Sani Pass to Clarens

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    The Quarry, East London
    Thanked: 0

    Default Sani Pass to Clarens

    Hi all. I would like to do a trip from Sani to perhaps Clarens. Any ideas on feasability, duration, difficulty and other relevant info?

    Any assistance would be appreciated.
    'Coz its a Toyota!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Thanked: 0


    Depends on the number of days you have and what type of vehicle. We did a trip a few years back starting in Jhb, down to Mooirivier, up Sani Pass to Mokotlong (spelling?) where we stayed the night. The next day we drove up to Oxbow and back again, then through to Katse dam where we stayed another night (go for a tour of the dam, it's quite impressive). Then we went on towards Maseru and down to Semonkong (Maletsunyane falls) Can't remember where we slept over, but it was before going down to Maseru. We did this in a normallyu aspirated petrol engined Land Rover and it was noticable that there was a huge drop-off in power oce we crossed Sani (there is still a looong climb after Sani) and even more so on the way to Oxbow. Therefore you have three choices
    (1) Sani - Mokotlong - Oxbow - Clarens = 1 night in Lesotho
    (2) Sani - Mokotlong - Katse - Oxbow - Clarens = 2 nights in Lesotho
    (3) Sani - Mokotlong - Katse - Maseru - Oxbow/Fouriesburg - Clarens = 3 nights in Lesotho

    None of the routes are particurly difficult, I think the only place where you really need a 4x4 is Sani Pass. Of course there are a few real off-road tracks, esp on the eastern side of Katse dam, but I don't have info on them.
    Last edited by venterap; 2007/10/02 at 11:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Thanked: 3


    I've done this route this other way around 3 or 4 times:

    The best time of year to go, in my opinion, is just after the rains. There seems to be millions of little waterfalls just coming out of the mountains and Katze Dam full is something to behold!

    Sani Top Chalets are very comfortable. They have done a lot of work on it. If you are a group of 6 or 8, I would recommend booking out the complete backpackers lodge. It sleeps 8 and has it's own fireplace and facilities. It used to be quite cheap as well. I think the SA Side of the Border closes at 4PM, but the Leshoto side only at 5PM. It would be good to make sure.

    We have experienced snow on New years Eve there before, so take warm stuff as well!

    From Sani Top Chalet to Katse damn via the shortest route takes about 6 - 8 hours depending on how many times you stop to admire the view. It's a made dirt road and you would use your 4 x 4 mostly on downhills to help you go slow. There is one River Crossing that might be fast flowing 40cm deep water. It's concrete underneath though. The only time of year I've seen water here was late January.

    At Katze you can stay at Katze Lodge. They are now managed by a company in JHB. The rates are reasonable, the food is execution and very cheap!

    The road from Katze to Clarens in only around 4 hours if you take it easy.

    The Golden Gate National Park facilities are superb! They have newly built self catering Chalets that sleep 4. The hiking around the area is spectacular and I would recommend spending at least one sunset on the Lawn by the Hotel overlooking the Brandwag Buttress.

    The have a "Vulture Restaurant" where they leave carcasses for vultures and a short, but impressive drive around the park.

    I'd allow at least one full day to go browsing around Clarens, especially if you have woman in your party. Fortunately there are also many pubs. The Pizza in the Street Cafe is arguably the best known to man!

    Pictures attached.


    I googled all the names to find contact details.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Thanked: 15


    We've just come back from a west to east trip across Lesotho - Maseru to Sani, through the southern part of the country. A truly amazing 4 day trip. The place which really stands out is Sehlabathebe. If you're interested, I would look at possibly spending a day longer, as some of the days took a long drive. There are camp sites and huts with the basic facilities all over. As for difficulty, the only real obstacle encountered was Manoaneng Pass, which none of the vehicles really struggled with. We did the trip in 5 Land Rovers, the oldest being a 1959 SII.

    As for feasibility, I'm pretty sure that some of the route we drove will be very different now to what it was 2 weeks ago. If one can believe the weather forecasts, Lesotho has been having heavy rain, which could mean that some of the rivers will be a lot fuller than they were when we crossed them and that some of the roads will be very muddy. One of the older vehicles was delayed a bit coming back, which meant that some of the party came back a day later than we did, and encountered snow on top of Sani.

    Just a picture of some of us crossing the Senqu River.

    '97 Disco Tdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Thanked: 36


    Myself and Zantus drove that exact route two weeks ago, not difficult and the loss of power is quite significant. Keep an eye on the temprature of the car.
    Ford Ranger
    Double cab
    Stock standard (for now)

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