The tight zig-zagging curves of Sani Pass make it, one of the most magnificent Mountain Passes in South Africa!
It ascends through the sheer cliffs of the Drakensberg, linking- KwaZulu Natal to the independent Country of Lesotho. The route up Sani Pass starts at 1,544 metres and climbs 1,332 m to an altitude of an outstanding- 2,876 m. Originally only a mule track, it is still a tortuous, hair-raising road today! The views from this altitude are nothing less than awe-inspiring though. There is snow and frozen Waterfalls in Winter, and a flourish of flowers in Summer.
This Pass was built in about 1950. It still remains a challenging drive even in 4x4 Vehicles with all the added adventure of different scenery, changing weather conditions.
On 26th October, 1948, Godfrey Edmonds (an ex Royal Air Force, Spitfire Pilot) was the first person to ever drive the Pass in a vehicle. This was before the Road was built. It took him five and a half Hours to reach the Summit and he was assisted by a team of Basotho's with mules, ropes and other equipment. (In those days, this achievement was akin to climbing Everest.) A company then formed in Motkhotlong, (a City and seat of Mokhotlong District, in the mountainous Northeastern part of Lesotho) called: " The Motkhotlong Mountain Transport Company". They would take curious adventurers on the amazing 1332m climb, up the Sani Pass. ( please look at Further Reading for the Link) This company does still exists today and they still do the Sani tour. (They now have however switched to Toyota Land Cruisers.)
The Sani Pass covers a portion of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park. This Park in itself is a World Heritage Site and known for its spectacular natural landscape. In fact, the Reserve has about 690 Rock Art Sites, and it is now known that the San lived in the Drakensberg on and off for at least 25 000 Years. The oldest Rock Paintings have been dated, as nearly 3 000 Years old. Sadly, the last of the San people disappeared from the Southern Drakensberg, around the 1870's. The images depict animals and human beings, and represent the spiritual life of the San people, representing an exceptionally coherent tradition that embodies their beliefs and cosmology over several Millennia.
SO WHY NOT TAKE A 4X4 ADVENTURE UP THE SANI PASS TO THE HIGHEST PUB IN AFRICA!