The Sani Pass is a spectacular mountain road that is a well-known entry point into Lesotho from South Africa’s Natal Drakensberg Park. It is the gateway to the ‘Roof of Africa’ scenic route that links the spectacular scenery of the Drakensberg with the mountains of northern Lesotho.
The Sani Pass is the only border post between Kwazulu-Natal and Lesotho. The pass lies between the border controls of both countries and is approximately 9km in length and requires above average driving experience. It has occasional remains of vehicles that did not succeed in navigating its steep gradients and poor traction surfaces, and has a catalogue of frightening stories of failed attempts at ascending the path over the Northern Lesotho mountains. While South African immigration at the bottom of pass prohibits vehicles deemed unsuitable for the journey, the Lesotho border agents at the top generally allow vehicles of all types to attempt the descent
Once, the Sani Pass was a rough mule trail descending the Eastern Highlands of old Basutoland into Natal. Tough drovers brought wool and mohair down the Pass on donkeys and mules to be exchanged for blankets, clothing and maize meal, the essentials for life in a remote, impoverished country. Today the pass may be more than a rough trail, but the views are just as spectacular as when the mule trail was the only path over the rough terrain.