The pass has 65 bends, corners and curves compressed within its length, and with a summit height of 2,277m ASL, it receives regular snowfalls. During very cold conditions ice might be present on the roadway, which is extremely dangerous even for 4WD vehicles. The route provides access to the Mohale and Katse dams as well as the town of Thaba Tseka.
Mohale Dam is a concrete faced rock-fill dam in Lesotho. It is the second dam, under Phase 1B of the series of dams of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), which will eventually include five large dams in remote rural areas of Lesotho and South Africa. The project has been built at a cost of US$1.5 billion.
The Mohale Dam was awarded the 2005 Fulton Awards by the Concrete Society of South Africa as having the "Best Construction Engineering Project and Best Construction Technique."
Evolution of the LHWP was first initiated in the early 1950s by Sir Evelyn Baring, the South African High Commissioner to Lesotho. He realized the importance of the large water resources potential of the country, the only natural resource of the land-locked country. Subsequently, Sir Peter Ballenden, Director of Public Works, requested Ninham Shand, an engineer from Cape Town, to examine the potential of the project as a possible means to supplement the water supply needs in South African gold mines.
In 1983, the World Bank began implementing the project. Phase I covered some of the key strategic components of the project, while Phase IB's financing covered not only engineering design and supervision of the main works but an institutionalized framework with a panel of experts in the field of engineering and the environmental and social aspects of the project. The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the European Investment Bank (IIB), and Export Credit agencies were also approached to finance the project.
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) was established, with the objective of supplying water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and for hydroelectric power to meet the needs of Lesotho. A treaty signed between the government of Lesotho and South Africa gave the green light for the project, and the team was set up to implement the project.
Thaba-Tseka is a district of Lesotho. Thaba-Tseka is also the name of the district's capital or camptown, which is the only town in the district. The district is one of the major tourist attractions in Lesotho because of the second largest arch dam in Africa - the Katse Dam.
As of 2016, the district had a population of 135,347 which was 6.92 per cent of the total population of the country. Most provisions and fuel are available at the town.
Next week: God Help Me Pass
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Pass of the week:
We head off to the dusty plains of the central Karoo near Beaufort West where a cluster of gravel passes await those who are willing to get some dust on their vehicles. This one was built by Thomas Bain.
* * * * * DE JAGERS PASS * * * * *
Thought for the day: "People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” – Edmund Hillary