Off-road adventures at Sani Pass
Did you know?
Sani Pass was originally a pack-animals trail and was only opened to traffic in 1955.
Sani Pass is a name synonymous with adventure; both because of its remote locale and due to the white-knuckle rides it takes to get to the top. Peaking at 2 873m above sea level, the pass is also aptly referred to as the roof of Africa.
The pass is a popular mountain biking destination and hosts the annual Sani Pass Transfrontier Mountain Bike Epic in December. Providing two routes, of 42km and 26km respectively, the race sees biking enthusiasts charging up and back down the pass in the pursuit of glory.
Quad biking is another awesome, if slightly less demanding, way to enjoy the pass. Guided day and overnight trails up the pass and into Lesotho are available, with most offering lunch and refreshments at Sani Top Chalet, home of the highest pub in Africa.
Combination packages featuring quad biking and 4x4 driving are also available. Sani Pass is only accessible by 4x4 and makes for an exhilarating ride. Longer overnight 4x4 trails are also offered, including trips up some of Lesotho's highest peaks.
Sani Pass can also be accessed with off-road motorbikes and combined with motorcycle tours of the southern Drakensberg or Lesotho. Lesotho hosts the annual Baboons' Roof of Africa motorcycle event every November, ranked as the most gruelling endurance event of its kind in southern Africa.
Endurance of a different kind is called upon if you decide to run, or walk, up Sani Pass as part of the suitably named Sani Stagger marathon, which takes place annually in November.
Be aware that before you reach the summit of Sani Pass, there is an international border post and passports are required to access the top. Also, the weather can change very quickly and dramatically in the mountains, so come prepared.
On the topic of weather, the heavy snowfalls that blanket the escarpment in winter offer an added attraction in the form of skiing. A short drive into Lesotho from the Free State side will enable you to access the ski resort.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Drakensberg Tourism Information
Tel: +27 (0)36 488 1207/1273
Sani Top Chalet
Tel: +27 (0)78 634 7496/ (0)73 541 8620