Sani Pass Tar and Border Post Move





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  1. #1
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    Default Sani Pass Tar and Border Post Move

    The Long And Winding Road

    AND WILL THE BORDER POST BE MOVED AT LAST?


    Ah, to travel up Sani Pass for the day without having to take a passport! And, what’s more, how about travelling on a road that is safe and not damaging to the surrounding environment.

    Heard it before? Yes, you probably have as both projects – the movement of the border post to outside the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (UDP) and the upgrade of the actual pass road itself – have been on the cards for the past seven years.

    As one person said on a recent visit, it was extraordinary that one of South Africa’s major income earners, tourism, could be so sidelined as is the case with Sani Pass, one of South Africa’s most spectacular outlooks and destinations.

    But on both counts, things seem to be on the move again.

    Of course, as many people already know, about 14 kilometres of road from Himeville to the Good Hope Store ruins has almost been completed (Phase 1). And now the final two phases of this road project are to be tackled together, and most crucially, the precipitous winding section to the top of Sani Pass.

    For Ezemvelo’s Wildlife’s Senior Conservation Manager for the region John Crowson, these projects couldn’t come soon enough. “In terms of the road upgrade, we have to offer every compliment possible to the appointed contractors Arcus Gibbs. We, at Ezemvelo, want the best but most aesthetically pleasing road to the Pass imaginable. Fortunately, they are exceptionally well informed about the sensitivities associated with its construction.”

    The contractors, he said, were especially cognisant of the need to harden the road’s surface in a manner that prevents any further erosion to the surrounding environment. Equally, they want to construct it from natural material, material that is more congruent with its surroundings, than say concrete or asphalt.

    Crowson said it was indisputable that the present road leading to the summit was causing notable ecological damage, such as sedimentation running into river courses (it is the source of the Mkomazana River), wetlands and dams that collectively impact on habitats.

    This steady erosion is also disturbing surrounding vegetation. The effect this has had on micro-habitats also affected habitats suitable for rare and endangered species such as Wattled Crane and the Maluti Minnow.

    Despite being on the drawing board for the past seven years, the relocation of the border post to outside the Park is also back on the drawing table.

    The motivation for it being re-positioned onto the border of the Park has been accepted as being entirely logical. Not only is its current site impractical and unsuitable within the Park – a World Heritage Site - causing unregulated daily traffic associated with this business, but it is also located on a flood plain.

    Equally, the border post is too small with no room to expand, causing congestion at the post as tourism and commercial operations increase. Crowson, who motivated for the border relocation project back in 2003, said he really hoped that the “recent noises” turned into reality.

    “Aside from the overwhelming common sense related to its move, the movement of the border post would make a Sani Pass visit so much more tourist-friendly.”

    An Ezemvelo tourism centre is included in the larger border post development to enhance the tourist experience. This would offer tourists either leaving SA or coming into the country from Lesotho, information pertaining to both countries.

    Further, a small auditorium would be established to market the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, offering both a cultural and environmental perspective on the Park.

    CAPTIONS 1. John Crowson, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Senior Conservation Manager for the Southern Section of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park 2. The famous Sani Pass road
    I got this article from KZN Wildlife website, http://www.kznwildlife.com/index.php...ding-Road.html
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  2. #2
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    In a way I understand why they want to tar it (erosion cause problems for vegetation, animal etc...), but tarring it will take away from the whole Sani experience. Anyway seeing that there is no stopping them and that it has taken them this long just to do phase 1 of the road I'm sure it will take them 20 more years just to reach the top.
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    I can also understand why they want to do it.
    We as 4x4'ers are just a small % of the total population, and I don't think they always realise that tarring Sani pass will take this adventure away from us. Most people would probably prefer a tarred pass because then they can also access it.

    For us it's bad, but for the majority of other people it is good I guess
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    From what I remember from the pass (about 2 years ago) was the tight turns and steepish angles which forced us to do it in LR...
    Currently I'm driving a Jimny and I would be able to drive it now without any problems in LR. But if it's tarred, I will not be able to use LR due to gearbox wind-up...
    So if they really do tar it, they will not be opening the pass for more tourism, but actually just for people with big engined cars that can idle up there...
    With this in mind, speed will also incease on the pass which has its own problems...

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    Question: What effect will incresing the number of travellers have on the surrounding environment? How will a group of bikers with howling engines effect the tranquility of the area?

    Increasing the number of people in an area is just asking to destroy that area...
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    Lets face it: The Sani Pass is the only link between Lesotho and KZN, more so the harbour side. The decision to tar the road is based almost completely on economical reasons, period. Would make it easier to transport goods from SA to Lesotho. No need for 4x4 taxi's anymore!

    As said in a previous post, the 4x4 community is but a minute spec in the ocean, and we do not actually contribute the majority of Lesotho's GBP, do we?

    My humble opinion anyway.

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    Ask yourself this, how fast can a Taxi DRIVE now and HOW fast can a Taxi drive when its Tarred...??
    This is the only reason its being done so that Taxis and "Locals" Tswana's can have "easier" access in and out...
    Id rather be alive thank you....
    Enviroment damage? well lets wait and see..

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    Quote Originally Posted by difflock4697 View Post
    This is the only reason its being done so that Taxis and "Locals" Tswana's can have "easier" access in and out...
    .
    hmmm, well thats surely their right? Its their home and they must have the right to proper, tarred roads... I wonder if you would complain if the access road to your neighbourhood was inaccessable without a LR vehicle.../ particularily if you didnt have the means for one yourself

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    There is a lesson to be learned here.
    Do not wait for that “one day” to experience the thrill of doing something. Change and progress is inevitable. Soon, most of the tracks we so love to drive will either be improved (tarred) or closed completely. And when we do these trails, let us be mindful to do so with respect so that we can prolong the experience for others.
    The writing is on the wall. Proposed new legislation may well result in all large-engine vehicles and 4x4’s becoming extinct/scrapped. Yes, it may be a while before it happens in SA, but time goes by so quickly. The Sani Pass upgrade had been in the pipeline for the past 20 years, and now it is here … and gone is the old traditional experience.
    Not that it is a bad thing. Surfaced (tarred) roads are more economical to maintain, are more environmental friendly, and definitely promote socio-economic growth. But from the 4x4 minority point of view – our “playing areas” are slowly getting smaller and smaller.
    Let us make use of the available opportunities now, before it is all gone … and do so responsibly.
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    Thank heavens I ticked it off my " bucket list " last year !
    But it does make sense as long as the pass is not closed while they do it!!!
    There is no task too simple for some people to complicate !



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    well said jean

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    Question

    Hi

    This is quite an old post..But has anybody been up there recently?Hve they done any work or is it still as was 2 yrs ago..?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbit View Post
    Hi

    This is quite an old post..But has anybody been up there recently?Hve they done any work or is it still as was 2 yrs ago..?
    Yes, they are almost done tarring it.

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    The one silver lining for me is - imagine how much fun that pass would be when its tarred going up in a little sports car!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvandyk View Post
    Yes, they are almost done tarring it.

    Ja Ja Sure!!.

    I have been up there in March/April and it was still rocks all the way.

    Just to get back to the original question of the reason for it being tarred. Yes sure the pass is steep and tight in places but it is not like there is a beautiful tar road just waiting to link up with it once on top? The local Lesotho people will probably still need 4x4 taxis just to get to the top of the pass in Lesotho in any case! Yes there is a lot of road development done by the Chinese in Lesotho, but I think it will still take a long while before they get to the top of Sani. So why the rush from a South African perspective? I don't buy the environmental story dished up.

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    once tared it will be more challenging in the winter,with snow that is.

    rocky surface if frozen will crack ice once driven over,so more or less,good traction is possible.
    tar surface will get slippery,especially steep one as sani pass.

    good road side barriers,bulldozers and salt shall be at plenty on tared sani pass.

  17. #17
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    If it is for the economical side of things I can understand the need for the route to Durban but I can bet you my bottom dollar that before 10 big 18-wheeler trucks have gone down a tarred steep and winding pass like Sani, one will end up down in the valley below taking out a few other vehicles as well. And the taxi's.... I can already see a few stuffed up old taxi's with chipboard for brake shoe trying to go down there.
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  18. #18
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    Don't worry guys, the Chinese are building it, so in 2 years time it will be an even better 4x4 destination
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    We went up on the 25th of May. Sani Pass is a mess. The road has been blasted and widened to the point that I could of driven up there in my old Jetta. The turns are no longer hairpin and even with my big old Discovery which has a huge turning circle, we could go around each turn without having to stop and reverse to reposition to drive up the next section of the pass. The 4x4 aspect has gone. The views are still spectacular but the road is forever changed....
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