Highest mountain in southern Africa

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Trip Report
Lesotho, Africa
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Apr 24, 2012
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Created On: May 10, 2012
Last Edited On: May 10, 2012

Quickest route to summit

Thabana Ntlenyana mountain in Lesotho, which reaches an elevation of 3,482 metres (11,424 ft), is the highest mountain in southern Africa. It can be reached from the Sani Pass from South Africa which involves a 1000m climb up one of the hardest 4WD passes in Africa (sharp hairpin bends and 1000m drops without barriers). The climb to Thabana Ntlenyana can be done from the Sani Top Chalets at the top of the pass but this adds another 8km to the round trip. Although we stayed in the backpackers lodge at Sani Top Chalets, we started from the Mamokae village at an altitude of 2,800m about 6km NW of Sani Top where the road crosses the Sani River. You can park here with the permission of the local residents and a small donation along with thanks should be given to them on return. The route from the village to Thabana Ntlenyana follows an almost straight line in a NNE direction for 11.5km. At about 8km from the start you cross a ridge at an altitude of 3,100m before descending slightly then reascending to reach the summit ridge. The views from the top are extensive with the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment about 5km to the east. Return by the same route. Guidebook times are 8-9hrs for the 22km round trip; we did it in 7.5hrs with a lunch stop. You can the walk on your own but a local guide is recommended, especially if weather conditions are poor. When we did the walk (in April 2012) there was fresh snow above 3,000m and a strong wind at the summit. Our Basotho guide (George) was excellent company and his charge of 350 Rand (35 euro) was good value. George also hires horses for those who don't want to do the walk on foot.


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Highest mountain in southern Africa

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