Sani Pass

When I started my cycle tour, Bruno in Cape Town told me ‘do the Sani pass’! So I came here in the Drakensberg to cycle that pass. Having cycled much higher passes in North India (Kardlung La, ca. 5500m), I thought Sani would be easier. Wrong! The gravel is at some parts terrible on the Sani pass, and having only one pannier on one side does not help the balance. I stay indeed the night on the Lesotho side. The pass is on the border between South Africa and Lesotho, quite strangely made: the SA border is at about 1900m altitude, but it’s another 7 to 8km to reach the Lesotho border on the top, 1000m higher! These 7km ‘no-man-land’ take me many hours up, but only 20min down! And to better enjoy the scenery, hiking the Hodgson’s Peak offers an awesome 360° view over the Southern Drakensberg! The geology is really impressive here: Lesotho is a huge plateau over the South African side, where the rivers created some deep gorges!
Lesotho's plateau
I actually cycle to the base of that peak: some shepherds horse trails are nice single trails for MTB! But I take too many ways through the bush so it takes me hours to do the 10km to that peak. Too late in the afternoon to cycle down the pass, I stay a 2nd night in the ‘Sani Stone Lodge’, 10km inside Lesotho, where I am the single guest and enjoy better and cheaper food than the very busy ‘Sani Top’ just at the border! Thomby running the place is very friendly!
With my weak ‘V-brakes’, I was a little scared to cycle down the pass, but it’s actually ok, I am just more careful than if I had my good full suspension mountain bike! A lot of fun, but you have to keep concentrated on the track, it gets almost too fast to enjoy the impressive scenery, so stopping a few times is a must!
Sani pass

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