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Sani Pass

Sani Pass: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Durban: Lesotho Highlights 4-Day Trip with Meals

1. From Durban: Lesotho Highlights 4-Day Trip with Meals

Itinerary Day 1: Depart at 08:00 from Durban and head to the aptly named town of Underberg under the Drakensberg mountains. In our guided 4wd vehicle in Underberg we proceed into Lesotho Via Sani Pass The Sani Pass climbs from 1500m to 2874m ASL. The famous switchbacks overlooking the South African valleys are spectacular. Go on a hike of the escarpment overlooking the Sani Pass or pony trek along the cliffs. Day 2: Climb further to the top of Black Mountain Pass at 3240m ASL. The remote villages of the Sani Top and Mokhotlong areas are some of the most remote villages in Lesotho. Get an inside look at the people living in this tough environment with a visit to a village. Picnic lunch is over a beautiful vista of the Senqu river, which becomes the Orange river in South Africa. An important river for several Southern African countries makes the perfect lunch stop. The route from Sani Top to Thaba Bosiu is often called the Roof of Africa route, we have already conquered the Sani Pass as well as Black Mountain Pass. After lunch we tackle Taeeng pass at 3225m and Motebong pass at 2820m. Along the way you will see Letseng Diamond mine–the world’s highest diamond mine and Afriski Moutain Resort and countless villages and other picturesque scenes. We will head to our overnight accommodation in Hlotse. Check-in at Bird Haven at approx. 18:00. Day 3: Breakfast at 07:00, departure at approx. 08:00-30. We backtrack slightly to visit a riverbed close to our overnight accommodation, where there is evidence of prehistoric life forms. If the river is in flood these ancient footprints are hidden to the world but usually the water levels are low enough for us to look at the Dinosaur Footprints We now leave the main road to Maseru and travel to the Kome Caves, home to modern cave-dwellers, these caves were originally inhabited by clans escaping the Lifqane wars and cannibalism. We make our way to Thaba Bosiu along the back roads which go through many rural villages. Thaba Bosiu is a cultural centre of utmost importance to Lesotho and its history. From Thaba Bosiu we drive into the capital city Maseru for lunch at approx. 13:00, this gives one a good understanding of modern-day city life in Lesotho and its mix with Lesotho’s strong culture. By 15:00, We head back into the highlands of Lesotho going through the Mantsa Pass to highland town of Semonkong. Check-in at Semonkong at approx. 17:30 Day 4: Breakfast at 7:30am Hike/4wd Drive to the Maletsunyane Falls Depart the Lesotho highlands via passes that enter South Africa at Qacha’s Nek. We snake our way through the last remote villages of Lesotho. We cross the Senqu river again–which we first saw on day 1 and then follow it along the Senqu river valleys toward the border town of Qachas Nek. Once back in South Africa we are normally in Matatiele around 13:00 for lunch. From Matatiele we skirt alongside the Drakensberg mountains and return to Underberg along scenic back roads, returning usually around 15:00-16:00

From Underberg: Sani Pass Day Tour

2. From Underberg: Sani Pass Day Tour

The Sani Pass is regarded by some as having the most spectacular views in South Africa. Originally a bridle path, it has become a ‘bucket list’ experience that is not to be missed. Walls of sandstone, cascading rivers, and hair-raising bends are just some of the highlights as your 4x4 vehicle takes you through the Barrier of Spears and into the Kingdom of Lesotho.  Visit a living Basotho village and meet its people for a true cultural experience. The highest pub in Africa welcomes you with a hearty lunch and refreshments before your journey back down the pass to Underberg. 

From Durban: Sani Pass and Lesotho by 4WD Vehicle

3. From Durban: Sani Pass and Lesotho by 4WD Vehicle

Benefit from pickup at a location of your choice in Durban, and then make your way to the historic city of Pietermaritzburg, capital of KwaZulu Natal. Take a short sightseeing tour to see the statue of Mahatma Gandhi by City Hall. Then, venture into the Drakensberg Mountains on the amazing Sani Pass into Lesotho. Travel along the 33-kilometer gravel road that straddles the sheer cliffs in a series of tight zig-zag curves. Marvel at the dramatic landscape as you head from the Sani Pass Hotel, 1,566 meters above sea level. Be amazed as your 4WD Land Rover navigates the narrow road across the border post with Lesotho. Get spectacular views of the rolling hills and endless sky. Reach the top of the Sani Pass, 3,240 meters above sea level. Enjoy a hot lunch at the highest pub in Africa, and then meet the native Basotho people in a local village to learn about their everyday lives. Make your way back down the mountain to cross the boarder back into South Africa.

Sani Pass and Mokhotlong in Two Days

4. Sani Pass and Mokhotlong in Two Days

Day One:  Depart from Underberg, or be collected along the route, in a 4x4 vehicle and travel via the Sani Pass, with a stop for early tea at Sani Top Chalet. Travel up Black Mountain Pass for a short walk to a vantage point to view Thabana Ntlenyana, the highest peak in Southern Africa at 3482 meters. Continue on to Mokhotlong via the stunningly beautiful Sehonghong Valley and stop at 10 Riverside for an ethnic Basotho experience, including a visit to the Ngaka, a traditional healer, and the artifact house. Afterward, go to Mokhotlong for dinner and your overnight stay. Day Two:  After breakfast, drive through Mokhotlong, which was once billed as the most remote village in the British Empire. Stop for a short walk down the main road to view the rare Spiral Aloe, the National plant of Lesotho. Travel to St James Mission to see the fascinating ceiling of their church. Drive back up the Sehonghong Valley, looking for the rare Bearded Vulture on the route. Reach Sani Top and go for lunch at the Sani Top Chalet before descending the Sani Pass back to Underberg.

From Durban: 2-Day Lesotho Guided Trip with Lodging & Meals

5. From Durban: 2-Day Lesotho Guided Trip with Lodging & Meals

It’s the perfect mix of nature, culture and history; enjoy Lesotho’s natural flora and fauna, driving past Lesotho’s highest peak, dive into the culture of the Basotho people in this historical trading post and take a peek into history by getting to see the beautiful old buildings that pack lots of history into this small village. Lesotho is the only country in the world that is in its entirety above 1000m in elevation, making this an experience that you cannot enjoy anywhere else in the world! This tour ticks all these boxes – nature, culture and history – all in Lesotho, all in one day. 6.30 AM We pick you up from your accommodation in Durban. 2 9.00 AM We arrive in Undeberg, grab a coffee and head up into Lesotho for the day. 3 9.00 AM We head up to the highest pass in South Africa, Sani Pass. We travel through Himeville to the World Heritage Site of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, following the Mkomazana River up the scenic Sani Valley to the South African Border Post (border formalities) and the Lesotho Border. 4 10.30 AM After the Lesotho border formalities at the top of Sani Pass, we climb even further into the Lesotho highlands, all the way to the top of the Black Mountain pass. 5 11.00 PM At the top of Black Mountain Pass we get a chance to leave our vehicle, climb a short distance to a beautiful viewpoint of Thabana Ntlenyana. 6 12.30 PM We arrive in the town of Mokhotlong and enjoy lunch together 7 1.00 PM We visit a cultural Basotho village OR go horse-rinding into the Lesotho Highlands 8 2.00 PM We make our back to Sani Pass. 9 5 PM We watch the sun go down on the top of Black Mountain Pass before making our way to overnight accommodation DAY 2 1 8.00 AM After a hearty breakfast, we join up with you again for day two’s activities. 2 8.30 AM Choose between a visit to a cultural village, a hike at the top of Sani Pass or Come back down the pass to explore the villages of Underberg and Himeville and its museum. 3 12:15 PM We arrive back in Underberg, in time for lunch, if you aren’t in a hurry we’ll choose the best spot in Underberg to have lunch together. 4 13:15 PM Head back to Durban.

Sani Pass: Day Tour from Durban

6. Sani Pass: Day Tour from Durban

Beginning early at 6:00AM from the coastal city of Durban, your professional driver will collect you from your hotel in a well maintained vehicle, before you head out of the city towards the mountains. After passing the historical city of Pietermaritsburg, your tour will turn towards the Southern Drakensberg Mountain Range. For the next hour you will pass through mountains and valleys, which are dotted with small rural villages steeped in traditions. At approximately 9:00AM, you will arrive at the tiny mountain town of Underberg, which lies at the base of the Sani Pass. Here you will transfer to a comfortable 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Without a doubt, the Sani Pass is one of the most spectacular and scenic mountain passes in Africa. It lies between the Southern Drakensburg Mountains and the landlocked country of Lesotho, and your highly experienced and professional guide will take you through the South African border control. For the next 8 kilometers, the gravel road winds steeply up the pass towards the summit of the Drakensberg to the Lesotho border post. The sharp bends and panoramic mountains make this a photographer's paradise, in an area which has been described as "Southern Africa's Switzerland". Once there you will visit a local living Basotho village where you can learn about their customs and traditions. This village was originally built to care for the shepherds in the mountains, who tend flocks the year round, you may even be lucky to catch a glimpse of these tough blanket-clad men. Following this you will head towards the "highest pub in Africa" for some well earned refreshments, and perhaps even a taste of the local Maluti Beer if so inclined. Following your adventure is a gentle drive back to Durban, which will will see you at your destination at approximately 6:30PM depending on weather and traffic conditions.

From Durban: Sani Pass, Lesotho and Basotho Village Day Trip

7. From Durban: Sani Pass, Lesotho and Basotho Village Day Trip

Pack your passport and head up into the Mountain Kingdom for the day. At 3,240 meters (10,630 feet) above sea level, Lesotho can get a tad icy so wrap yourself up in an authentic Basotho blanket, which is yours for the day. You'll be taught how the blanket is tied and worn. After pickup from Durban or other available locations in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, make your first stop at Himeville, at the base of the mountains. Here, climb into a rugged 4x4 and meet your specialist Basotho guide who knows the Sani Pass like the back of his hand. Then, embark on the steep climb up the scenic and daunting Sani Pass as you make your way towards Lesotho. Get your passport stamped at the border and head into no-mans-land which connects South Africa to Lesotho. Keep your camera on standby as you don’t want to miss a chance to capture these dramatic vistas. If you’re lucky, you may even score an eland sighting. Elands are believed to be mystical animals that were revered by the SAN or bushman people of Southern Africa. Once you enter Lesotho, your guide will introduce you to a Basotho village where you have the opportunity to try traditional bread and beer. Tip: the bread goes wonderfully well with the soup of the day at the pub nearby. Tick another thing off your bucket list by enjoying lunch at Africa’s highest pub (own cost). Later, it'll be time to head back the mountain for your drive back to eThekwini/Durban for drop-off at your accommodation.

From Underberg: 5 Day 4 Night Lesotho Overland Private Tour

8. From Underberg: 5 Day 4 Night Lesotho Overland Private Tour

Underberg to Oxbow on Day 1 Around 9:00 a.m., we will depart from Underberg and go toward the notorious Sani Pass, where your journey through Lesotho will begin. Before visiting a Basotho household to learn more about the way of life of the Mountain People of Lesotho, we will first have an early lunch at the Sani Mountain Lodge (The Highest Pub in Africa). You will get to view a lot of the Lesotho Highlands on the way to your overnight lodging, passing the Letsing Diamond Mine and Lesotho's highest pass, Tlaeeng. You will spend the night at the cozy Oxbow Lodge, which is tucked away high in the Maluti Mountain Range and gives visitors a genuine taste of African mountain life. Day 2: Katse - Oxbow On Day 2, we travel to the utterly stunning Katse Dam. You will have the option to get out of the car on the way there and learn more about the Bushmen who lived in this region by looking at their more than 300-year-old paintings. We'll also stop by an Anglican Church job program and sheltered workshop. Young Basotho women have been taught cooking and needlework skills as well as how to spin and weave mohair from the mountain goats that reside in Lesotho since 1911 by the Sisters of the Holy Name. We move back up into the mountains near Katse Dam after descending in height. There, we decide to have lunch in a lovely location. Day 3: Mohale - Katse On Day 3, we will begin the morning with a trip within the wall of the Katse Dam, which is the second-largest dam in Africa and is a concrete arch dam on the Malibamat'so River in Lesotho. After that, you may take in all that Lesotho has to offer, from expansive views of the Lesotho mountains to its distinctive flora and fauna, as you enjoy the magnificent drive from Katse to Mohale. Along the way, we'll stop at a peaceful location to eat our picnic lunch for the day. We will have a leisurely boat trip on the Mohale dam in the afternoon. The Mohale Lodge, where we'll be staying overnight, has a variety of amenities. Day 4: Semonkong to Mohale On Day 4, as we return to Lesotho's capital, we stop at Thaba Bosiu, a must-see attraction. King Moeshoeshoe built and administered the Kingdom of Lesotho from this mountain stronghold in the 19th century, where he also fought several wars to defend his Kingdom. The Kings and Queens of Lesotho are buried here today. We hike up the hill to the graveyard if you're up for it so you can see them. The Maletsunyane Falls is our first stop before continuing on to Semonkong, where we will spend the night. It holds the distinction of being Africa's highest single-drop waterfall at 192 meters. Semonkong to Underberg on Day 5 On Day 5, we leave the Mountain Kingdom via Qacha's Nek and return to Underberg via the Southern Drakensberg's backroads, where the mountains' stunning splendor continues to astound.

Sani Pass: Cultural and Heritage Tour

9. Sani Pass: Cultural and Heritage Tour

On this tour, you will experience all that a standard Sani Pass tour offers plus the trip to Makhapung, a small Basotho village deep in the highlands of Lesotho. From Sani Top, cross the Sani Plateau before climbing the Black Mountain Pass (3240 meters). From here you can see Thabana Ntlenyana (the highest point in Southern Africa). Then head down the Sehonghong Valley, past Highland Basotho villages and on to Makhapung. The Makhapung living village is untainted and retains all its cultures and traditions. This trip offers a real insight into the lives of the Basotho nation. Have a completely unique experience and support this sustainable tourism project. Visit the resident traditional healer, observe a unique song and dance routine, and a secret ceremonial dance. Interact and have lunch with the villagers. 

From Durban: Sani Pass/Lesotho Tour

10. From Durban: Sani Pass/Lesotho Tour

Get your adrenaline rush driving a 4x4 vehicle up Sani Pass, the highest road pass in Africa. Scrape the clouds as you travel one of the highest mountain paths in Africa! Begin by driving through beautiful rolling hills of the Midlands to the town of Underberg, where you will board your 4x4 vehicle. These off-roaders are the only vehicles that can climb Sani Pass. On your drive, you'll enter the Kingdom of Lesotho, and nearby Sotho Village for a taste of the local culture. Enjoy a light lunch while admiring stunning views from the highest pub in Africa.

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What people are saying about Sani Pass

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 85 reviews

What a wonderful day we had on this tour. The guides were excellent. Thabo drove us from Durban to the Sani Pass road. He was a great driver and very considerate of our needs. We were then escorted by Peter to Lesotho. He is well versed in the nature of the area, as well as the Basotho people. Both vehicles were comfortable and well maintained. The scenery was beautiful despite rain and clouds. It was a little cool and the blankets provided were greatly appreciated. I would not hesitate to recommend this tour.

I think we had one of the best guides that ever existed. Martin knows exactly where to stop for the perfect photo's. Could answer all our questions. He kept us entertained with his knowledge of the area and has a wonderful personality. I would recommend him any day. Martin thank you for the wonderful experience

Excellent guide/driver felt totally safe on those hairpin bends despite the taxi’s coming the other way.

Great landscape, great guides and a great experience.

It was an amazing experience. Never to be forgotten