When I was given a chance to drive Baboon’s Pass in Lesotho as part of a group tour organised by Riaan Jooste of Complete 4x4, I was extremely interested. I had heard it was tough, and at times Grade-5 tough, but definitely something to tick off one’s bucket list. So, I had a look at some videos on YouTube - and particularly one from Andrew St. Pierre White, who had driven a stock-standard Land Rover Discovery 4 up this 26km obstacle-course. (He did have two Defenders on call, both shod with 33-inch tyres.)

I thought that, in comparison, my Hilux Legend 45 D-4D manual was pretty well-kitted out: it had a suspension lift and upgrade, replacement bumpers front and rear, and a set of 265/70 R17 mud-terrain tyres.

Not a lot of information is available about Baboon’s Pass, and much of it underestimates the severity of the terrain available - calling it mostly Grade 3, with an occasional rougher section. One magazine even said the pass “used to” be rough. Well, in that case, I think I might have driven the wrong pass. It is tougher than tough – full stop!

The pass was apparently built in the 1960s so that supplies could be delivered to the missionaries in the valley. They used to drive trucks down the road; but in the last couple of decades, there has been little-to-no maintenance on this stretch. Rain and snowfalls have eroded sections, and rocks weighing over a ton have blocked the passage. And, with the next rainy season around the corner, I guess it will get just that much tougher.

The journey starts

The bunch of adventurers who had signed on for this challenge - timed for mid-March to miss the winter rains -

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from SA4x4

SA4x43 min readFood & Wine
Outdoor cooking demands a special kind of rugged pot. It needs to be versatile, easy to clean, and have the ability to take repeated knocks when being transported. On top of that, the pot or pan must take up the minimum of space and be as light as po
SA4x43 min read
THE GIRAFFE: Standing tall
Given that 21 June was ‘World Giraffe Day’, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to share something about these iconic animals with you. The giraffe – the name is believed to be derived from the Arab word zarafa meaning ‘fast walker’ – ha
SA4x44 min read
Ford Ranger Raptor
What a blast! If you are a fan of spirited off-road driving, there is much to like about Ford’s just-released Ranger Raptor. The Raptor has been elevated to a performance class of its own by the Aussie engineers who did the development work, and it’s