Sani pas

Johann en Elsie Kritzinger toere - Drakensberg en Oos Kus

30/12/2016

Himeville

 
Klik op kaart en fotos Totale afstand : 87 km

Ten spyte van die weervoorspelling wat meen dat dit vandag op die Sani Pas gaan reen, pak ons die pas in ons twee voertuie aan. Daar is dit toe tot die namiddag 'n baie mooi sonskyn dag.

Die pad tot by die RSA grenspos is maar baie sleg - vol gate, waterpoele en rotse. Nie dat dit verby die grenspos juis beter is nie. Ons eet "ontbyt" by die RSA grenspos, en laat ons paspoorte stempel. Hiervandaan is dit al verder boontoe, en word die pas al steiler. Die laaste kilometer of so is die haarnaald-draaie en is dit sommer lekker steil. Ons gebruik toe maar die laebestek ratte ( low range) en ry gemaklik in tweede rat die pas uit. Die draaie is skerp en jy moet 'n wye draai vat om in een slag om die draai te kom. Dit ten spyte van die feit dat padwerkers verlede jaar die draaie effe wyer gemaak het.

Al die onlangse stories dat gedeeltes van die pas nou geteer is, is alles bog. Die pad was al jare lank geteer tot net verby die Sanie Pas Hotel, waarna die grondpad begin. Hiervandaan is dit grondpad tot bo by die grenspos. Daar is g'n niks se geteer nie (Des 2016). Binne Lesotho is die pad wel deur die Chinese nuut gebou en geteer.

Ons laat ons paspoorte by die Lesotho grenspos stempel en betaal die fooi van M30 (R30) per persoon vir "tolgeld". Ons stop by die "Highest Pub in Africa" (wat glo ook nie heeltemal waar is nie). Daar eet ons 'n kleinigheidjie en drink koffie, tee en 'n Maluti bier.

Hiervandaan ry ons met die nuwe teerpad vir 6km tot by die begin van die Kotisephola pas op soek na voels, maar die oes is maar skraal.

Met die terugkom, laat ons weer ons paspoorte by die Lesotho en RSA grensposte stempel, en is gereed om terug te keer na Himeville.

"n Redelike ry-tyd van die RSA grenspos tot bo op die pas, is 1 uur, afhangende van hoeveel jy stop. Die totale op-en af rytyd kan gereken word op 2.5 uur minimum.

Neil en Janet kan nou Sani pas op hul emmerskoplys (bucket list) afmerk.

Sani Pas Sani Pas Lesotho Grenspops
 
Pub se Hoogte bo seevlak Binne die kroeg  

Geskiedenis en agtergrond

"Sani Pass is the mother of all South African mountain passes. Statistically and in every sense, it out distances, out climbs, and out performs all it's competitors with consummate ease to have become the most iconic gravel pass in SA.

Situated between KZN and Lesotho the pass was built circa 1950 and remains a challenging drive in 4x4 vehicles with all the drama, scenery, bad weather and treacherous conditions expected of a pass with a summit altitude of 2876m ASL. That equates to 9400 feet and at 10,000 feet aircraft need pressurised cabins!

This is high altitude stuff. Go prepared for bad weather at any time and expect snowfalls as late as October.

The Sani Pass starts at 1544m and rises 1332 vertical meters to summit at 2876m. This altitude gain is almost 300 meters more than its nearest competitor - the Naude's Nek Pass in the Eastern Cape. The Sani's average gradient is only 1:20, thanks to the long easy gradient section in the foothills of the Drakensberg, but certain sections are as steep as 1:4 and it is here that most drivers come unstuck when the going gets slippery. The large number of car wrecks down the ravines bear mute testimony to the dangers. Many visitors travel from abroad to tackle the notorious Sani Pass in hired 4x4's. Such is it's reputation. For most South African's it remains more of a dream. There has been talk recently of tarring the Sani Pass. There was an immediate rash of objections from a range of individuals and societies interested in preserving the true, raw nature of the area, but I presume that ultimately, progress will have it's way. Should the tarring project go ahead, the challenge and allure of the Sani Pass will move from a tough 4x4 route to a casual afternoon drive in a hatchback. Whilst it's still there, make a plan, and drive the Sani. It will leave you feeling like a child - in it's sheer size and scope. The pass holds an attraction for advertisers too - recently two TV commercials were filmed on the pass for Nissan and Ford vehicles respectively."

This steep zigzagging pass climbs the face of the Drakensberg escarpment to an altitude of2874m. It’s generally not a difficult drive in any modern 44 vehicle and is a wonderfully scenic drive, if the weather plays its part.

Early days

The Sani Pass was originally developed as a bridal path in 1913 which was primarily used as a trade route between South Africa and Mokhotlong. All goods were carried by pack mule.

The drivers usually had spare beasts on hand to replace any laggards that they’d push over the edge after shifting their loads to the reserves. In those early days Sani was easily identifiable from afar because of the vultures and Lammergeiers that circled above awaiting their next meal.

The Sani Pass was opened in 1948 by an ex Spitfire pilot called Godfrey Edmonds, who On the 26 October 1948, aided by labourers armed with ropes and assorted blocks and tackle, manhandled a war-surplus Jeep up the path in an exercise that took about six hours.

In 1955, David Alexander and friends began constructing a road for their Land Rovers, so they could create a trade route between Himeville in KwaZulu-Natal and Mokhotlong in Lesotho. So theMokhotlong Mountain Transport Company was created, and the Pass which it made famous. Sani Pass had at last been conquered by the wheel, and five years later the Mokhotlong Mountain Transport Company began running eight-ton 44 freight trucks up and down the pass, which was nowhere near as user-friendly as it is today. A simple inn was built at the top to give shelter to travellers. You get warm beds, good food and  the highest pub in southern Africathe highest pub in southern Africa“.

 

 

 

Sien Sani roete by Sani pas

 

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