Upon leaving the beach, we headed inland to the Drakensburg Mountains. South Africa does not disappoint with the rich variety of scenery packed into a relatively small space. The Drakensburg Mountains aren’t jagged and pointy like the Rockys, but rather impressively green and endlessly rolling hills. The drive through the area is quite stunning and we were happy to be spending a few days in the region.

The Southern "Burg"

Drakensburg Mountains

The Drakensburg Mountains are also where South Africa and Lesotho (pronounced le-su-tu) share a border. Similarly to Swaziland, Lesotho is a teeny, tiny country that few have heard of that is surrounded by South Africa on all sides. The popular day trip in the southern “Burg” takes you by 4×4 Jeep up the wickedly steep, rocky and bumpy Sani Pass and into Lesotho. The road was more gnarly than we anticipated, but our experienced guide got us safely to the top and the views along the way up kept us quite entertained.

Sani Pass Border Control

Up the road to Lesotho

View to South Africa from Lesotho

After the hilariously brief ‘customs’ and ‘immigration’ procedures, we got the opportunity to visit a local village. Though just miles from the border of Africa’s most developed nation, Lesotho is a much poorer country and we felt it right away. In the village we visited, the men are traditionally shepherds that spend weeks and months at a time in the hills with their flocks. The women are busy at home carrying for the family and all of life’s other tasks. They did not have electricity or plumbing and have to rely on their blankets and indoor fires to keep them warm during the brutal winters at high altitude.

Lesotho Musicians

Traditional Lesotho Family Home

The tour finished up with a meal and a beer at “The Highest Pub in Africa” topping out at 2874m (9500 feet). We made it safely back down the mountain to our little B&B and our gracious host. We had one more delicious dinner at the only restaurant in town and the next morning we woke up and headed back to Johannesburg (visit #8 of 10 to the JoBurg airport). It was time for the Martens to go home and we couldn’t believe how fast the two weeks had gone by. We had an amazing visit and managed to pack in 3 different countries, hundreds of big animals, mountains and beach, and lots of kilometers on the rental car. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity and look forward to our next group road trip!

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