GPS Navigation at the Lesotho Sky

From the very first Lesotho Sky we have given the GPS route to our riders to use as reference. The route was always marked. This year however we are moving over to full GPS navigation. As such it is important that all riders know what is going on and have some sort of GPS device that works for them. You will require a GPS otherwise you will get lost.

What does this mean for you as a rider?

There will be no more spray paint on rocks, day-glow tape or arrows and markers on course anywhere – which is better from an environmental point of view and this also eliminates the possibility of the route signage and markers being changed in order to deliberately mislead riders before or while the stage is taking place.

You will be able to show friends and family exactly where you have ridden, what your stats were, etc.

Each rider will be required to have a navigation device. This will ensure that you do not get lost during the event and should you become separated from your partner you are still able to navigate the course correctly and safely. We have joined forces with EasyBike who will be our Official GPS Retailer, Information and Support Gurus. They will be able to answer questions leading up to the event. If you have any questions, you can also email them directly on

Need to buy a GPS with files uploaded?

If you don’t have a GPS yet, or you are looking to pick one up at a good price, EasyBike (Our GPS Partners) have a number of options available and they have some amazing offers available on Polar, Suunto, Garmin, Powertap, Sigma, Bryton GPS units. We use Garmin units here, so if you want any emergency help at the start line, rather use a garmin.

How to Upload to your device?

There will be two ways to upload routes to your device:

  • Using Garmin Connect Course links
  • The Google drive GPS files for manual use (All other users)
  1. Using Garmin Connect
  2. Google Drive File Download 

For those of you who are looking to download the files yourself and don’t require any assistance, the Google Drive links will be available from the Lesotho Sky newsletter.

Make sure you have the correct file format (GPX, FIT or TCX) for your GPS. If you download the wrong files you might not get all the added features that are available for your GPS. (Eg: Waterpoints, Virtual Partner etc) and it may not work.

What type of GPS do I need?

A GPS that can be mounted on a bike and that is able to upload tracks and allows you to follow these tracks.

What devices are recommended?

The list below is just a small selection of the suitable GPS navigation devices available. To find out if your GPS unit is suitable, you need to establish if it can upload GPX files to follow tracks. Go online to check, there are many forums and websites about the model you will be interested in. Simply type the name of your model and the word GPX and you will find all the info you need.

We are not endorsing any particular unit. You will also have to do some research to make sure you are happy. You will need to upload your tracks yourself, so make sure you can use it and done so before you arrive.



Ambit 2

Ambit 3



eTrex 10, 20, 30

eTrex Touch 35

Oregon 400, 450, 500, 600, 650, 610, 680

GPSMAP 62, 62s, 64, 64s

Montana 600, 610, 650, 680

Fenix, Fenix 2, Fenix 3, Fenix 3 HR

Tactix Bravo

Edge 20, 25, 200, 500, 510, 520, 800, 810, 820, 1000
Our goal is to provide you with a wonderful GPS experience regardless of which device you use – we will have a generic approach to GPS so that we include all users. Our recommendation is to get your GPS device soon and practise – it is easy. If you have an issue, please contact us.

Darol’s personal recommendation is an ETREX 10 – the simplest cheapest and easiest GPS to follow a track on.

Why do I need a special GPS unit and not my mobile phone?

Okay, this is a good question so follow carefully. You can theoretically use some apps on your mobile phone to link to GPS direct without requiring network signal, however, this is not optimal as there are many areas of the ride where data connection for mobile phones are non-existent. The GPS on a mobile phone unless connected to a network is not accurate at all and your phone might think you are on course when in fact you are way off course heading in the totally opposite direction. You will get lost at some stage or loose signal using your mobile phone!!!

  • Other reasons mobile phones are not appropriate as your main GPS device:
  • The battery on a mobile phone will run out quickly
  • The screen on a mobile phone times out to avoid the battery running out, so you need to keep activating the screen to come on which further wastes battery (and could be dangerous)
  • You will need to find a bike mount for your mobile phone, and if it rains most mobile phones are not waterproof
  • The screens are very difficult to see in the sun on most mobile phones
  • Mobile phones are not robust and if you do have a fall they could shatter, unlike GPS devices which are more rugged.

The idea is to use your mobile as a backup. Take it with you in case but do not rely on it. It is not a suitable substitute for a dedicated GPS device. Your GPS device is easy to see and follow, it will stay on at all times, it uses a fraction of the battery power, and it is designed for this purpose.

When will we receive the route files to upload to our GPS devices?

The week before the start. Please make sure you do this BEFORE you come to Lesotho. There will be very limited assistance at registration.

Do I need to upload maps on to my device?

NO and this is a big NO. Maps are not necessary – all you need to do if follow the route on your device. Maps are difficult to follow on a small device like a bike GPS and they chow battery. You are simply tracking a route each day and most devices have a warning to let you know you are off the route. Remember with GPS you could go wrong but you will never get lost!

How does GPS work?

You will have the route for each day uploaded in your device. You will select the day and off you go. You will follow what is called the “breadcrumb” track. If you go off the track most devices let you know that you are off, in addition you will see your arrow is off the track.

Will I have enough battery life?

You should have more than enough for each day and in some cases even more. Every manufacturer is different but try go for a device that has the longest battery life. Most modern units have very good battery life.

Will there be daily charging stations?

Yes there will be charging stations

Do both riders in the team have to have GPS?

Yes, not only does this help you navigate quicker by checking each other but also safer when racing. In fact, this is especially important for the racing snakes. Having two units lets you plan ahead. One rider can have a big view of what’s coming and the other rider zooms in.

What happens if my GPS runs out of battery life or stops working and I am on route?

You will need to follow your partner and other riders and we will have our off-road rescue partners ensuring all riders get back safely. This is also another reason why you and your partner both need a GPS.

What is stopping me from taking shorter routes?

We will be having checkpoints to ensure all riders are on track. This will also ensure we know if anyone is lost.

Which make of GPS is better?

We have tried a few makes from entry-level through to top-end and they all work well. The main thing to consider is your budget, your needs and their support level. Questions you should ask: do I want more than a GPS i.e. training, heart rate, power etc.

Can we get a GPS device on special through the event?

EasyBike will have all makes of units for sale


Go and practice!

Load a gps trail from where you train and see how the system you use works and what works for you.

Go out and ride, get the feel of following the GPS. This practice will go a long way when you face a choice of 3 different tracks all going a similar direction on the Lesotho Sky race.

Ultimately the best gps setup is one that you are used to and comfortable with. The only way of doing this is to practice.

We hope all of this helps, there will be big fines for anyone getting lost on the trail this year.