Underberg-Drakensberg Gardens

Our long drive around the Escarpment has taken us to the very same point where we would have landed had we come by way of Lesotho, i.e. Underberg, a pretty little mountain resort laying in the shade of the Drakensberg where in the afternoon we’ll have a function with the local farmers at the McCormick dealer’s. To us, though, Underberg is synonymous with Sani Pass, which was one of the reasons why we meant to visit Lesotho in the first place. The road that comes down from the pass arrives right here, and we have the whole morning to ourselves. We can afford to spend a few hours tackling one of the best loved off road itineraries in the whole of South Africa. Built in the 1950s to link Lesotho with KwaZulu-Natal Province, the 4WD vehicles only, unpaved track starts from an altitude of 1544 m, winding its way up to a 2876 m high pass within little more than 15 km. The very steep, narrow hairpin bends make for an hair-raising experience, especially if you look down over the unprotected edge into the chasm below. Despite being the only pass in the whole of the Escarpment and little more than a muletrack, when it transpired that plans were being made for it to be tarred there was such a general outcry among off road lovers that they were reportedly shelved. C!imbing up and down the pass takes about four adrenaline-filled hours. We could not miss the experience!

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