Sani Pass Weekend Getaway

We read an article in Getaway about how Sani Pass was to be tarred! Well it only took a couple of seconds for us to decide that we had to get up there with the Jeep asap!

We booked camping at Sani Mountain Lodge, where they have rondawels, as well as The Highest Pub in Southern Africa. We love camping and thought it would be awesome to camp on top of the mountain in the freezing cold and wilderness, seriously, we love that kind of thing!

We travelled down on a Friday evening from Heidelberg and broke the journey by staying at Bullers Rest Lodge, a friends place in Ladysmith.  We highly recommend this place, not because they are friends, because it is fantastic. Loads of character, great friendly service and affordable too.

The next morning we headed to Sani Pass via Howick and Himeville.  It was a beautiful day and the views were amazing. Could have done with loads more time. Had a quick stop in at The Pickle Pot for a refreshing drink.

We went through the border and everywhere you looked there was something beautiful; mountains, birds, wild flowers, little waterfalls and streams. A malachite sunbird kept us rather busy trying to get a decent shot.

Now just 3 weeks before, there had been the awful landslides towards the top of the pass, which actually had the road closed off. It was now clear and we couldn’t wait to get up there!

Suddenly the mist started rolling in and we could hardly see a thing, which is slightly disconcerting when you are going to be 4×4-ing over landslide remains and have a steep drop off! At one point as we got to a hairpin bend, we were not 100% sure we were actually on the road, as it was so covered in rocks. It was awesome!

So we got to the most dodgy border post where there was a poster about a young man wanted for cannibalism. Nice.  We drove a bit along the road and work on the roads by the Chinese is clearly in full swing.  We turned around and went to the campsite which is a short walk from the lodge.  It was surrounded by the locals huts and there was no flat ground, lots of rocks, mud and the smell of goat wee.  We had a peak inside the backpackers, which seemed clean, but felt dark and a bit odd and soul-less even though there was a fire lit in the lounge area. I’m not your average girly girl, I can rough it and I love being outdoors, but there was a line.  My darling fiance booked us into a rondawel and we settled ourselves into the cosy pub with a pint of Maluti.

There is no electricity in the rondawels, which is no problem as they give you solar lamps and a gas heater.  Apparently some of the rondawels have log burners, and I would recommend requesting one of those. It was 31 January, and it was cold! They give you so many thick blankets though that once you in bed it’s cosy.

The next morning before breakfast we took a walk towards the edge where we spotted some donkeys, and ourselves in a rainbow.  Ahhhh …

Neither of us had been to Lesotho, so we decided to delay picking up our dogs that evening and spend the day driving back home via Lesotho. An absolutely stunning drive, we could have stopped about 100 times more than we did, just to sit and look and the vastness and beauty of it all.  It would be the absolute middle of nowhere and you would see a few cows followed by the herdsman.  Even more bizarre, was spotting their tiny stone and thatch huts right on the very tip of a mountain!

If you have the opportunity to do this trip – do it, and make a long weekend of it. Actually, just MAKE the opportunity!


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