|Elevation||2,876 m (9,436 ft)|
|Location||Border of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and Mokhotlong, Lesotho|
The route up Sani Pass starts at 1544m and climbs 1332 vertical metres to an altitude of 2876 m. The road is a steep gravel road with gradients up to 1:3, which can be difficult to drive in bad weather and may be covered with snow and ice in winter. By South African law only 4x4 vehicles are allowed on the road. Several tour operators run guided tours up and down the pass. The pass lies between the border controls of both countries and is approximately 9 km in length. Caution must be exercised and drivers or riders must be alert while navigating the pass as it has claimed many lives. Occasionally the remains of vehicles can be seen that did not succeed in navigating its steep gradients and poor traction surfaces.
The Sani Pass dirt road will be upgraded in two phases; phase 1 extending for 14 km from the P318 (Sani Pass) turnoff and finishing at the old Good Hope Trading Post and phase 2 extending from kilometer 14 to kilometer 33, the summit of Sani Pass. Construction work for the first phase commenced in December 2006 and was completed in September 2012.
On 2 July 2013 the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism approved the execution of the phase 2. The intention was to re-gravel the final 5 km of the pass. The department also authorized plans to upgrade the storm-water drainage system and retaining walls along the route to reduce sand and gravel erosion.
On 21 May 2014 the South African Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, approved the execution of phase 2. The tarring was planned to start within the five months following the announcement and would bring the total cost of phase 2 of the project to R887-million.
In July 2015 was stated that phase 2 shall be completed in 2019.
While South African emigration at the bottom of the pass prohibits vehicles deemed unsuitable for the journey, the Lesotho border agents at the summit generally allow vehicles of all types to attempt the descent. The pass is often closed due to adverse weather conditions, especially during winter.
The respective border control stations open at 6:00 and close at 18:00.
The South African/Lesotho border is at the summit of the pass and not at the South African border control point. Sani Pass therefore lies entirely within South Africa.
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- Top Gear, Series 23, Episode 2.
- Extreme Frontiers - South Africa
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- The Sani Pass; gateway between the Southern Drakensberg and Lesotho
- "Sani Pass to be tarred". News24. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Sani Pass road upgrade project, South Africa". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
- "ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY OF SURFACING THE SANI PASS ROAD" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Environmental Impact Assessment for the Proposed Upgrade of the Sani Pass Road (P318): Phase 2" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Sani Pass to Have Gravel upgrade". Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "R887m tarring of Sani Pass road receives Ministerial nod". Engineering News. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- DHA Webpage - South African Ports of entry
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