Best time to visit South Africa

Sani Pass Road in South Africa

A gorgeous winding road between South Africa and Lesotho

Best time: November–March

Sani Pass Road
Sani Pass Road
Sani Pass Road
Sani Pass Road

Sani Pass, known as the Roof of Africa, is located in the mountains with the maximum altitude of 2,876 m (9,400 ft) above the sea level. The road to the pass starts in the western end of Kwa Zulu-Natal province, South Africa, connecting the town of Underberg with Mokhotlong in Lesotho. A famously dangerous 9-km road between the two countries has many hairpins, sharp twists, plunging drops, and blind spots. After the summer rains, there are several water crossings that drivers have to overcome. Sani Pass road also offers breathtaking scenery.

The road to Sani Pass that was built in the 1950s features 1332 meters of altitude gain and steep sections with gradients 1:3. It is often closed during the winter from May through to July due to bad weather, mud, snow, and ice. The best time is considered from November to March. Only 4WD vehicles ware allowed on this road. The dangers of this road are proved by the remains of cars that did not succeed in navigating the Sani Pass.

Don't forget to take your passport for border control. The South African/Lesotho border control stations operate from 6 am to 6 pm. Sani Pass has one scenic outlook with a parking lot for six vehicles. The summit also hosts the Highest Pub in Africa at 2,874m.

Practical info

What is the altitude of Sani Pass Road?

The highest point of Sani Pass Road, also known as the Roof of Africa, is 2,876m (9,400ft) above sea level, located in the mountains. It has steep gradients of 1:3 and has an altitude gain of 1332 meters with sharp sections. The reason for being closed in winters from May to July is due to adverse weather conditions, including snow, mud, and ice. Show more

When is the best time to visit Sani Pass Road?

The ideal season to visit Sani Pass is during summers from November to March, when the weather is mild and dry after the harsh winter season. As there is less rainfall and snowfall in this season, the pass becomes more comfortable to navigate than closed winters from May to July due to unfavorable driving conditions caused by icy and snowy road conditions. Show more

Is it safe to drive on the road during winter?

Driving on Sani Pass Road in winters from May to July is considered risky due to unpredictable weather conditions, including mud, snow, and ice, which make driving very challenging. The route is known to have many hairpins, sharp twists, steep gradients, plunging drops, and blind spots, which can make driving very dangerous, and it is advisable not to travel during these months. Show more

What kind of vehicle is allowed on Sani Pass Road?

To navigate the steep gradients and switchbacks of Sani Pass Road that is tough, 4WD vehicles are the only kinds of vehicle aloud, typically driven by professional drivers. The driver must hold the experience of driving off-road because the road's route is narrow in many places, and it has blind spots, water crossings with steep sections to make it hard for vehicles to traverse. Show more

What is the highest pub in Africa located at Sani Pass Road and at what altitude?

The border area between South Africa and Lesotho hosts the highest pub in Africa located at an impressive altitude of 2,874m (9,429ft) when you reach the summit of the Sani Pass Road. The pub offers delicious meals, a relaxing atmosphere, and stunning 360-degree views of the mountain ranges. Visitors usually stop here to unwind after completing the long and challenging drive to the top; it is a unique experience due to the Pub's scenic location that gets crowded during the peak season. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin