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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Hopefully the OP has Sani done and dusted by now but I was up and down a few weeks ago on a dirt bike and it was as rough and rocky as I have seen it. An Underberg local told me on New Year he didn't try much beyond the SAPS post in a 2WD double cab that he's previously cruised up with. Construction still ongoing from a few km after the hotel up to the SAPS post. I think an AWD will make it but will have to pick lines with care.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Estee View Post
    Coming off the N3 at Nottingham Road and taking the Lowerer Lotheni route to Himmeville will knock 2 hours off that at least.
    Top tip! Thanks, i though maps always shows the fastest route, but then again it also reckons doing the actual climb takes 25 min haha

    Quote Originally Posted by mudgrubber View Post
    Hopefully the OP has Sani done and dusted by now but I was up and down a few weeks ago on a dirt bike and it was as rough and rocky as I have seen it. An Underberg local told me on New Year he didn't try much beyond the SAPS post in a 2WD double cab that he's previously cruised up with. Construction still ongoing from a few km after the hotel up to the SAPS post. I think an AWD will make it but will have to pick lines with care.
    I think ill leave clarens mega early on wednesday and take the quick route as estee recommended, i want to do the climb especially hehe, ill make sure to push the air suspension all the way up and take it steady and smart and report back

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by heyyahhey View Post
    AWD is probably good - I've seen some RWD bakkies struggle a bit on some of the steeper sharp turns. If you were on it in winter in ice, it would be...exciting...

    Stop at the Sani Lodge at the top (right just after the border post...you need R 40 there - good place for a beer. I don't have the coordinates - but it's well marked once you get close.

    Have fun!

    We went thru there once after a lot of rain - was pretty muddy down at the bottom - that was actually trickier than the pass. They are doing construction down there. This is before the SA border post.
    Yes it's the highest pub in Africa

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by XC90 View Post
    I think ill leave clarens mega early on wednesday and take the quick route as estee recommended, i want to do the climb especially hehe, ill make sure to push the air suspension all the way up and take it steady and smart and report back
    Let us know how the route, climb, beer and time worked out!

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by duncang View Post
    Man carrying a fridge over road. Perhaps a Game nearby ?
    Just FYI, google maps now supports mobile speed camera reports. That icon shows a speed trap reported by another maps user.

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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    I don`t know if you were still looking for the coordinates.

    The bottom (our) border post is at:
    S29 36 10.4 E29 20 21.7

    The top is at:
    S29 35 03.9 E29 17 08.4

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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by XC90 View Post
    Also i plan on going on tuesday but gps seems confused and keeps giving me the lodge where i want to know where the start of the pass is as i want to figure out how early i have to leave to get there. Currently im in clarens on a roadtrip.
    Shout if you require a GPX file from the the bottom (SPH) to the top.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Gentlemen, I have finally completed Sani Pass, so here is my story.

    We left Clarens at 4am sharp, we headed through Golden Gate - past Sterkfontein dam, and through Oliviershoek pass then we did a little bit of the N3 highway, which delayed us a bit because a hardware truck lost its load on the other side of the road and people were stopping and running everywhere to STEAL the paint and ladders. Every time I see this my blood boils because of how casually the people just steal those items out in the open, at least try and look guilty man!

    Anyways, the next delay came at the tollgate as I took the offramp at Mooi Rivier, I realised I need money for the border crossing and wanted change to make things as simple as possible at the border so I proceeded to give my lone R200 to the toll booth lady.... she was not impressed... she walked around to the other toll booths to look for change. So if you, Amarok guy that was waiting behind me, are reading this, I profusely apologize!

    Anyways, it was a short sprint to Himeville and then we hit lower Lotheni road. My initial thoughts were: ah man what a leke road, and then the tar ended... haha. Rocks were intense at times, but a scenic road none the less! I think that there was a lot of rain recently and all the ground washed away.

    Then we turned right onto Sani pass road. I'm curious, is it all Chinese built from there or only the piece much later that you can see is a darker tar? I hate to admit it but the China road is nicely done and the little walls are a nice touch. I just hope they leave some spare walls behind once they leave because I've seen so many flat barriers recently that I feel bad for that fancy wall already. Anyways, the fancy road ended soon and we hit flattened ground that they are prepping.

    Not long and we were at the SA border post, we made good time. GPS predicted 5H20M travel time, our travel time was 4H30M. I think it would have been 4H20M if only the N3 and tolls didn't give me issues.

    SA border, I was pleasantly surprised. Guys were very friendly going in and out, just had a laugh at the control, they are not bothered haha. I'm sure I didn't even need my fancy magnetic ZA badge but onwards regardless.

    As I entered I quickly realized I'm not taking chances with the rocks and entered Off Road Mode. Up she goes to 10,5 inches. Took it nice and slow, steady pace between about 7 and 12kph depending on terrain. Didn't scrape anything so i was happyness. For the most part I thought to myself eh this isn't so bad whats the big deal? But I think the sheer size of it all throws you off the incline height.

    BUT THEN, it was finally here, the true test. I think you guys call it the switchbacks? Flipping sharp turns, very steep and slippery at places. That was interesting but we made it without getting stuck once. Chose my lines of attack properly and stayed on the power steadily. Next thing we were at the border and paid our full R40 to the friendly border peeps and the crazy dog that hangs around there.

    Soon we were enjoying our toasteds and chips at the bar. I just bought some Maluti Lager to take home, it was way to cold to drink that early for me haha. Surprisingly the climb only took 1h30m, I guess we should have taken more photos?

    The down was peanuts, just hill descent control all the way down. However, I saw a lady struggling to get up at the switchbacks on my way down; she nearly wiped out her bumper on the second attempt trying to use momentum, which also failed. Soon she chose a better line and got up only to get stuck soon again. I simply could not understand why she was struggling for grip so much until she passed me, for some reason all the young men in the car with her were sitting in the boot.... oh boy, I guess they thought better traction on the rear wheels. Only one problem... they were in a new shape X-trail, yeah this ain't it chief, good luck with the rest.

    One thing I noticed going down: all the private individuals going up give you mean face even when you are super courteous to get out of their way haha. Is the adrenaline just getting them so pumped that they put on their 4x4 face? Or are they judging the Sandton Snooper coming down?? The taxis and tour peeps were actually very very friendly.

    Soon we were at the SA border again with the necks nice and stiff from all the shaking around.

    For anyone who is interested about the car and its performance...

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    It was great in offroad mode. The throttle response is like stepping on a nice big sponge, there is no sudden explosion of power from the turbos and its all very controlled. The air suspension is awesome when it came to some of the rocks and holes, just rides very hard as they do at full lift naturally. Low range... This is something I was stressing about because it has no low range, but I think that either the 1st gear is mega short and mostly only used in offroad mode, or there is some clever engine and gearbox voodoo going on. Never felt like I needed to work for power. Crawled up nicely with RPM mostly at about 1800 and at the steepest switchbacks at about 2000rpm. Picked up very little wheelspin and when there was, the system was quick to catch it and redirect power. I think obviously it also has a lot to do with offroad mode engaging 50/50 power of course, but yeah never really felt like I'm working the engine extremely hard. I will say this: I feel very sorry for these highway tyres

    Also just want to give a shoutout @JJJ for some solid AWD tips

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  9. #29
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Also thank you everyone in this thread for being so patient with me, the advice, coordinates, gpx files and tips. really appreciate it

    NEXT UP

    Lake Eland 4x4

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Nice.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    So you got off the N3 at Mooi River and then on to Nottingham Road and Lower Lotheni or did you get back on to N3 and then off at the Nottingham Road offramp?

    Mooi River to Nottingham would have added time
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Super report thanks, told you you wouldn't get lost 🤣
    There is no task too simple for some people to complicate !



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  12. #32
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Thank you for the feedback

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  13. #33
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    The foreign couple in this vehicle also did Sani Pass in March 2012, we were going up ..........

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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Thanx for the great report.

    We will be going up for the second time next week, but it will be our first "down". Looking forward to test the downhill assist control. Slow and steady does make it a more relaxing trip like you said. Also still trying to convince my wife to take the wheel this time.....

    Son in law is taking his mountain bike with for some serious peddling.

    Can`t wait!

    Also thank you to Estee for the Lotheni - Nottingham Road advice. We still need to go back to Pretoria after doing Sani Pass and any time saved is appreciated.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Great report!

    Reminds me of the time we waited to get back down the pass , but there was this tourist who just couldn't get his rented Dodge up one of the switchbacks. We routed for him and willed him up ... and after about the 7th time he nearly made it....
    But then:
    https://youtu.be/Lh8dswkr7wM

    Eventually we couldn't take it anymore.....

    https://youtu.be/nxMY5rorNaA
    Last edited by shady; 2020/01/08 at 11:21 PM.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
    The foreign couple in this vehicle also did Sani Pass in March 2012, we were going up ..........

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    This reminded me, how in the world do those taxis make it up there? Are they perhaps special order with the hilux 4x4 system in or something? Or do they just use momentum haha

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Estee View Post
    Nice.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    So you got off the N3 at Mooi River and then on to Nottingham Road and Lower Lotheni or did you get back on to N3 and then off at the Nottingham Road offramp?

    Mooi River to Nottingham would have added time
    We did option A, off at mooi rivier and then on to nottingham road and lower lotheni, was that the wrong one? Sorry im terrible with directions

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Glad it all went well and you (and the suspension lift) obviously picked good lines to avoid the odd scrape underneath. As an aside, none of the Sani roadworks were Chinese built and a local contractor is currently busy there, up to the SAPS post (I won't comment on overall financial, design and construction efficiency but they are generally good and a very big (expensive) effort has been made on the environmental aspects). There is a plan to surface the last section; hold onto your wallets; it won't be less than R1bn and just for vanity methinks. Construction of roadworks for the Polihali LHDA works has started which could increase traffic.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter C View Post
    Also thank you to Estee for the Lotheni - Nottingham Road advice. We still need to go back to Pretoria after doing Sani Pass and any time saved is appreciated.
    Magic. That Howick - Bulwer - Underberg loop is no longer a nice option. It used to be quite scenic many years ago but apart from the extra kilometers and time and fuel, its become fairly dodgy, well the recent times I have done it, with traffic, pedestrians, livestock........

    The Lower Lotheni is as scenic if not better. They are starting to tar it now but havent completed it yet

    For Gautengers, this is the quickest route back to N3 and besides, you get to stop in Nottingham Road for breakfast/lunch. They make great beer down there so I am told
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

    There is no such thing as inclement weather, only poor selection of clothing.... or Vehicle

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  20. #40
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    Default Re: Sani, easy or not? Also cordinates please?

    Some of them certainly are 4x4 imports but I doubt that all of them are. But believe you me if the conditions changes even slightly those rentals are going to be stuck there for a long time. Once, before I got my own 4x4, we went up with a tour operator in the snow. Nobody made it up that day, even snow chains didn't help.
    Quote Originally Posted by XC90 View Post
    This reminded me, how in the world do those taxis make it up there? Are they perhaps special order with the hilux 4x4 system in or something? Or do they just use momentum haha
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