Overview – Sani Top

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband write and update content for many travel organizations, including the Lesotho Tourist Board.

Sani Top, at the top of Sani Pass (South Africa’s most famous 4x4 road), offers spectacular mountain scenery and is a great base for hiking. Walks range from short strolls around the superbly located Sani Mountain Lodge to a strenuous four-day trek to Sehlabathebe National Park. You might want to take on the day hike to Thabana Ntlenyana, Africa’s highest peak south of Kilimanjaro.

Best Time to Go November to March (The weather is best)
High Season November to March (Busy with day visitors at midday)
Altitude 2,874-3,482m / 9,429-11,423ft

Pros & Cons

  • Top 4x4 destination via Sani Pass
  • Spectacular mountain scenery
  • Great hiking
  • Pony trekking offered
  • Highest pub in Africa (at Sani Mountain Lodge)
  • Highest peak in southern Africa
  • Great birding with many specials
  • Limited accommodation options
  • Many day-trippers visit from South Africa
  • Often cold and windy

Sani Top Safari Reviews

  • Expert Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Sani Top isn’t a wildlife destination. The scenery is incredible, but as the area isn’t protected, you won’t have much luck spotting animals. The one exception is the endearing ice rat, an endemic rodent restricted to the alpine zone in South Africa and Lesotho. These furry creatures are particularly common around the lodge, near where they come out of their burrows to warm up in the early morning sun.

Scenery

South Africa’s unsurfaced Sani Pass, with its endless succession of hairpin bends, snakes it way up to Sani Top in Lesotho. The pass is not for the fainthearted, but the views are stupendous and at the end you’ll be welcomed at the highest pub in Africa. The outside deck is the best place to enjoy the changing landscape as clouds play around the rugged peaks and valleys of the surrounding mountains.

Weather & Climate

Sani Top’s weather and climate is generally comparable to that of Lesotho. See:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Sani Top is in the warm summer months from November to March. It is very cold from May to July, and during these months the pass sometimes closes to avoid dangerous conditions due to snow and ice.

Getting There

Sani Top is most often accessed from South Africa via Underberg and Himeville. The distance from Underberg is 42km/26mi, which includes the 9km/6mi 4x4-only Sani Pass between the two border posts. The trip takes about two hours.

Health & Safety

Please read our malaria and vaccinations page for Lesotho, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Sani Top?

Sani Top Safari Reviews

  • Expert Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding