FKT: Hanno Langenhoven - Injisuthi - Corner Pass - Mafadi - Leslie's Pass Loop (South Africa) - 2020-10-17

Route variation
Standard loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
13h 36m 7s

Running solo to the highest point of South Africa was a blast. The morning started early (03:00 AM) to have enough time to drive to Injisuthi camp. The gate opened a little late, but by 05:45 I was out on the trail. The start is straight forward, down the road to the trail head and a gentle entrance to the right for the trail proper. Navigation was easy and trail open due to a raging recent bush fire.

The first 8km went swimmingly, that was till the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. What a monster! It felt like I hit an early pass. Luckily it ended and not long after I was surprised by Centenary Hut which is well hidden behind a little rise. Not know the area I was a little confused on how to get to Corner Pass as it is hidden from sight. I got it figured out, stepped of the trail and started straight towards the mountain. Over the hill and Corner Pass was visible in all its splendour. The little scramble in Corner Pass past the choke stone was easy enough and not long after I emerged at the top. I was grateful to see a river just below the top of the pass on the Lesotho side with some flowing water.

I was stoked to find the anti-climactic, as some calls it, climb to the top of Mafadi and South Africa. Although not technical and on a well worn trail, the climb was still substantial. Took me a while to the top but I was happy to finally looking down into South Africa after 6 hours and 30 minutes. From here it was technically all downhill to the end. First I dropped into a beautiful valley on the Lesotho side of the border and traversed the top of the mountain next to a flowing river which afforded plenty of opportunity to drink and refill.

A small climb finally took me out of the valley to the top of Leslie's Pass and the way back to Injisuthi camp. From here everything became very technical very quickly. The pass is extremely steep and the footing not great which meant I slipped and slid to the bottom. The going just got harder due to the overgrown nature of the trail and my legs took a proper beating from all the grass, branches and plants growing on the trail. I was relieved to finally reach middle Marble Baths from where the trail opened up a little bit.

At this stage I was seriously running out of daylight, which was a concern because I forgot my headlamp in the car. I reached 40.5km before the light finally dimmed too much for me to see and the last 1500m I did with the assistance of a lit-up cellphone's screen. What a marvelous day out it turned out to be.