The picturesque drive through the southern Drakensberg towns of Underberg and Himeville hints at the splendour that awaits at the legendary Sani Pass.

But nothing can really prepare you for the breathtaking drama of the mountainous spine that reaches towards its pinnacle in the distance. Mkomazana Mountain Cottages at the foot of the pass, are the final stop before ascending the pass making it the perfect base camp.

With weavers’ nests bobbing over tranquil waters and towering oaks swaying in the breeze, this is a nature lover’s paradise. Offering wide open spaces for mountain biking, hiking, birding or simply exploring, they are also well-placed for a thrilling four-wheel drive experience. Whether it’s outdoor adventure, family time or serenity you’re looking for, Mkomazana has it all.

Nestled between a hillside and the Mkomazana river, the homestead was originally a trading station in the 1800s. Today the self-catering establishment boasts three spacious six-bed houses and two two-bed cottages that exude country comfort and charm. Coot Cottage is situated nearby one of the dams where guests can enjoy the abundant bird life on offer.

You may even spy the baboons who visit the area regularly. Stone House with its lovely big garden is perfect for cricket matches or a soccer game. With its 20-bed dormitory (bring your own linen) and games room, Mkomazana is perfect for families or groups of friends planning a special occasion or holiday. It snows often, so all houses and cottages come with wood burning fireplaces and electric blankets to keep out the winter chill.

While the accommodation is self-catering, long-time housekeeper Mavis cooks up a fresh batch of scones daily and delivers them to guests. Arguably the fluffiest and lightest scones in this part of the Southern Berg, they are worth packing the strawberry jam and cream for.

For those looking to stretch their legs, there is an abundance of hikes in the area as well as two hikes which can be taken directly from Mkomazana. The mountain walk (named Heartbreak Ridge by the owners), is ideal for young kids who can test their endurance climbing to the first contour. For the more adventurous, this hike extends to ‘Salt and Pepper’, two outcrops sitting side by side on the next contour, for an approximately four-hour walk.

In the 1800s only horses and mules could ascend the Sani Pass. Now the 19km rocky stretch of road attracts local and international tourists looking for a four-wheel drive challenge.

Prize: Win a 3 Night Stay in a 6-sleeper unit valued at R7470

Taking three to four hours to complete and only open to four-wheel drive vehicles, you can look forward to navigating boulders, mud or snow and the pass’s notorious hairpin bends.

Challenging and exciting, but entirely doable, it’ll give those bones a good shake as you admire the spectacular view of the mighty Drakensberg.

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For bookings call Keshnee on 063 699 4666 or email

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