We're toying with the idea of travelling up into Lesotho in early January, entering from the Free State, spending a few days in the mountains pony trekking, hiking and exploring, and then possibly dropping down into KZN via the Sani Pass. We have an old, battered but trusty 4x4.
So some questions for people who've travelled that way recently.
1. How is the road from the border (say we enter through maseru?) over to Sani Top? One fallback option we have consided option if the pass itself isn't doable would be to consider staying overnight at Sani Top and then driving back out through one of the other border posts into the Free State - would this be practical?
2. What is the state of the pass itself? Has the tarring been completed? Is it reasonably navigable? Is it easier to drive it up or down (as we could reverse the itinerary and drive up from KZN if it would make a difference)?
3. Can anyone recommend nice family-friendly accommodation that won't break the bank and will give us a range of activities within easy reach? I think I have heard good things about Malelane Lodge? And what is Sani Top like?
Gerald, I think that the floor is yours, but feedback from anyone else who's recently travelled in these parts would be most welcome ...
For anyone interested in researching a similar trip, here is Mike's response (which came by e-mail):
The roads on the Western Side of Lesotho are better then in South Africa. I travelled via Fouriesburg Border and then onto Katse Dam.
One suggestion which is a MUST is if you travel by road take the A 25 towards Katse, it takes you over a tarred mountain pass above 3000m.
Travelling down Sani Pass a 4x4 is a must as it is not tarred and one needs a 4x4 or a high vehicle else one gets stuck - the road towards Mokhotlong is okay - going down the pass it is rough gravel and a few interesting turns. Only road across Lesotho where I had a challenge was between Katse and Thaba Tseka that road was under construction and a total mess - yet I managed to drive it with a normal sedan. Driving the pass down is easier then up - particularly if it has been raining. The alternative roads to the East are a lot worse, as it is the only crossing between KZN and Lesotho. All others take you to the Eastern Cape or back to the Free State and they are in worst state.
Malelane Lodge is great, so is Sani Top, I also stayed at the Katse Hotel which is a great gateway to see the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Malelane and Sani Top have horses to hire - and the view from Sani Top is just spectacular; as is the owner Jonathan and his brother who manages the place - good fun and full of "beans".
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