35 km
- Intermediate: 6 hours
- Advanced: 4 hours
- Expert: 3 hours
- Exertion Level: 9/10
- Technical Difficulty: 6/10
- Scenery: 11/10
Start/Finish – Afriski Mountain Resort
DAY THREE: Sunday, 22 March 2020
Once again, the ride starts from Afriski and climbs up the old gravel road to the top of the ski slope. A 1,5km ride on the ridge takes you to the start of Goldilocks (3200m to 2525m). This challenging single track takes you down the Fanana River valley with a few stream crossings and a beautiful mountain feel. It’s an avalanche trail similar to European MTB experiences. Awesome enduro sections make up 25% of the ride, with minimal climbing and the remainder is mostly technical single track. Intermediates will ride it, but advanced riders will own it! The finish is 3km from the end of Goldilocks where a bike shuttle will bring you back to the top of the resort.
- Intermediate: 2.5 hours
- Advanced: 2 hours
- Expert: 1.5 hours
- Exertion Level: 6/10
- Technical Difficulty: 8/10 riding rock gardens and switchbacks
- Scenery: 9/10
Start – Afriski Mountain Resort
Finish – Club Maluti
Although there will be timing, it is not a race but rather a fun weekend out with your mates.
It probably won’t snow, but it is Lesotho so there is always a chance. There probably will be rain, so ride with a Helly Hanson. A waterproof and windproof jacket is essential. Bring another for the evenings which can get very fresh, even in summer.
Yes, we have our medical team from EMC and marshals will be connected by radio etc.
New regulations require all drivers to carry registration documentation for their vehicle, a bank letter allowing the driver permission to take the vehicle over the border and proof of insurance if financed. Technically you require the same for your trailer, but in our experience this has never been asked for before, although it is always better to be on the safe side.
Although you don’t really need a GPS for this race – and could legitimately follow the guy in front of you without it being creepy – you may want to use this as an excuse to buy one. If you already have a GPS definitely pack it as the route markings sometimes go missing. However, all routes will be mailed out before the event or can be uploaded at the start. We suggest you familiarise yourself with the main twists and turns before each race begins.
Yes, there will be spectator points along all routes and across all three days. GPS coordinates will be supplied at the start.
Afriski Mountain Resort offers a range of accommodation and catering options from backpackers to mountain chalets. View our accommodation options here. Alternatively, there are a number of B&Bs close to the border and in Lesotho itself. We recommend the below guest houses and bookings can either be done through our central reservations or directly.