Separates the Drivers from the Wannabes
SANI PASS: The High Mountain Pass Road in South Africa that separates the brave drivers from the wannabes…
Listed as one of the most dangerous and famous hairpin roads in the world, the Sani Pass, is a zigzagging dirt road that takes visitors up and over the Southern Drakensberg Mountains into Lesotho, the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’.
IT CAN ONLY BE DRIVEN IN A 4X4
Driving up the Sani pass road into Lesotho is a daring, wild 4×4 road trip adventure. The road was built in 1950’s and remains a challenging drive throughout water potholes, narrow roads, rocks, fog, abrupt cliffs and plenty of scary twists and hairpin turns to the 2,876m above sea level top.
Most travellers leave the Underberg in the early hours of the morning and head up to the southern Drakensberg mountains for an adventurous day trip. It takes about 45 min. from the entrance of the Mkhomazi Wilderness area up to the South African Brother Post. The snaky dirt roads up to this point aren’t particularly challenging; it’s the road that follows that makes Sani Pass famous and a bucket-list road experience!
Once at the South African Post, getting through customs and immigration is quick and easy. From the SA Border Post, a 4X4 vehicle is necessary for this road, especially if the weather is poor. The road pass from this point can only be driven in a four-wheel-drive vehicle by above-average drivers, off-road motorbike or quad bike. Some even choose to leave their cars at the border and walk the last 8 km stretch to the top.
Border authorities will dictate if your vehicle is up to the challenge, as they have seen plenty of cars and drivers that did not succeed in navigating through the steep, slippery roads. Along the way, you’ll see debris from vehicles that weren’t so lucky and fail to make it safe to the top or back to the South African Border.
At 2,462m, halfway through the 8km of ‘No man’s land’, there is the notorious ‘Suicidal bend’. It has a heart-stopping panoramic view, packed with winding twists, plunging drops and tremor legs!
The Pass climbs over 800m in just under eight kilometres of length where temperatures change dramatically, and the unpredictable weather conditions increase the already challenging road condition and are the main reason for severe and often fatal accidents.
HIGHEST PUB IN AFRICA
After a steep 4×4 trail and nearly thirty switchbacks corners, it’s time to rest and enjoy the unique and breathtaking from the top with a well deserved Maluti Beer!
At the top is the Sani Mountain Lodge, the Highest Pub in Africa. The lodge offers excellent food, and accommodation to suit any budget; from upmarket and cosy Basotho rondavels to backpacking and camping facilities, a great option for those that would like to carry on exploring Lesotho the next day.
BACK ON THE ROAD TO SOUTH AFRICA
Going down the Sani Pass will test the skills, and courage, of any brave driver, and It’s certainly not for anyone afraid of highs or with fear of landslides. Fog will add to the challenge and fun while bouncing over rocks and trenches. The road is full of holes, loose rocks, gravel and hairpin bends that will give you an adrenaline rush, and make your stomach turn when you look over the side and see the drops to which you could fall if you made a flimsy miscalculation. Nevertheless, Sani Pass has been the best adventurous road experience I’ve ever had!!