My experiences of travelling in Southern Africa 1995/96
- In no way is this information an accurate and up to date guide.
buy a Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, for example, travel book for
the countries you wish to visit.
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The pass is the only road into the country of Lesotho (pronounced
from Kwazulu Natal. Durban is in the region of Kwazulu Natal and it
the Zulu tribe's area of South Africa. As it climbs higher the Sani
Pass becomes a series of short steep straights joined by hair pin
bends. Originally, to some extent still, it was used as a trading
These days it is renowned for traffic in 'Dagaar' (pronounced
dacharr), or Cannabis.
On the day I decided to travel up the pass, with a local tour
company, Sani Tours (who give a special rate for backpackers) we
were accompanied by a television
crew who were filming for South African Television.
The Land Rover which took us up the pass
Sani Tours' office is just around the corner from Sani Lodge so it
for me, very reasonable rates too. There was myself, a family of four
the three members of the television crew on this day's trip up the
About twenty minutes after we had started we came to the first
Good Hope Stores. At the turn of this century these 'stores' were a
trading post for merchants travelling to and from Lesotho via Sani
Good Hope Stores
We stopped here long enough for the camera crew to take a few shots
being talked to by our guide and of the buildings. Then the steep
started, the next two photos show a view back down the pass and the
Rover stopped while the camera crew did some 'creative stuff'. The
one should give you an indication of the steepness and condition of
road on the top half of the pass, it did get worse than this!
The South African Border Post on Sani Pass is actually eight
from the border with Lesotho. If you are planning to go up the pass
forget your passport!
Once at the top this was our immediate view
As we had just climbed a section of the Drakensburg Mountains it was
cooler now we were in Lesotho. As you can see from the above photo we
almost in the clouds! Once we had looked around 'Sani Top' (above) we
a small distance into Lesotho itself to a large sheep shearing
and the surrounding village.
The shearing factory
Tyical Lesothan village housing
A local woman manually makes flour for breadmaking
The road to Mokhotlong
After we had looked around the sheep shearing barn, which absolutely
and the village, we went back to Sani Top. It is here you'll find
Hotel, with the highest bar in Africa, indeed Sani Pass is the
in Africa. At the bar I sampled the local beer which isn't at all
is the view from the main window in the bar:
Inqisitive local children
After a good home cooked lunch and some more beer we made the journey
down to the border to re-enter South Africa. The border shuts at
each day and we only made it there with a couple of minutes to spare
just say descent to the border was a lot faster than
The day after my fun up Sani Pass I spent doing meanial things like
washing etc, I travelled back to Durban the next day - looking
the cricket. The Test Match was rained out after two and half days -
match drawn. I stayed in Durban for a couple more days then got a lift to
Elizabeth with three people who were travelling on to Cape Town,
would be in two weeks. Port Elizabeth was the location for England's
Test Match in the series of five. The match was to start on Boxing Day (26.12.95).
South African Diary Index
Last Updated on 18 th April 1996 at 20:50:28
All images ©1995, 1996 Ian Simmins
© 1996 Ian Simmins