sani-pass

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Around The World In 80 Days: Lesotho

Col de Sani // Sani Pass
Photo Credit: (Alexander J.E. Bradley)
The Place of Smoke 2 - Semonkong, Lesotho
Photo Credit: (Edd Rogers)
Sky Over Mohale Dam, Lesotho
Photo Credit: (Armen Selian)

The photographers deserve credit so DO NOT remove credit information. Thank you.

Drakensberg - A Beautiful Kingdom in the Sky

We left Tsitsa falls first thing after breakfast and made it to Underberg, greeted by the bluest sky, with plenty of time to see the area. We drove up to Khotsa Lodge and Horse Riding, booked a rondavel and headed for an hour-long horse ride. I don’t think Chris was terribly excited to ride a horse, I think he prefers a less temperamental mode of transport. But being the lovely husband he is, he did humoured me.

In Drakensberg and neighbouring Lesotho horses are plentiful. The early ponies of the area are said to be captured from the roaming Griqua people. In 1829, King Moshoshoe received one as a gift and was so thrilled with this pony that he brought many more into Lesotho and made it the country’s main mode of transport. 

Something has occurred to me today - I’ve lost all fashion sense completely. I haven’t worn stilettos in three months, I can’t remember the last time I wore eyeshadow and with the weather and temperature sometimes changing every hour, I’ve developed some “interesting” fashion (if I can even use that word in this context) habits. Most days, I feel like some kind of gypsy beach bum. Today, as fog lifted from my morning groggy-brain, it struck me that my ensemble was a bit off - black skirt, hiking shoes (which was all I had available to slip on), a long black hippy skirt, Strawberry Shortcake t-shirt and a skull-motif scarf (it was chilly and I figured a hoddie wouldn’t look right). I miss my heels but I have to admit, I think flats are a much more realistic shoe choice in the terrain we’ve been on.

After our horse ride, we met a Dutch couple that drove motorbikes down from the Netherlands. There was another group there that was volunteering at an orphanage near Durban and were taking a bit of a holiday. The group of them were going to a farm stall in Underberg so Chris and I followed. Pucketty Farm was the most amazing little farm stall I’ve ever seen and the best thing about it is that it isn’t staffed – they have an “honour box”. Fresh bread, biltong, jams, preserves, baked sweets, farm fresh eggs, homemade ice cream, cheeses, pies and cakes are all deliciously displayed in every corner. We went there hungry and left with a huge bag of goodies. Serena, who started Pucketty Farm with her husband, wrote a short book of her life on the farm. I bought the book and that night, I read it aloud to Chris. The story made me tear up with each new chapter… one of the sweetest stories I’ve found. Serena met her husband years ago – they were both newly widowed and they’re spouses had both died of cancer on the same day. The two fell in love and moved from the city to Underburg and bought a farm and filled it with animals. 

From Khotsa, we headed straight for the Sani Pass into Lesotho. This mountain pass is well known among overlanders for its exciting twists and turns and adrenaline- pumping climbs and descends up and down rocky cliffs. The road is barely wide enough for one vehicle to drive on, making it scary when another car comes in the other direction. The climb up had me tightly clutching my seat and when we finally reached the top we had to go through border inspection into Lesotho. It was probably the friendliest border post I’ve been to. We had a long lunch at the highest pub in Africa and enjoyed the spectacular view.

“You really need to go up AND down a mountain pass to see everything” Chris always says. The sky was brightest blue and the view from the drive back down was spectacular. It won’t be long before the Sani pass is paved so it was great to get to drive it before that happens. 

I’m not sure where we’re heading now… possibly Swaziland but we might head straight up toward the Mozambique boarder.