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The Sani Pass

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The Sani Pass is in the Drakensberg mountains, on the border between the Republic of South Africa and Lesotho. It is the most famous of three road crossings through the Drakensbergs - the others being Bushman's Nek and Qacha's Nek. The nearest town of any note in Lesotho is Mokhotlong (50km) and the nearest city in the Republic of South Africa is Pietermaritzberg.

What is It?

The Sani Pass is a very steep and twisting road pass that can only be driven in a four-wheel drive vehicle - or walked, if you are as foolhardy as this Researcher was. The pass drops (or climbs, if you are heading into Lesotho) over 800m in just under eight kilometres of length - which is an average slope of 1:10.

The pass is jointly administered by the governments of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa. It has the Lesotho border post at its topmost point and the South African border post at its lower end.

The Highest Pub in Africa

The Sani Top Chalet is situated at the top of the pass at 2,874m above sea level, just on the Lesotho side of the border. This location makes it the highest pub in Africa and the isolated nature of the location means that it is also one of the friendliest.

Points of Interest

If you are driving through the pass, then there is only one place along the way you can stop - a braai (Afrikaans for 'BBQ') stop about one third of the way up. It has a tamper-proof bin (baboons live on the Drakensbergs) and bench installed by the four-wheel drive club of South Africa but little else.

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