If you are a first timer planning to spectate at the Roof, there are some things to consider that could make your experience more enjoyable. Here’s a few suggestions, based on my previous experiences:
Check your map book carefully and plan your route to enter Lesotho at a smaller border post, further from Maseru. Because of its close proximity to Maseru most travellers tend to assume that the border post at Maseru Bridge is the best option. Problem is, this results in long queues and long delays. Especially at Roof time! Better options may be Caledonspoort or Peka, if you are travelling from Gauteng.
Be aware that Lesotho can, and often does, experience 4 seasons in a day – time of year doesn’t seem to matter. Take some warm clothes, cool clothes and rain proof kit. Carry it in a daypack wherever you go. Trust me, you will more than likely need it.
You are travelling in Africa, so poverty is an unfortunate reality. As a result, petty crime can be an issue. Don’t leave valuables unattended or visible in a parked car. Lock stuff out of sight in the boot. For that matter behave as you would in Jo’burg.
Respect the local traffic regulations and posted limits. Knocking a child or other pedestrian over will destroy your weekend and possibly your life. You may be on holiday but don’t be tempted to drink and drive. The consequences are just not worth it! Plenty of time to party in the right place and at the right time if you must.
Don’t rely on a McDonald’s on every corner. South Africans have a history of being inventive with “padkos”. Pack some provisions for the day. If you find some preferable nosh along the way you can always bless a local with your stash. Have sufficient drinking water with you as well.
If you plan on “parking off” along the route, a folding chair is a huge asset. Just remember that you may need to lug it a distance, so your Gomma Gomma lounger is not ideal!
Those versed in African travel will also appreciate the importance of packing a roll of “wit goud”, or toilet paper, as it is less commonly known. You never can tell when nature will call, or, as my late Mom used to say, “a donkey kicks you”.
As with anywhere in Africa, the sun can beat the hell out of you. Pack your sun block, shades and headgear. A shirt with a collar is often a better option than a T. While we are talking clothes, wear “sensible shoes”. You are likely to do a lot of walking over uneven terrain. If you want to get close to the action, “uneven” is putting it mildly!
A fan park is planned at the top of Bushmans, where the action at this years Roof is likely to be centred. Bear in mind that ALL the competitors and ALL the spectators have to make their way up the same road. Inevitably this can create significant traffic. These roads are also not conducive to speeding, in fact, doing so could put lives at risk.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination as roads are congested at the best of times. During the Roof this congestion goes to another level. If you’re staying in Maseru, the traffic in and out of town to get to and from Bushmans, can be hectic. 35k’s can take more than an hour – so leave early if you want to catch the start. I know travel times are mentioned, but the start at 6:00 AM catches everyone out and puts them on the back foot for the rest of the day.
International ‘roaming’ can be massively expensive, rather buy a local Sim card. Econet are supplying free Sim Cards to all competitors to carry with them in the race and Econet will be selling sims and airtime at Registration as well as the various venues. Weekly data bundles are really good value.
For ‘Round the Houses’, the roads in and around central Maseru will be blocked from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM – so, get to a spectating spot early. Also, be careful at Round the Houses and don’t sit on the outside of turns as the riders are sending it on tar roads…with off-road tyres!
Support local tourism by buying provisions locally and don’t bring goods across the border illegally… Maluti is great beer!
If you are a photo buff, you need to assess your equipment carefully. Dust and rain are definite factors. Remember too that you must lug your kit around all day.
Finally, ZA Bikers have been appointed as the ‘Official Media Partners’ for the 2017 MOTUL Roof of Africa. They will be reporting from the event, and will be sending out ‘News’ as it comes in. You can stay up-to date with all things ‘Roof’ by downloading the ZA Bikers App! Available to download for FREE, on both the App Store & Google Play store (you will need data on your mobile device for this to work, so plan ahead).
You can download ‘Spectator Maps’… HERE <<
Programme of Events:
You can download ‘Programme of Events’… HERE <<
The Motul Roof of Africa richly deserves its reputation as “the Mother of hard Enduros”. Plan thoroughly and you will have an absolute blast. See you there!