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“Sani Mountain Lodge”

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Sani Mountain Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sani Pass
Certificate of Excellence
geneva
Level 6 Contributor
36 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Sani Mountain Lodge”
Reviewed January 7, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Beware of leaking chimneys in the rondavels.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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222 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
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Johannesburg
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
116 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed one night at the backpackers (as the chalets were fully booked). The price of ZAR 600 for 3 persons was overpriced for the quality (500 meters away from the main lodge). The pub was really nice (good atmosphere), the dinner buffet was overpriced and of mediocer quality. The terasse provides a stunning view down to the pass.

All in all a nice stay.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank NikiAustria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boksburg, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2012

We stayed one night at Sani Top Backpackers. It is definitely a wild spot and the nature is amazing. The dorm is like any dorm room would look like. Unfortunatly the bathroom facilities were horrific, no water, toilets that couldn't flush and dustbins that look it they never been cleaned. Management also not very helpful they look more intrested in having a smoke. The bar is very cozy with good food and drinks.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Monique683
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 10, 2012

We travelled through Lesotho and had a long day to reach the lodge. There is no sign on the road and we nearly crossed the border and missed it. We found the rondavel adequate but not worth the money that we paid. Bathroom very basic! Lovely oven in the room which was great in the evening but cooked us in the night. Thank goodness the draught from the badly fitting door helped. We should have stayed in the back packers here for a fraction of the price where we could have chosen what we wanted from the menu instead of having to chose steak or chicken. The food was ok, plentiful but very unimaginative. In South Africa why does it always have to be greek salad, butternut soup, steak and malva pudding? Good, but every day! There is a great atmosphere in the pub and amazing selection of wine! I would rather have good food. Breakfast was good but coffee and orange juice were not good. Brian was friendly and helpful and gave us a packed lunch instead of breakfast. The name and web site implied more luxury than we got. We don't need this but for the price we paid we expected more.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank RosT20012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2012

We stayed a couple of nights at Sani Top, which is a truly unique place. It is in a beautiful but extremely wild spot right at the top of the Sani Pass & next to the Lesotho border post (you need to leave SA to get to the hotel). The rooms are basic but with hot water & each with its own fireplace... and you will likely need it - as the spot is extremely windy and exposed to the cold blasts coming off the Lesotho plateau. The restaurant is good with simple dishes offered & a decent selection of wine. It is a good stopping off point if you're driving into Lesotho or as a base for hiking along the top of the Drakensberg escarpment

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank sheldita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2012

We booked well in advance and the snow delivered for all of us...the top chalet is under new management and there is some work being done on the chalets. Because of the heavy snows, the pipes were frozen and hence no water but the guys made a plan,,,,white christmas for the family was fun ....

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank dylanleo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2012

Sani Top Chalet is not a four-star lodge or a luxury hotel group resort. It is a rustic, offroad, fun stop for people with a sense of adventure and travellers who are used to four-wheel-drive territory and accommodation. Those expecting heated towel rails and room service should book in elsewhere . . . this venue doesn't promise to be anything other than what it is: a place with the most spectacular views, atmosphere and location. That there's hot and tasty food, booze, bed, and bogs, is a bonus! Four-by-four adventurers are generally used to roughing it, so Sani Top is more than adequate for most! As for other complaints, local rural labour is employed, and do the best they can. Get a life, all you whingers who complain! Go to Sun City or the Oyster Box if this is too tough for you!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Peta104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sani Mountain Lodge

Property: Sani Mountain Lodge
Address: Sani Pass, Sani Pass, Lesotho (Formerly Sani Top Chalet)
Phone Number:
Location: Lesotho > Mokhotlong District > Sani Pass
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sani Pass
Number of rooms: 14
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

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