7 day Sani pass, South Africa weather provided by World Weather Online
General Info and Description of event.
This get together is planned to be held at Sani Top Lodge during 14/15 August 2010. We are planning to leave very early on Sunday, 15 August 2010.
The main gathering will be at the pub which is the best place in Lesotho during the winter. This pub is the highest in Africa; a new meaning to the words "getting high" . At this height and expected cold conditions the Gluhwein does taste better. Drivers please stay away from any alcohol. We are planning to stay over on Saturday. This is not compulsory neither prescribed to log this event cache. It is possible to attend and to return to RSA the same day and a sleepover is not needed. The event is available and offered to all cachers. Please make sure that you sign the logbook.
As a bonus or as an addition to this event we will leave Sani Top Lodge at about 11h30 to do some cache hunting for the rest of the day. Before sunset we will be back. I drove this pass about 10 years ago for the first time and the last time was about 3 years ago. I do not know if the conditions are still the same and/or if the road is being improved.
For the more adventurous cachers or the ones that wants to attend that do not have access to a 4x4 could make use of the 4x4 taxis and pay their fee for a trip up and down the pass. I am not sure of the going rate. If there is any open spaces in a vehicle please communicate this to the cachers via a note.
How to get there:
Closest access road is from Himeville. From Himeville the next stop will be the South African Border Post which is at 1967 meters. Here you will have to complete the necessary formalities. You will then enter 8 km of "no man's land" and you will negotiate several hairpin turns with grim names such as Suicide Corner, Grays Corner, Icy Corner and Reverse Corner. Some of the sections are at a 30% gradient. From the RSA border post you will do the climb up Sani Pass to about 2874 meters. Here you will have ample opportunities to appreciate the beauty of the mountains and the scenery is extremely pleasant. Please keep in mind that this is subject to weather conditions and mist could spoil your view. The Lesotho border control point is on your left as you get to the top.
Some border formalities and requirements for entry:
- Make sure that your passport is valid.
- Most citizens, including North Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, British, Southern Africans and most Europeans can get a free permit upon entry, usually valid for 30 days. Your passport should be valid for another 6 months after leaving. Note that things regarding visas might change over time and that certain nationalities do need a visa. It is best to check the nearest embassy or consulate.
- A new requirement is that you have to provide proof of insurance for the vehicle. If you are not the owner of the vehicle then written permission from the owner must be obtained. Make sure you have your original registration paper with you if you are the owner. They can request this documentation at the border or at a roadblock.
- Only 4x4's are allowed and low range is essential.
- Border gate opens at 08h00 and will close at 16h00.
- Please note that raw meat is not allowed into Lesotho and you will have to forfeit the barbeque. Sani Top does have something on the menu for the stomach and you will be responsible for your own account with regards to food and drinks.
- No animals/pets are allowed. Sorry Willow.
- Road fees payable in Lesotho are in the region of about R10 per day.
- Slow down when you encounter any animal or locals.
- Carry apples or some other fruit incase you encounter any locals. Do not hand them sweats.
- Please do not take any photos at the border and/or of any official.
Some off road driving tips:
- The event organizer and his team will be available at the RSA Border Post from 08h00 to 08h30. (DV). We will e-mail you the cell numbers of all the people in my vehicle before the trip. Please inform us if you are running late and we will wait. If you are late then the first round is for your account. (lol)
- This probably applies to the inexperienced driver. At icy corner which is the last left hand hairpin turn (I think) you could experience a slight slide. Be prepared for it and do not be caught. The slide will be towards the waterfall away from the drop, do not panic and try not to over correct. Keep your foot away from the accelerator and brake. Steer into it with low range. Make sure no diff locks are on. They normally use salt at this corner for more traction and the wheels will grip again. If you are lucky we will see a frozen waterfall. I will upload a photo at a later stage.
- The vehicle traveling from the bottom to the top have right of way but some people do not understand this rule or choose to ignore it.
- If you park your vehicle at the top make sure that your handbrake is not pulled to the maximum. You could be in for a surprise the next morning after an extreme cold night.
- Make sure that antifreeze is added to the cooling water system at a ratio of 50/50.
- Make sure your battery acid level is correct or you will battle to get it started the next morning.
- Carry a cover for your vehicle; at -18 degrees Celsius with a wind blowing though the radiator it is not good news. Park your vehicle with the front against the building to prevent wind blowing through the radiator and engine.
- If we encounter any snow conditions in the pass or somewhere during our trip try to slow down using the gear box. It is easy to slide and to lock the wheels if you misuse the brakes. Keep a considerable distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. We will carry two radios, one in the front and one at the back.
- The cache owner will lead from the front. You are responsible for the vehicle behind you at all times. If you can not see him or he falls behind you will slow down and allow the person behind you to catch up. The driver in front of you is responsible for you again and he will need to slow down.
- Make sure you have sunglasses available. The reflection of the sun on the snow is a problem. (If there is any)
- Make sure that someone in your team has sun block with them. It is easy to get a nasty sun tan at this height caused by the reflection of the sun on the white snow.
- If needed make sure that you have enough clothing for layering. Make use of thermal underwear which will keep you dry and will maintain your body heat temperature. Then wear a T shirt, then a shirt then a jacket or fleece jacket and then a rain coat to keep any wetness away from you. Don't forget your pants. Make sure that you boots are water resistant and if needed coat them with a fresh layer of polish without polishing. Wear thick socks or make use of special thermal socks. If your feet get wet or cold they will stay cold for the rest of the day. Maybe this will not be needed but be prepared. Also do not forget the blanket for your sleeping bag. More important - under no circumstances should you forget the sleeping bag. I am not planning to share mine.
- Accommodation is at a first come first serve basis. Keep your valuables such as cameras and GPS equipment in the vehicle and out of plain view.
- Make sure you have gloves. Searching for a cache in the snow is not nice and you will need something to get your hands warm afterwards. So much for the mild stuff.
- This is highly unlikely but please inform the event owner for safety reasons if any member suffers from headaches or nose bleeds.
- This is unpredictable at his best. It could be hot, it could snow - it could be anything. We will inform the potential attendees of the weather reforecast about 3 days in advance before the event on a daily basis. In all probability we should have the opportunity to play in the snow.
- In case of extreme weather and border closing we will assemble at Himeville Arms Hotel and the event will still continue. Any such changes will be conveyed via cell phone as soon as we have confirmation of such. There is no guarantee that the event will be held at Sani Lodge, it all depends on the weather and the sound judgment of the police at the border post. You are now entering a world that can change quickly.
Best of all this is a different world with different people and we hope all will enjoy the company, the adventure and the geocaching stories.
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