Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kathy's 44th Birthday, Part IV: Sani Pass

The pavement ends not far outside Mokhotlong, at least if one leaves in a southeasterly direction. But the views, oh, the views. The top of the world takes on new texture, color, and shading...

At times, I must confess, these roads made me nervous. (Not so my wife.) They hug the contours of the mountains, often with shear drops into breathtakingly beautiful valleys. They twist and turn, rise and fall, roll and dip. And even as they pushed on nerves I might never otherwise have known could arise from a road, they introduced us to some of the finest scenery we had yet encountered - much less moved through.

Until we reached what truly felt like the Top of the World. For your reference, at the Top of the World is a sign that says, "Tsamaea ka khotso", or "Go with peace". Reassuring, actually.

And what better place for my angel to make a snow angel? I can now say that my wife is the only person I know who has made a snow angel in Africa!

Our destination that day was Sani Pass, where Kathy kindly posed long enough for me to document exactly how high she was...

Sani Pass is where, not surprisingly, Sani Top Chalet is located. It has an amusing distinction.

And quite a perspective, even if one remains alcohol free.

But yes, it really is a pub - as well as a lodge.

And it was a great place to pause for some warm coffee and tea.

As well as a great location for my coffee to pose for some portraits:

Even here, we found a herd. So, in case you were wondering, there are sheep at the Highest Pub in Africa. Now you know...

The road down through Sani Pass was easily the most harrowing ride of my life. I white-knuckled it all the way. At one point, I had to get out and spot Kathy as she found a place where she could leave just enough room for a vehicle coming up the pass. I think that even freaked her out a bit, and very little phases her.

But again, the views. Magnificent!

Made all the more dazzling by my beautiful wife, of course.

At the bottom, we found the smoldering remnants of a brush fire, which seems to be a common method for clearing unwanted grass and brush in both Lesotho and South Africa. It seems foolhardy to me, and goes against everything that Smokey the Bear ever taught me - and I know of at least a couple instances where this activity has gone horribly wrong. Yet it continues...
Very near the bottom of the pass, we arrived at the Sani Pass Hotel, a very nice, high end accommodation where we spent the night - including watching that heartbreaking Ghana-Uruguay World Cup match.

A romantic spot filled with all the comforts, contrasting perfectly with the rough road we had traveled all day...

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