What Makes Sani Pass Unique


While there are various mountain passes in different parts of South Africa, Sani Pass stands out. This famous high mountain stands at an elevation of 2,876m or 9,436 ft above sea level.

Due to its uniqueness and peculiarity, Sani Pass, which is located on the border of South Africa and Lesotho, is a hot spot for adventure lovers from different parts of the world.

A Short History Of The Pass

Sani Pass served the role of a trade route that links South Africa with Mokhotlong, from around 1913.


Mules were utilized to carry different items between the territories. While it is tough terrain, there are still drivers who patronize the route, even if they had to lose some of their animals at some point.

In 1948, Godfrey Edmonds added shape to the route, being assisted by other laborers, in an exercise that took hours.

Some years later, some other individuals, in a bid to make a trade route between Himeville and Lesotho, built a better road along the route.

Due to the efforts of the likes of David Alexander in 1955, the Mokhotlong Mountain Transport Company came alive, and it did a lot in making the Pass popular.

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Even though it was still tough to comb, these guys were still able to conquer the Pass by the wheel.

Some years later, a small inn was established at the top of the area. It provides a little medium of comfort to travelers, where they get a nice bed and great food.

Today, after several attempts from different quarters, Sani Pass is now majorly a recreational spot where hikers and motorcyclists explore. Due to the uniqueness of the Pass, the type of vehicles permitted is only 4×4.

What Makes Sani Pass Unique

Sani Pass is unique and famous for being the highest road in the continent of Africa, and one of the highest in the world.

It encompasses the Drakensberg Mountains, which is a World Heritage that attained an elevation of above 3,000 meters.

The ease of exploring the Pass due to the structures put in place by the managers is one core reason why adventure lovers love coming here.

Tourists get the opportunity to interact with some rustic tribes of the kingdom of Lesotho and can buy their crafts at the shop that is situated high in the mountains of Lesotho.

Where is Sani Pass Located?

The Pass is situated in KwaZulu-Natal Province, on the road between Himeville in the coastal South African province and Mokhotlong in Lesotho.

Which Animals Can Be Found In Sani Pass

First of all, it should be noted that the Pass is not a wildlife destination just like Boulders Beach.

Unlike standard South African parks with protected areas for spotting animals, the opposite is the case at Sani Park, since it is just a mountain pass.

However, due to the peculiarities of the territory, you will come across creatures like ice rats, Maluti River Frogs, crag lizards, etc.

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You will also come across different species of birds, like Gurney’s Sugarbird, Ground Woodpecker, etc.

How Much Does It Cost For Tourists To Visit Sani Pass? 

It costs around R1520 to tour Sani Pass with Sani Pass Tours vehicle. Alternatively, if you have a good motorbike or 4×4 vehicle, you can explore it yourself.

How Far Is The Pass To A Nearby Airport?

The closest airport to the Sani Pass is King Shaka International airport which is in Durban.

The distance between Sani Pass and King Shaka International airport is around 274.9 km

Requirements To Access Sani Pass

If you are exploring with a vehicle, only a 4×4 is allowed. The border authorities inspect your vehicle to be sure it is in the right condition to go through the Pass. If they felt your vehicle is not strong enough, you won’t be allowed.

Additionally, all drivers are expected to produce proof of vehicle ownership as well as insurance.

If you are a foreign tourist, you should have your passport with you, and it must be valid for a minimum of six months.

Nearby Accommodation

Here are some of the best nearby accommodations and hotels for tourists exploring Sani Pass:

  • Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens Golf & Spa Resort (5.9 miles from Sani Pass)
  • Lake Naverone Holiday Cottages (7.6 miles from Sani Pass)
  • Bushman’s Nek (7.6 miles from Sani Pass)
  • Castleburn Leisure Resort (9.7 miles from Sani Pass)
  • Mkomazana Mountain Cottages (15.5 miles from Sani Pass)

Travel Advisory To Sani Pass

This mountain road which is a strong link between South Africa (the Drakensberg Mountains) and Lesotho, allows explorers to travel through forests, streams, as well as cultivated fields in the Midlands in a thrilling way.

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However, before you book a trip, you should know that the best time to come over is anytime between November to March.

This is summertime here, characterized by dry weather, and you won’t expect much rainfall.

You should avoid this place from June to August when it’s winter. As a matter of fact, the authorities usually close the park during harsh weather conditions that make driving extremely difficult.

How long does it take to complete Sani Pass?

It takes between three to four hours and the driver must be extraordinarily careful because the Pass has a lot of zig-zag routes plus foggy conditions and sheer cliffs.

How safe is Sani Pass?

As for driving through Sani Pass, it is dangerous which is why only an experienced and licenced driver with 4X4 drive is allowed on the road.

Is Sani Pass a wildlife destination?

Though Sani Pass has incredible routes and the scenery is fabulously intriguing to see, that doesn’t make Sani Pass a wildlife destination. It is a tourist destination.

For tourists who are interested in exploring wildlife, iSimangaliso Park, Kruger Park, and Pilanesberg Park are some of the many numerous locations where wildlife abounds.

What is the nearest town to Sani Pass?

Underberg which is about 20 km from the pass itself is the nearest town to Sani Pass.

What document do I need to go up Sani Pass?

You need a passport to go up Sani Pass. South Africa’s passport control is at the bottom while Lesotho’s passport control is at the top.


Sani Pass is a prominent one in South Africa, leading others mountain passes in Africa in different ways.

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