Free State Tourist AttractionsMoteng Pass
Where? Moteng Pass lies in Lesotho, accessed along the R711 from Fouriesburg in the Free State, via the border at Caledonspoort.
It lies in the Maloti Mountains at a height of 2820 metres above sea level, a steep tarred pass that is one of two connecting the town of Butha-Buthe with the diamond mining town of Mokhotlong (the other pass is Mahlasela Pass).
What makes it so spectacular, and differentiates it from the subsequent two passes on the same road, is the extent of the ascent. The pass climbs continuously for almost 25 km, gaining 1113 metres in the process.
Avid 4X4 drivers warn of the heavy winter snowfalls that are characteristic of Moteng Pass, because it lies so high. To reach the summit involves a series of steep climbs interspersed with gentle bends until the sign indicating 2 840 metres, which is the only way that you know you have reached the top.
Most of this passage is on good tarred road, so unless the weather is particularly dire and the roads slippery the journey is relatively easy, despite the accelerated climb. Things only deteriorate after the Afriski Resort where there are only patches of tar in amongst the sand and potholes; the road between Oxbow Lodge and Mokhotlong is riddled with potholes.
From up on the summit of Moteng Pass the views are incredible. The sky here is always at its bluest for some reason, the air clearer and more crisp (particularly in the colder months).
The Mahlasela Pass, which elevates to 3222 metres above sea level, is not far from the Moteng Pass if you continue on the same road.
In summary: a beautiful pass to drive, but be vigilant during winter as the road gets very slippery.