Lesotho is a mountain Kingdom situated some 250km’s or so west of Durban. This small country is home to some of the friendliest people you could find in Africa, the Basotho people. Right now Lesotho is going through a bit of a turbulent period, this however, didn’t stop us from enjoying a fantastic Sani Pass Tour from Durban.

View fromt he top of sani pass to the east

View from the top of Sani Pass towards the east.

Sani Pass Tour from Durban

We picked our clients up from their accommodation in Durban at 6am. It is an early start, but we were prepared with coffee and muffins. It wasn’t long before we were on the open road heading towards the Drakensberg mountains.

The Sani Pass was used for years (and even today) by traders who carried goods up and down the Sani Pass using donkeys. Standing at the top, I’m not sure which is more perilous, going down on donkey or in a 4×4 vehicle!

traveling up sani pass

Traveling up Sani Pass

Switching to 4×4’s at the start of the Pass

The first attempt to drive a vehicle was in October 1948 when a chap by the name of Godfrey Edmonds who was assisted by a teams of Basotho people, mules and ropes. Apparently the attempt took him some 5 hours! Fortunately in our modern 4×4 vehicles the trip goes a little faster.

We made good time and arrive in the town of Underberg where we transferred into 4 x 4 vehicles for the trip up the pass. The weather was perfect for the trip, beautiful blue skies and a mild temperature; you couldn’t ask for better on our Sani Pass Day Tour from Durban!

common eland on the sani pass

Common Eland on the Sani Pass

The climb up the Sani Pass is always fun. You get the most amazing views, and every now and again you get to see something unusual and fascinating. On this trip we not only got to see Eland (the 2nd largest antelope) but we also got a see a “puffadder”! There were also some vultures way off circling in the distance but I couldn’t tell species, they were just too far away.

The Basotho People of Lesotho

The word “Lesotho” loosely translates into “the land of the people who speak Sesotho“. The small village at the top of Sani Pass was our next destination. We all bundled into the small beehive hut and immediately the smell of freshly baked bread reminded everyone of how hungry we were.

the basotho people of lesotho

Basotho people of Lesotho.

We got to enjoy some of the bread, and we learnt a little about the Basotho people. I’m amazed that they are able to carve out a life in this very arid and desolate part of the country, and do so while still smiling and laughing!

 Sani Mountain Lodge

After finishing off with these inspiring Basotho people, we headed off to our lunch spot, the Sani Mountain Lodge. Here at the “Highest Pub in Africa” we tucked into some curries. I’ll admit I also had a glass of absinthe (but it was purely for the warmth you understand).

a 4x4 vehicle negotiating the bends down the top of sani pass

A 4×4 vehicle negotiating the hairpin bends down the top of Sani Pass

Finally though it was time to make our way back down the pass and head back for Durban. I love the drive up the pass, but the drive down is pretty exhilarating as well, there’s some incredible hairpin bends that will have you a bit white-knuckled, but it’s definitely fun.

the flag of lesotho at the lesotho border post

The flag of Lesotho at the Lesotho border post


For more information about our Sani Pass Tour, or for information about any of the other tours we offer, feel free to contact us via our contact page or by using the firm below.

Country and Coastal Touring are registered tour guides and operators. We are based in the city of Durban and conduct a number of Day Tours, Overnight Tours and Multi-Day Tours country wide.

Telephone: +27(0)317623374

Email: info@cctouring.co.za

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