Sani Pass - Roof of Africa

by Ilze
(South Africa)

View down Sani Pass

View down Sani Pass

View down Sani Pass The going gets rough closer to the top Nearly there! Welcome to the highest pub in Africa!

Last year September I visited Sani Pass, it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced. The atmosphere that surrounds you when you are driving on this route is truly enough to give you an adrenalin rush.

Sani Pass is the only border post between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho. It is a popular entry route to Lesotho through the Natal Drakensberg Park. I never really liked heights and narrow, bumpy roads but this trip changed my view on this.

Although it sounds cliché it truly is not about the destination, it’s all about the journey. If you are a 4x4 enthusiast, in search of a fun adventure and a nature lover this route is definitely for you. Sani Pass is the highest road in South Africa and peaks at about 3200m above sea level.

The first stop we made on this trip was at the Cobham campsite, not far from the entrance of Sani Pass. The Cobham campsite was an unique experience with its basic facilities like ablution (4 toilets and 2 showers) and a small shop.

If you are planning to visit this rustic campsite, remember your jackets and thermal underwear. The chilly evenings may become a nightmare if you are not prepared.

It is situated near Himeville were you can arrange for day trips up Sani Pass with local tour guides. Here you can also fill up with fuel, book into a guest lodge (if you prefer a more comfortable sleep) and visit the museum for some cultural background of that region.

Since we went with our own four wheel drive vehicles we had an early start. The condition of the road was not as bad as we expected but we were quite surprised by the number of people also driving on this route.

The date of our trip happened to fall over a long weekend... Big mistake! The road was extremely busy and all the viewing points were crammed. Still we enjoyed the scenes as much as possible and made the best of a busy situation.

We went in two 4x4’s and as we proceeded up the pass we discovered that the vehicle with a smaller turning circle negotiated the turns better. The 4x4 with the wider turning circle had to make a few 3- point turns along the way.

When we reached the zigzag section of the pass the road got worse but was still manageable (I don’t want to experience this part in raining weather though).

Here we took some breath taking pictures. We were quite lucky because we had fantastic weather. The skies were blue and the view great.

When we reached the top- also known as the roof of Africa- the wind was blowing us apart but we decided that the trip was worth it and was definitely something we will do again (maybe during summertime when its greener).

We got a drink at the highest pub in Africa and admired the spectacular view while celebrating our successful accent up Sani Pass.

From Sani Pass we headed into Lesotho and discovered another world, another way of living. Lesotho is rich in tradition, culture and colour.

Most of the young people native to Lesotho have astonishingly good aim (all the stones thrown at us made us a bit nervous. They demand sweets as you drive by and if you do not give any they are inclined to throw stones)! The grown ups were very friendly though and did everything possible to make us feel welcome.

If you’re planning to tackle Sani Pass you might as well visit the rest of Lesotho, it really will be worth your while. Don’t forget your camera because it will be a trip you’d like to remember.

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Aug 18, 2010
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Sani Pass Article Review
by: Rinze

Great article Ilze! Thank you for contributing. I really found your article informative. Would you mind doing a review on your trip through Lesotho as well?

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