Pictures from Lesotho and Sani Pass
October 1 Malealea to Sani Top
October 2 Sani Top
It was Sunday, so women were wearing their best dresses and going to church. Usually the women wear dresses (except the younger ones can be seen in blue jeans), but more ordinary ones than this. Public transit in Lesotho consists mainly of 10-passenger minibuses like this one, which run on fixed routes. We don’t know if they run on schedules. Since most residents of Lesotho can’t afford cars, that means that most of the traffic on the roads consists of these minibuses.
Just outside of Lesotho’s capital city Maseru, small businesses are housed in sheet metal shacks along the main road. They may have looked run-down to us, but most likely the people there prefer their urban life to returning to a mountain village.
We drove across the entire width of Lesotho, from west to east. The mountains are rough and the roads are rougher, and whoever named this pass was surely aware of that.
In the north of Lesotho rivers flow down from the crest of the Drakensberg range. Water is Lesotho’s major resource. The rivers are dammed to produce power and tapped to produce irrigation water, both of which are sold to South Africa, and more dams are being built.
After driving clear across the country of Lesotho, we finally arrived at Sani Top in the dark. Its main claim to fame is that it is the highest pub in Africa, at 2874 metres above sea level. The lodge was warm and cosy, and it did have some sleeping rooms, but because of our group’s size we were relegated to some large and drafty buildings a fair distance away.
The temperature at Sani Pass was not much above freezing, and from time to time there were snow flurries outside the lodge.
But notwithstanding the temperature and the wind, Rosemary went on the walk to the highest point in Lesotho, Thabana Ntlenyana at 3482 metres. Paul was unwell and so was spared this ordeal.
On the following day we drove down the notorious Sani Pass road, with all of its switchbacks, on our way to hiking trails in the Drakensberg range. Early in the morning the pass was filled with clouds, but they cleared away quickly.