Published: May 19th 2012May 20th 2012
Heading into the Drakensberg to do a little hiking we didn’t realize that the reward for a beer would entice us to hike to the highest pub in Africa and walking the Sani pass at 2865m along the way. The Sani Pass we have heard quite a lot about over the years, the views are breathtaking, road is tough and the wind is bone chilling. This is why, like most others, we were looking to do a tour up the pass to reach the famous pub in Lesotho overlooking South Africa. The problem is that they want a large amount of money to do this and at this stage of our trip it just didn’t seem possible.
The thing that the tour operators don’t tell you is that it is possible to walk the 18km return from the South African border and in our opinion enjoy the pass a great deal more than the hour or so it takes to drive up. The idea came from a local whom we got talking to outside the tourist info, she agreed it is way too expensive for backpackers and walking is possible if you have time to spare. Done! We loved the
idea of this and headed right back to our hostel to get a little organized for the next morning.
Actually the day before we did another hike in Drakensberg area which has been amazing walk through the hills and along the river, jumping over rocks there and here, spotting wildlife and enjoying these 12 km through this absolutely fabulous landscape. We believe that we are lucky enough to enjoy off season and the autumn is waking up slowly in South Africa, a little chilly in the mornings but the sun is heating up during the day, the beautiful colors over hills and roads are just breathtaking… well this area is hard to describe and simply you have to experience by yourself. During few days we just felt in love with this place and we could easy spend few weeks in this area if we had some spare time. Landscape wise Drakensberg is our highlight in South Africa if not in whole nine months long trip. Just awesome!
Getting up very early the next morning we were greeted by thick clouds and nearly didn’t bother getting out of the tent. We don’t really know why we didn’t leave it
for the next day but we were lucky we did it this day in the end. We didn’t realize how high the road gets and once we dropped our car at the South African border gate we were soon above the clouds which made for some breath taking views. As for the walk itself, it was not too difficult really. 2 ½ to the top and 2 hours back made for a pleasant morning walk. The last bit was quite steep but manageable and when you are meeting some tired locals who is caring few kilograms of branches and sticks to warm their family homes on the mountain when you understand that there are doing this every day and we doing once for the pleasure. Well coming back down could vary a great deal due to the open fire place inside the pub at the top. Add the ice cold beers and view a few hours could easily slip away in this little haven from the icy wind.
Lesotho border was quite primitive and simple with some happy faces welcoming us to their country. Once again we felt like back to rural and real Africa we have travelled the
last months as the small huts, dirty kids and expecting for some bite faces were starring at us. This small country has incredible beauty but the local life style is more than hard. Everyone is trying to survive and the tourists who are passing every day in the 4x4 cars are surviving source for them.
The highest pub in Africa is indeed a cool place to chill out and take a break from the hike. The pub has a big fire in middle, cold beer, friendly staff and the wonderful view through the window. We made sure to taste Lesotho beer and enjoy every second of this fantastic place.
We have visited few other places around this area and the colors of this time of year are just so amazing and we couldn’t be more than happy to be here at this time. Sometimes to take a drive along the highway is rewarding as the scenery is great.
There are more photos below