SANI PASS - SANI TOP CHALET
THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO
DECEMBER 29, 2007
Warm Greetings to you!
As I begin to write, I do hope that my window of opportunity to be able to Blog this letter and send it out to all of THE ‘KH’ LIST members remains as such that I will be able to remain in contact. I am writing to you from the Roof of Southern Africa, Sani Pass – 2,873 meters above sea level, just inside the Kingdom of Lesotho. Here, there is a sense of incredible isolation from the rest of the world! The vistas coming up Sani Pass (named after the San people) are simply breathtaking. As you wind your way up the pass from the valley below on an unpaved gravel road (not unlike Lombard Street in San Francisco with its twists and turns), one cannot help but think just how lucky we are living in a country where we have everything at our instant disposal.
The Basotho people of Lesotho have very little at their disposal and have to rely on walking with their donkeys down this incredible long and daunting pass to a Trading Post in the valley below in order to buy and sell.
As I stand up here looking at the mist rolling in blocking the view of the valley floor, I realize more and more with each visit back home to Africa, that this truly is an incredible Continent with so much to offer the intrepid traveler.
There is a sense of calm in the crisp alpine air and for as far as I can possibly see, the terrain around me is covered with by a multitude of magnificent plant and bird life species in such abundance – unlike anything else I have ever experienced. It is quite astonishing. The surrounding area is dotted with Basotho huts each uniquely designed to withstand the blistering summer conditions as well as the severe winter conditions when I am told the entire area is blanketed in snow.
I have seen many photographs of this remote landlocked Kingdom in the sky and always, I have noted the color of the sky – a very intense blue which at first, I thought was as a result of airbrushing photographs. Not so – the sky is so intense that it leaves you breathless both literally and figuratively due to the elevation above sea level!
My journey started from the port city of Durban this morning. With a self-drive vehicle, I made my way up the N3 motorway to the town of Howick (just outside of Howick stands a small monument marking the precise spot where Winston Churchill was apprehended when he was a foreign correspondent during the war and ironically the spot where many years later, Nelson Mandela was arrested for treason against the South African Government of the time) and onward to Underberg and Himeville in the Southern Drakensberg area which has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site.
In the valley below nestled at the end of a long tree lined driveway, I met my hosts at the magnificent Moorcroft Manor Country House, a 5-star establishment very tastefully appointed and indulgent in sheer luxury. Undoubtedly, this fine property will pop up in our developing Collection in the months to come. You simply have to see it to believe it!
Back to the point before I loose all communication – Sani Pass is majestic in every way and worth a visit. My journey continues into the Mountain Kingdom from where I know I will have no form of contact what so ever and so in signing off, may I take this time to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year. May 2008 be a stellar year for you in every way and if Africa is on your radar screen sometime in the year, keep watching my (in-frequent) communication as my journey continues both here in the Kingdom of Lesotho as well as up to the Elephant Coast in KwaZulu/Natal and what I anticipate to be yet another wonderful experience, a game safari and the luxury Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve.
Thank you for your very valued support in 2007! Look for great things to come in 2008 and again, if Africa and specifically Southern/South Africa is on your radar, do know that your journey would be incomplete without a sideline diversion to Durban and particularly Moorcroft Manor Country House and the Kingdom of Lesotho (even if your time permits only for one night at Moorcroft and a trip up Sani Pass)!
As always, with my warmest African wishes to you!
Kenneth R. Hieber
P.S. – got some great shots on the way up! If this continues, I will most certainly share the experience with you by way of my regular slide-shows on our website www.2afrika.com
If you would like to comment on this Blog Post, please communicate directly with the ORIGINAL 2AFRIKA Founder & President, Kenneth R. Hieber, electronically via email@example.com