Sani Top chalet now called Sani Mountain Lodge is slowly at the pace of Africa undergoing change. Roger and Jonathan left a legacy of course, a favorite 4x4 stopover, and the new owner from Maseru is rising to the challenge. He is aiming upmarket and despite the inevitable hitches, setbacks, and problems is trying to slowly upgrade the Sani Mountain Lodge. It is still the highest pub in africa and has a fantastic view and an exciting wild mountain top atmosphere.
The main attraction is of course the ride up the Sani Pass in a 4x4. We took our hire car to the SA Border Post and then the Sani Mountain Lodge Prado transfer from there. The road just to the border post is terrible and not recommended for non 4x4 hire cars! I wish someone had told us that before. The condition of the Sani Pass at the time of writing is very bad indeed but it did not seem to stop hoards of 4x4 enthusiasts and Sani Pass day trippers from making the pilgrimage to the top, passing through Lesotho Border control and making the inevitable stop at the highest pub in Africa. It was packed for lunch when we arrived and the staff could barely cope.
We checked in to our rondavel which was clean and tidy. The self contained unit is pretty basic with a water storage tank, gas fired hot water and a flush toilet. It was more than I expected at that altitude what with freezing pipes and all. Unfortunately the room leaked very badly through the chimney during the torrential rains that we experienced. There is a wood and coal stove in each room that I can imagine will be very cozy in winter.
We were there for New Years Eve and we party'd in true South African style in the highest pub in Africa just inside Lesotho! There was a buffet and there was plenty of food and everything was laid out very presentably. The food itself was nothing special though. What was a surprise was the impressive wine collection which was displayed along the walls of the dining room. At one point during the party the staff started to remove all the bottles as if they were afraid that we would steal them. I felt the staff could have laughed and relaxed a bit more even though they were obviously working hard. The party went on till the early hours until the speakers in the bar blew and we had to make our own music. The highlight was watching a chinese lantern lit by some fellow guests floating down the pass. It was literally, a high light.
New years day was greeted with the inevitable splitting headache made doubly bad no doubt by the altitude. The breakfast buffet was surprisingly good even though the coffee was not, and far too weak for my liking. They set out the coffee on the deck overlooking the pass which was a nice place to watch the Basuto shepherds and the 4x4 vehicles on the pass and to look out for Lammergeiers!
For our return down the pass it turned out the Prado was damaged, and so we were driven down by the owner himself in his 3 litre Hilux. A treat. He entertained us with stories of meat and booze being confiscated by over zealous border guards, staff problems, his manager deported, snowfall, record cold temperatures,frozen pipes, generator breakdowns, and transport logistics. He also spoke of the impending new road and of his plans for a new dining room and for solar electricity and his dreams of the Sani Mountain Lodge upgrade. As we bumped slowly down the atrocious road in low gear I wondered if perhaps he was aiming too high.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A one of kind Lodge located at the top of Sani Pass,2874m above sea level,located on the border line of Lesotho and South Africa some 300m from the entry border post of Sani Pass, Lesotho.The lodge has a 48 seater restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch & dinner daily.The Highest Pub in Africa stocks a wide varity of beverages accompanied with a varst selection of great wines, satisfying all ones needs.Satilite TV and free WiFi is available in the lodge area ,enabling one to keep in contact with the outside world and family.The lodge has 9 rooms, made up of double & twin bedded rooms, on suite, togther with 6 & 4 sleeper family rooms.We also have a 22 sleeper Backpackers and Camping Area located next to the backpackers. Both the main Lodge & Backpackers are run on generator power.Activities available-guided hikes,fishing, bird watching and horse riding. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sani Top Chalet Hotel Sani Pass
- Sani Top Chalet Pass