The next day we were off again, and as the weather seemed to be clearing we decided to have another visit to The ‘Berg. This time we went to the southern end, to a place which is apparently one of “the things to do” if you live in Kwazulu-Natal, the Sani Pass. The Berg is really amazing in that it has two very clear “levels” to it. From the ground it rises up to a set of cliffs, and is fairly flat on top of that. This is known as the little berg. From there, it rises up again to an even bigger set of cliffs, towering above the rolling hills below. Behind the highest cliffs is an amazingly flat plateau, on which sits the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Without actually seeing it, it’s hard to believe that a flat rolling grassland sits on top of such jagged and imposing cliffs. This is what we set of to see.
The Sani Pass is the only more or less accessible pass into Lesotho from the mountainous side of the country. It is a 30km stretch of very rocky, steep and winding dirt/rock road. On top we are told is a pub and chalets.
As we drive along there are big signs saying that only 4×4 vehices are allowed through the pass. We are driving a very tough looking Toyota Raider, but it is not actually a 4×4, just a 2×4 with differential lock. But we proceed through the SA border post and no-one asks any questions, how bad could the road be after all? Its been fine so far.
So we roll slowly up the road. I find it very hard to keep my eyes on the road with ever more spectacular views appearing with each corner we go round. My wondering eyes make Sophie extremely nervous, with the treacherous drops on the edges of the narrow road, so we stop often to take in the view. Apart from being very rocky in places, its not to bad. We roll slowly up in 1st gear a lot of the way.
Then we start getting nearer the top and the road winds vigourously to try and squeeze its way up between the towering cliffs on either side. About two km from the top we come to a particularly tricky bend. It is rocky, steep and wet and there is a ridge of rock running diagonally across the road. I can get the front wheels over, but the back wheels are spinning. The car starts to drift sideways towards the steep pile of rocks that is holding up the road. I stop, reverse, and try again. Sophie is having kittens in the passenger seat. After some grinding, slipping and sliding we accept defeat. I am sure it would be possible with a couple more tries, but I don’t want to risking damaging the vehicle that my auntie has very kindly entrusted me with. And Sophie is worried about us dying.
So we manage to turn it around and drive to a safe spot by the road, we lock the car, apply african handbrakes (big rocks infront of each wheel), and carry our bags up the last couple of kilometers.
Wide eyed we walk up the last few steps to the walls of The Mountain Kingdom. They consist of a waist high barbed wire fence. Many of the fence posts are leaning or have fallen over completely. Behind it we can see a small white building with “Customs and Immigration” hand painted on the wall in wobbly lettering. There is a scattering of stone walled thatched huts and various tin shacks as well. We go straight to the white building, as we’ve been warned that several tourists have walked straight to the pub, only to find themselves arrested as illegal immigrants. Its an easy mistake to make as it wouldn’t be hard to walk there without even noticing the decrepit border fence. Another stamp in the passport and we are in Lesotho!
It is like another world. It is fairly flat, with small grassy hils. Basotho men wearing blankets herd sheep and goats. The Sani Top Chalet sits right on the edge of the cliffs. Inside it is warm and cosy, a fire burns in the corner and there are a couple of groups of tourists chatting excitedly over beers and Mulled wine. I can just imagine what it would be like with snow falling outside. The guys running the place are friendly and welcoming and we have a delicious vegie soup with a lump of homemade bread. We are told that just the previous weekend there had been knee deep snow. It is a really awesome little place. Sophie contributes an Aussie $2 coin to the world currency collection. It dots the “i” on Africa.
On of the guys convinces us we should stay the night. It doesn’t take much convincing. It is nearly border closing time and it looks like a big storm is brewing below. Plus the view is absolutely stunning. So we nip down to the car to fetch our overnight gear. As we walk back up we listened to cracks of thunder echoing between the cliffs. It rumbles for several seconds. We get back just in time to see an amazing late afternoon thunderstorm. The sky is black and we can see huge bolts of lightning falling to the ground far below.
The sun was going down as the storm was clearing, giving the most amazing light, I run around desperately trying to set up my camera.
One of the Sani Top guys very kindly offers us an unfinished chalet to sleep the night in so we don’t have to sleep in our tent. It is very comfy. We wake at 2am and walk outside to see the most spectacular clear star filled sky.
I get up in the morning at 4.30am and walk along the edge of the cliffs to try and take some photos. It’s the first clear sunrise I’ve seen so far so I’m very excited. It is amazing.
In the morning we went and sat at the very edge of the cliffs and cooked ourselves some porridge for brekkie. Soph has got this down to a fine art at this stage and it is delicous. Later on we very reluctantly said cheers to the guys and headed down the hill. I could easily have spent a few more days here. We add “Travel through Lesotho” to our list of things to do one day.

The next day we were off again, and as the weather seemed to be clearing we decided to have another visit to The ‘Berg. This time we went to the southern end, to a place which is apparently one of “the things to do” if you live in Kwazulu-Natal, the Sani Pass. The Berg is really amazing in that it has two very clear “levels” to it. From the ground it rises up to a set of cliffs, and is fairly flat on top of that. This is known as the little berg. From there, it rises up again to an even bigger set of cliffs, towering above the rolling hills below. Behind the highest cliffs is an amazingly flat plateau, on which sits the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Without actually seeing it, it’s hard to believe that a flat rolling grassland sits on top of such jagged and imposing cliffs. This is what we set of to see.

The Sani Pass is the only more or less accessible pass into Lesotho from the mountainous side of the country. It is a 30km stretch of very rocky, steep and winding dirt/rock road. On top we are told is a pub and chalets.

As we drive along there are big signs saying that only 4×4 vehices are allowed through the pass. We are driving a very tough looking Toyota Raider, but it is not actually a 4×4, just a 2×4 with differential lock. But we proceed through the SA border post and no-one asks any questions, how bad could the road be after all? Its been fine so far.

So we roll slowly up the road. I find it very hard to keep my eyes on the road with ever more spectacular views appearing with each corner we go round. My wondering eyes make Sophie extremely nervous, with the treacherous drops on the edges of the narrow road, so we stop often to take in the view. Apart from being very rocky in places, its not to bad. We roll slowly up in 1st gear a lot of the way.

Then we start getting nearer the top and the road winds vigourously to try and squeeze its way up between the towering cliffs on either side. About two km from the top we come to a particularly tricky bend. It is rocky, steep and wet and there is a ridge of rock running diagonally across the road. I can get the front wheels over, but the back wheels are spinning. The car starts to drift sideways towards the steep pile of rocks that is holding up the road. I stop, reverse, and try again. Sophie is having kittens in the passenger seat. After some grinding, slipping and sliding we accept defeat. I am sure it would be possible with a couple more tries, but I don’t want to risking damaging the vehicle that my auntie has very kindly entrusted me with. And Sophie is worried about us dying.

So we manage to turn it around and drive to a safe spot by the road, we lock the car, apply african handbrake  (big rocks infront of each wheel), and carry our bags up the last couple of kilometers.

Wide eyed we walk up the last few steps to the walls of The Mountain Kingdom. They consist of a waist high barbed wire fence. Many of the fence posts are leaning or have fallen over completely. Behind it we can see a small white building with “Customs and Immigration” hand painted on the wall in wobbly lettering. There is a scattering of stone walled thatched huts and various tin shacks as well. We go straight to the white building, as we’ve been warned that several tourists have walked straight to the pub, only to find themselves arrested as illegal immigrants. Its an easy mistake to make as it wouldn’t be hard to walk there without even noticing the decrepit border fence. Another stamp in the passport and we are in Lesotho!

It is like another world. It is fairly flat, with small grassy hils. Basotho men wearing blankets herd sheep and goats. The Sani Top Chalet sits right on the edge of the cliffs. Inside it is warm and cosy, a fire burns in the corner and there are a couple of groups of tourists chatting excitedly over beers and Mulled wine. I can just imagine what it would be like with snow falling outside. The guys running the place are friendly and welcoming and we have a delicious vegie soup with a lump of homemade bread. We are told that just the previous weekend there had been knee deep snow. It is a really awesome little place. Sophie contributes an Aussie $2 coin to the world currency collection. It dots the “i” on Africa.

On of the guys convinces us we should stay the night. It doesn’t take much convincing. It is nearly border closing time and it looks like a big storm is brewing below. Plus the view is absolutely stunning. So we nip down to the car to fetch our overnight gear. As we walk back up we listened to cracks of thunder echoing between the cliffs. It rumbles for several seconds. We get back just in time to see an amazing late afternoon thunderstorm. The sky is black and we can see huge bolts of lightning falling to the ground far below.

The sun was going down as the storm was clearing, giving the most amazing light, I run around desperately trying to set up my camera.

One of the Sani Top guys very kindly offers us an unfinished chalet to sleep the night in so we don’t have to sleep in our tent. It is very comfy. We wake at 2am and walk outside to see the most spectacular clear star filled sky.

I get up in the morning at 4.30am and walk along the edge of the cliffs to try and take some photos. It’s the first clear sunrise I’ve seen so far so I’m very excited. It is amazing.

In the morning we went and sat at the very edge of the cliffs and cooked ourselves some porridge for brekkie. Soph has got this down to a fine art at this stage and it is delicous. Later on we very reluctantly said cheers to the guys and headed down the hill. I could easily have spent a few more days here. We add “Travel through Lesotho” to our list of things to do one day.