While making their way back down a snow-covered Sani Pass on Sunday, a Ballito couple faced a horrifying experience when they lost control of their vehicle on the icy road, reports the North Coast Courier.
Nathan and Bridget Renald escaped with minor injuries after their SUV slid over the edge, coming to a stop as it collided with a rock 100m down.
The pass is notorious for humbling even the finest 4x4s.
The Audi came to a halt when it hit a large rock. It did not appear to be equipped with the right tyres for the pass.
According to Dylan Meyrick from IPSS Medical Rescue, the couple were about 3km from the summit when the incident occurred.
“IPSS Rescue members were on the pass and witnessed the incident,” said Meyrick.
“They assisted the couple to the road where members from the Berg Protection Services arrived to continue the rescue and recovery.”
According to Mountain Passes South Africa, Sani Pass is the “mother of all South African mountain passes”.
“Statistically and in every sense, it out distances, out climbs, and out performs all its competitors with consummate ease to have become the most iconic gravel pass in SA.”
The site explains that the 1950s-built pass’s position between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho makes it a challenging drive in 4×4 vehicles with “all the drama, scenery, bad weather and treacherous conditions expected of a pass with a summit altitude of 2876m above sea level”.
“That equates to 9,400 feet and at 10,000 feet aircraft need pressurised cabins!
“This is high-altitude stuff. Go prepared for bad weather at any time and expect snowfalls as late as October.”