The Sani Pass is a route into Lesotho from Underberg, South Africa, with breathtaking views. There are places to stay and activities at the top.
The pass is a winding road up to Lesotho. It was first crossed by vehicle in 1953.
The Sani Pass is a 4x4-only road. You can drive it yourself or several companies will take you up and down for 900 rand return (May 2019). Your hotel may be able to arrange transport.
You must take your passport, and birth certificates for minors.
Sani Mountain Lodge can arrange horse riding and bike riding. Surprisingly horses are cheaper to rent than bicycles. There are several hikes nearby, including Lesotho's highest mountain Thabana Ntlenyana to the north and closer mountains to the south.
The hike to Thabana Ntlenyana is not difficult terrain, but the thin air (elevation 3482m) makes it harder. From Sani Mountain lodge it is an 8 hour minimum hike there and back, so make sure you set off early to be back before dark. You can download the route here[dead link] and open it on app E-Walk Free. Remember to download necessary maps while you still have internet access.
The hike to the south do not require maps. You can see the pyramid-shaped mountain from Sani Mountain Lodge; just head towards it. It takes 75 minutes to get there. There are three more peaks beyond that; you can choose how many you want to do. You can conquer them all and be back at the lodge within 6 hours.
Eat and drink
Sani Mountain Lodge serves lunch, and also breakfast and dinner by arrangement. It supposedly contains Africa's highest pub, at 2874m, however Afriski has a bar at 3222m.
Most people visit for a day-trip to have lunch, or stay one night, but it's worth spending a couple of days here (up to four nights to exhaust everything there is to do).
- Sani Mountain Lodge. Accommodation ranges from warm rondavels with a fire and en-suite shower, to backpacker dormitories with shared shower and hot water/electricity only in the evening. Catered or self-catered options available.
- Premier Resort Sani Pass, at the bottom of the pass
- Sani Lodge Backpackers at the bottom of the pass
You can continue in to Lesotho, or return to Underberg. Underberg is very beautiful.