Welcome to a modern Shangri La: Sani Pass, S.A.



We had Christmas Eve dinner shortly after arriving at Sani Lodge Backpackers, located between Underberg and Sani Pass in South Africa.  It’s just a few kilometers from Lesotho.

IMG_4774 Next day was a Christmas Buffet dinner at the nearby 3 star Sani Hotel (we don’t rough it in Shangri La).  Bev & I with new friends Lindsay (from the Netherlands) and Peter (from Johannesburg). 

IMG_4779IMG_4795 IMG_4800

Peter has a car so we got to see some waterfalls.

We also got a taste for what was ahead.IMG_4778

Day 3 here, we really got into the waterfalls – walking distance from Sani Lodge, do you believe!

IMG_4827IMG_4831 IMG_4833

So why do I call it Shangri La?  I sure hope these photos begin to explain:

IMG_4848 IMG_4814 IMG_4823 IMG_4837 IMG_4838 IMG_4845  Plus, it’s very remote, like hardly anyone is here (except for 3 star hotel).  Plus, the water is reputed to be amongst the purest and most rejuvenative in the world.  No need to purify as long as you note where it’s from (usually, it’s from only sky and stream). 

Day 4 we took our full day tour to Lesotho, finally went over the real deal Sani Pass – quite a road:  some supermen from Sani Pass the road (1) the road (2) the road (3) the road (4) the road (5) The Road

In Lesotho, I was blown away.  Finally what looks like “real” Africa – sheep and emptiness and round houses and men wearing blankets riding donkeys.IMG_4883 IMG_4884 IMG_4886 IMG_4901 IMG_4902 I IMG_4892m entranced.  Also relieved, for while folks are very poor (i.e. no money) I am told they are not hungry, and I can see they are rich in family.  However, AIDS has ravaged the population, despite intense education starting very young and continuing into high school.

Day 5 Bev left on the shuttle to take her to the Baz Bus as part of her marathon journey back home.IMG_4925

Now, Day 6 at Sani Lodge, I am planning my solo visit to Lesotho to follow up on what looks amazing.  Fortunately, the owner of Sani Lodge, Russell Suchet, literally wrote the book “A Backpacker’s Guide to Lesotho” and he’s a very patient man as I pepper him with hundreds of questions.  I am very fortunate to have his guidance.  I depart tomorrow a.m.  I’ll be there for only 3 full days (plus 2 travel days).   Wish me luck.  I’m a bit nervous.


One thought on “Welcome to a modern Shangri La: Sani Pass, S.A.

  1. Ha! In my college days we thought Sani Pass was too modern, so we hiked the trails that wound up the mountain passes from South Africa to Lesotho. Could go for days and see only a shepherd carrying only a stick and a blanket while we had huge backpacks….

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