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“Remote, quiet, peaceful accommodations, great view”

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Sani Mountain Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sani Pass
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 December 2011

Sani Top Chalet is situated at the top of Sani Pass. From the lodge, the views are absolutely amazing. The quiet and peaceful surroundings make the stay very worth while. In the mornings you can see the shepherd boys heading off into the hills with their sheep herds. Lambs had recently been born and added to the size of the herds and the beauty. It is a wonderful, very remote site. A small ‘village’ is close to the lodge (500 meters away) and I walked through the area and observed the ‘rock’ houses and daily life….no need to drive anywhere to see this.

When writing a review, I feel it is important to understand expectations. Remember that all supplies need to come up the pass. Each day, supplies need to be delivered and this includes the propane tanks to generate heat in the heaters and also the firewood needs to come up the pass. These are valuable commodities and need to be thought of as such. Care is taken not to waste the fuel. All food comes up the pass as well. When you consider this and you see the lodge, it is quite amazing what you get. We had one of the newer roundavels which was neat and clean, however it is not ‘big city’ neat and clean. Water for showers is heated via wood heaters and it may not always be reliable. For 1 night I can miss a shower if the hot water doesn’t arrive.

I would say the accommodations are more reminiscent of hostel type accommodations in very remote areas. Considering this, we were pleased with the accommodations. The set meal in the evening was very good with good variety. This is cooked on basic stoves, nothing fancy in the kitchen and yet great meals are produced. It is a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers from around the world. They are all there for the experience of Sani Pass, the view and the overnight stay.

We were there on November 26. The log book indicated that the prior day, those that were there woke up to snow on the ground. So even though it is summer, at this height, it can still be quite cold at night.

The generator only runs for a few hours in the evening. After that it helps to have a torch or a head lamp. But with a clear sky, the stars and natural light is quite amazing.

I rate this a solid 4 based on my expectations, the remoteness and the constant turn around in guests who stay 1 night only to experience a unique part of Lesotho and South Africa.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank windymountain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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227 - 233 of 277 reviews

Reviewed 28 November 2011

We travelled as a group to the Sani Pass during the winter this year and thought that we would have a great time surrounded by beautiful scenery. Unfotunately we did not know that the scenery would be the only thing worth writing home about at the Sani top chalet! Upon arrival we were escorted to our chalets and this was the first of many bad experiences. Our chalets were filthy, dusty and the bedding was stained and in dire need of a wash! When entering the bathroom another horror awated. You were welcomed by a plastic can filled with icy cold water. it was later explained to us that the water freezes during winter. What a sad excuse! For the amount of money we payed for our accommodation you would expect that they would have upgrated their plumbing, as the ski resort that is just a few kilometers away have hot running water. You have to fill your toilet with the water in the can everytime you want to go to the toilet.

They also claim that they have the highest bar in africa. This is true but it is so delapedated that you do not even want to lean against the railing for fearing that you will fall over the edge. The dinner that was served to us was not up to scratch and I shivver when thinking how the plates and cutlery where cleaned afterwards as rows of plastic containers with water was standing outside the kitchen. This is the ideal breading ground for salmonella and the likes. The toilets in the bar was the most horrible and filthy toilet I've ever seen. And to top that horrible experience you have to use another plactic container to pour water into your toilet in order for it to work. It is such a lovely touch especially for ladies that can not pick up such large containers filled with water.

After having a once in a livetime dinner, you have to go to bed as the generator switch off at 10 o'clock. So if you don't want to be left in the cold and the dark, this would be the perfect time to wash your face with icy cold water and have a restless night covered in dirty, stained,smelly bedding. Lovely! The next morning, following a very restless night, we were entertained by one of our group shouting in his bathroom after splashing his face with the iciest, dirtiest water. The only possitive thing about the cold water in the morning was that you woke up immedaitely so that you were wide awake for the trip back home.

The only saving grace for Sani top chalet is the fact that it's located in such a beautiful setting and that the gluwein were decent enough to drink.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Sarie19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2011

The location is of course stunning! Yet, the accomodation is a bit shabby. The question is if you may expect more. I think with some more simple adjustments it could be a much better experience. Some more maintenance and cleaning (specially the surroundings) and it would be much better. So go here for the experience and not for any luxury ...

  • Stayed: November 2011
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2  Thank nlsbstn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2011

An amazing trip up the Sani Pass !! Chalet was very comfortable and cosy !!
Staff very friendly and helpful and views from the top stunning !!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank robinpatterson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2011

I have always wanted to drive up Sani Pass but never actually made the plans. Then I heard it was getting tarred so I quickly made a misson because half the experience is the drive and the sense of acomplishment you get with having done it! :)
We had a 4x4 (automatic) so the drive up I just looked at the beautiful peaceful scenery, got out to jump around on some rocks and take pictures by the river, stopped at some lookout points but even from inside the car, it is a relaxing but also fun drive because the road is very bumpy in parts, especially at the top. I was nervous! we got to the top and saw the tiny little customs office. It's very rural up there and really really cold - even though below was a warm and sunny day. I had hot chocolate at the restaurant but it was average. I think it does well because it's the only real place to go once you have reached the top but having read reviews from trip advisor, we decided against staying in the chalets for the night. Then we carried on up the road on the Lesotho side to go and find some snow! :) We found some! Played in it for 2 minutes and then decided to get back in the car because it was too cold :) It is amazing how rural it is up there. Just the occassional hut, people riding horses for transport, walking around with thick blankets. I really don't know how they manage to live in that cold with just the bare minimum. It is relaxing though seeing that things can be so simple and basic and I admire them for it. The rest of the world and it's issues seem far away. Politics, riots, power-outages, seem to be other people's problems.
Now my boyfriend had heard having a drink at the top can affect you alot more due to the altitude and I wasn't happy about a light headed person driving us back on that road! So I drove :) and it was SOOO much fun! I think boys secretly have all the fun while the girls look out the windows at the mountainous scenery :) It was an adrenalin rush for sure and I got a few funny looks from people seeing my man as the passenger but it was awesome :) definitely recommend trying it!
Driving from Durban to Underberg, up Sani Pass, Down again and back to Durban later in the same day was really too much driving, so I would recommend staying in Underberg for a night or 2 and making a relaxing weekend of it. It's a beautiful, quiet, relaxing place.
Oh and try borrow someones 4x4 if you don't have your own because the tour operators charge ridiculous amounts and I really think the experience would be better at your own pace and more personal just with your friends and family.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank DowPmb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2011

Weekend trip from Durban, tried to conquer the Sani Pass with my 4WD rental car. Some 500m before the top I had to make a u-turn, the 'road' got so slippery and steep that I had to return to the SA border post. Left my car there overnight in between the 2 fenced gates and coincidentally managed to get a ride with the Sani Chalet 4WD minibus. What a scary yet exciting trip, both up and down the pass, and I would not recommend it to anybody unless you have a powerful 4WD car and loads of experience in such terrain. There is some kind of regular public transport and you can ask the hotel to take you up and down, seems a much wiser option to me! The hotel is basic but with a cool ambience, so was the weather with freezing temperatures at night and I slept with all my clothes on and still felt a little cold in the bed. At the bar and restaurant they served gluhwein, great dinner and a good breakfast, next morning I visited a local village on the plateau with the same minibus. My excellent rating doesn't refer to the standard of Sani Top Chalet as such but the overall experience of Sani Top, a must do for everybody in the area!!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled solo
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Thank Globetrotter T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2011

Stayed here for two nights in March. The first point is you definitely need a 4x4 to reach here from the Leshoto side (it is already compulsory coming up the Sani Pass from South Africa) as the road from Mothotlong is in very poor condition in places. The lodge is situated at Sani Top on the Leshoto border and is a remote a location as you can find in Southern Africa. In winter in can be cut off for days and once you are here it is easy to understand.
We stayed in a lovely roundavel housing double bed, shower and wood burning fire. There are a number of things to be aware of when staying here. The only source of heat in the roundavels is the wood burning fire and when we were there it was chilly in the evening so blankets were a necessity even with the fire. Electricity is only available between 6pm and 10pm daily although oil lanterns are provided in the room for a rural experience.
There is a pub adjacent to the accommodation which claims to be the highest pub in Africa at 2874m above sea level. This serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a well stocked bar. We had breakfast and dinner here. Breakfast is pretty good with choice of cereals, fruit salad, juice, yoghurt plus bacon & eggs and coffee. Dinner is simple home cooking and is a fixed three course menu, which is of ample propotions, but no apparent veggie option seemed to be available.
The one regret we have about Sani Top is that it could be so much better. Staff are indifferent at best, the only time in Leshoto where we didn’t feel particularly welcome. Also there appears little or no organisation. Room was not cleaned or serviced during our stay and if you want a fire on the second evening you need to clean the grate out yourself. This wasn’t a major deal but at £110 per night, I would perhaps have expected a little better. It is remote and you have to put up with a few more things that you would take for granted elsewhere but compared to Semonking Lodge in a similar remote location there is no comparison either in terms of welcome, quality of food, accomodation or organisation.
We got the impression that they are more than happy to rely on day trippers purchasing food and drinks rather than overnight guests.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank T-SGlobetrotters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sani Mountain Lodge

Address: Sani Pass, Sani Pass, Lesotho (Formerly Sani Top Chalet)
Phone Number:
Region: Lesotho > Mokhotlong District > Sani Pass
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sani Pass
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A one of kind Lodge located at the top of Sani Pass,2874m above sea level,located on the border line of Lesotho and South Africa some 300m from the entry border post of Sani Pass, Lesotho.The lodge has a 48 seater restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch & dinner daily.The Highest Pub in Africa stocks a wide varity of beverages accompanied with a varst selection of great wines, satisfying all ones needs.Satilite TV and free WiFi is available in the lodge area ,enabling one to keep in contact with the outside world and family.The lodge has 9 rooms, made up of double & twin bedded rooms, on suite, togther with 6 & 4 sleeper family rooms.We also have a 22 sleeper Backpackers and Camping Area located next to the backpackers. Both the main Lodge & Backpackers are run on generator power.Activities available-guided hikes,fishing, bird watching and horse riding. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sani Top Chalet Hotel Sani Pass
Sani Top Chalet Pass

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