Dispatch No.8 - Sani Top

2009-05-22 00:00

The expedition Landies pull up at Leqooa Primary School where the kids are playing soccer with a football made from bits of scrap plastic tied together. It’s amazing isn’t it when you think that the 2010 Soccer World Cup is coming to Africa and these little guys don’t even have a soccer ball. So we change all that. Out come three brand new balls, soccer bibs for the kids and whistles. They all gather round to look at a poster clearly demonstrating how their own special Transfrontier Conservation Area of Sethlabathebe links to the others across Africa.

“Anyone for Gluhwein!” shouts Jonathan Aldous the colourful owner of the highest pub in Africa as twelve hours later with the berg wind howling from across the Maloti’s perched on the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment at 2874 meters we huddle around the fire at Lesotho’s Sani Top.

 

I can’t believe it, they’ve peddled every inch of the way, up the 10 000 feet Matabeng Pass, camped for the night in the Senqu Valley, and then ridden the yoyo of Maluti Passes to meet us here at the highest pub in Africa.

“It was David Alexander,” says Jonathan , leaning on the pub and grinning from underneath his beanie, he was a man of adventure and vision and started the first motorized transport in old Landies up the Sani Pass and over the Black Mountain to Mokhotlong. Before then it had all been donkey transport.”

“What’s for grub?” we ask Jonathan as he races between pub and kitchen. The altitude and the wind has clearly made him a bit crazy. “Only two things on the menu, it’s called Take it or Leave it!”

We line up for great expedition grub, bowls of hot soup, freshly baked traditional Basotho bread, Hot ring-sting curry, and enough lasagna to carbo load Mike and his cycling team, who tomorrow morning will escort the Landies down to the bottom of one of the most historic mountain passes in Africa… It’s a symbolic ride down and back up the pass. We’ll be meeting a media team. Sani Top is an important part of our expedition and the vision for the entire escarpment to become a Transfrontier Conservation Area.

In the pub are the friendly Lesotho border officials. “Welcome to the Mountain Kingdom,” says the chief, “Agh. This wind – it will probably snow, and you must learn some Southern Sotho: there’s no L’s in the language. To greet you say dumelang or to make it easy, hojoang. Have you tried our local Basotho whiskey?” he says. “It’s called Qhoma u Cheche – jump and reverse. Tomorrow he’ll see us off from the border gate and receive us when we come up again.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.