Country & Coastal Touring

Sani Pass Day Tour to Lesotho

I collected my clients early from their accommodation in Durban at 6am, and right away got onto the road heading west through the Valley of 1000 Hills and Pietermaritzburg towards Underberg and the Drakensberg mountains. It’s a 2,5 hour drive to Sani Pass,and since the area can be shrouded in mist and so slow you down, I always like to leave early just in case. But on this particular occasion the weather was beautiful and so our drive was without delay, a great start to our Sani Pass Day Tour to Lesotho!

Looking back from Sani Pass towards Durban (Natal).
Looking back from Sani Pass towards Durban (Natal).

Sani Pass Day Tour to Lesotho

Leostho is a landlocked country that’s situated at the top of the Drakensberg mountain range, in the middle of South Africa. Originally known as Basutholand, the country was founded by King Moshoeshoe I in 1822. At that point in local history, King Shaka was sending his Zulu impi’s here and there while creating the Zulu empire. Some of the affected people in these lands fled from King Shaka’s impi’s; one such group was the Basotho’s.

Looking toward the 12 Apostles and our destination at the top of Sani Pass
Looking toward the 12 Apostles and our destination at the top of Sani Pass

Sani Pass

Our Sani Pass tour started in Underberg where we transferred into 4×4 vehicles. We headed onto Sani Pass and made really good time to the South African border post. It’s a little confusing as this is not actually the border post proper, the actual border lies at the top of the pass, but it’s probably for convenience sake that the control post is situated where is it.

The lonely and rugged landscape of the Lesotho highlands
The lonely and rugged landscape of the Lesotho highlands

After having our passports stamped it was into the 4×4 vehicles and off we went slowly up Sani Pass, stopping only every now and again to enjoy the view.

The tour group stretching their legs and taking pictures of the fantastic scenery on Sani Pass
The tour group stretching their legs and taking pictures of the fantastic scenery on Sani Pass

Basotho Village

After about 2,5 hours we crawled up the last few meters of Sani Pass and entered into Lesotho. Our first stop up here was to visit a small Basotho village nearby. At the village it was explained to us how people survived in the Lesotho highlands which are inhospitable at the best of times. There was also some lovely bread being baked which we all had the opportunity to taste… delicious!

Local Basotho tribesman playing their scratch-built tin guitars while we're enjoying our lunch.
Local Basotho tribesman playing their scratch-built tin guitars while we’re enjoying our lunch.

The Highest Pub in Africa

After visiting the little village, we made our way towards the highest pub in Africa, Sani Pass Lodge. We sat ourside in the warm sun and just drank in the views while local Basotho’s played scratch built tin-can guitars, it all felt kind of surreal to be honest.

Eland on the slopes of the 'Berg along Sani Pass.
Eland on the slopes of the ‘Berg along Sani Pass.

Eland

Finally though it was time to get back into the vehicles and start the nail-biting journey to the base of Sani Pass. Along the way we were treated to the site of Eland grazing on the slopes of the mountain. Eland were considered to be mystical creatures by the Bushman people, the original inhabitants of Southern Africa.

 

Safely at the bottom we jumped back into our vehicle and headed to Durban after a fantastic day spent exploring Sani Pass and meeting the people of the Lesotho highlands.

Sani Pass Day Tours with Country and Coastal Touring

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Country and Coastal Touring are registered tour guides and tour operators based in the city of Durban, South Africa. We offer a number of day tours, overnight night tours and extended tours throughout South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal.