The Lesotho Highlands offer some of the most fantastic off road driving you will encounter anywhere in Southern Africa. It is full of beautiful mountain passes and deep river valleys with tremendous scenery where ever you look.
Since Lesotho is so mountainous, 4×4 vehicles make many parts of Lesotho far more accessible to the Lesotho traveller. Sani Pass for example, is a spectacular mountain road and well-known entry point into Lesotho from South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg. Known as the gateway to the ‘Roof of Africa’ scenic route, it links the spectacular scenery of the Drakensberg with the Maluti Mountains of northern Lesotho. Once at the top, visitors can have lunch at the highest pub in Southern Africa, Sani Top Chalets.
The roads and passes themselves offer varying challenges and can test driver and vehicle alike. This is particularly true, as Lesotho can cycle through all four seasons in a single day leaving conditions varied and in places difficult. The winter season (June to August) see the greatest chance of snow in the Lesotho Highlands, so be sure to have a couple of snow chains available if you are tackling the more difficult passes, just in case.
There are a number a passes in Lesotho that the avid 4×4 driver can/must tackle, most of which are located in the central region south of Mohale Dam. They are Sani Pass, Black Mountain Pass, Mokhoabong pass, CheChe Pass, Blue Moutain Pass, God Melp Me pass, Baboon’s Pass, Tlaeeng Pass (highest road pass in Southern Africa), Matebeng pass and the Moteng pass. There are many more to explore on your 4×4 adventures in Lesotho.
25km/h is generally considered a good guide for planning trips, if conditions are good and you can up it that speed to 50km/h. But with the views that the Mountain Kingdom presents you with around every bend, the best advice is to take your time and enjoy it.
Finding reliable sources of fuel can be patchy at best, so it is best to top up as you go and keep a full jerry-can, just in case you arrive at a petrol station only to find that its tanks are as dry as your own.
There are a number of guides and tour operators that can organise 4×4 tours into the majestic Drakensberg and Maluti mountains of the Lesotho highlands.
You just have to decide what you plan to do. Many people simply take a day trip up Sani Pass and then down again to Himeville/Underburg. While others plan a more adventurous multi-day tour, choosing to visit Katse Dam, the various National parks, or ride the native Basotho ponies before exiting Lesotho on the opposite side from which they entered (Fouriesburg/Ficksburg).
If 4x4s aren’t your particular brand of motoring fun, the “Roof of Africa” challenge (End of November) may be just the ticket. Over the past 42 years, this motor biking event has transformed itself from a long distance race with trucks, motorcycles and buggies into an Extreme Enduro suited only for dirt bikes. Today, the best riders from around the world come to the Kingdom of Lesotho to battle the challenging terrain in hopes of etching their name into history.