Sani Pass, Lesotho

That small dot in the middle of a map of South Africa is not a lake or a mistake, but a tiny country called Lesotho, and we decided to visit it. The drive from Kwa-Zulu Natal up into the Drakensburg Mountains is breath-taking and even more so when you drive up Sani Pass and cross the border into mountainous Lesotho.  You need an appropriate vehicle to drive up Sani Pass so we parked our car at the start of it and, for a small fee, were picked up by someone at Sani Mountain Lodge to drive us the last 20km to the top.  A very bumpy and hair-raising ride soon had us through the border and gazing out onto the most beautiful view.

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We stayed in the dorm rooms at Sani Mountain Lodge for NZ$20 each, they were pretty basic, but adequate. It would have been nicer to stay in the rondavels (huts) but these were a lot more expensive.  It will have to wait for next time!  Sani Mountain Lodge is also home to the highest pub in Africa, where we enjoyed a few beers in the evening.

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We spent our time going on short hikes near the Lodge, which were incredibly beautiful. Watch out for the fog though!  It rolls in really fast in the evening and you can easily get lost and walk off a ledge.  The difference between South Africa and Lesotho was really stark, the terrain for one, but the people both acted and dressed very differently to the people in South Africa.  We loved it.  We ended our time on Sani Pass by walking down the Pass itself, which made for some nice views.

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The fog rolling in

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Our brief time in Lesotho was wonderful and stunning, and made us realise that there was so much more to explore in this tiny mountainous country. Cost wise, it is cheap if you stay in the dorms but more mid-range if you want to stay somewhere nicer.  For us it was approximately NZ$40 (US$30) per day.  More if you want to do activities like pony riding in the mountains.  Next time I plan to spend more time exploring this place!

Editor’s Note: Visited Lesotho in 2010, updated in 2017.

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