Snow in Southern Africa – for real this time!

Last December (when it was mid-summer here in the southern hemisphere), I wrote a post called It’s snowing in Africa. It wasn’t of course – it was just WordPress who created a snowing effect on our blog screens. I loved it so much, that I got a little carried away photo-shopping my header image (of a wilderness camp in the Kalahari) to include snow on the ground and a snowman! My attempt at humour . . . what can I say? 🙂

Since then I have had dozens of readers who have searched for the term “snowing in Africa” finding that post, and no doubt being horribly disappointed! This time it’s for real though.

We have fairly mild winters here in South Africa, with cold nights and mild days. The Western and Southern Cape experience winter rains as the cold fronts move across the country. Where I live along the coast, we don’t get snow at ground level, and rarely get snow on the coastal mountains.  But we’ve had a very cold spell here during the past 10 days with significant snow on the mountains.

We had hoped to go back to the Swartberg Pass this weekend to take some photographs, but by Saturday morning most of the snow there had melted. I have got these photographs to share with you though, which were sent to me by friends living in Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.

All photographs by Sarita and Thinus Botha. They were taken on the 25 July 2011 in the StutterheimCathcart area of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Both towns lie inland in mountainous areas and are therefore at higher altitude.

The heaviest snowfalls were in the Hogsback area of the Eastern Cape. I came across these beautiful photographs of the snow in Hogsback – a real winter wonderland. The photographs are copyrighted, so I cannot feature them here, but I urge you to take a look at this Flickr gallery.

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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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29 Comments on “Snow in Southern Africa – for real this time!”

  1. July 31, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    Amazing! Is it usual to have snow there?

    • August 1, 2011 at 6:56 am #

      The mountains of South Africa do get some snow in winter. The area that the photographs were taken in has a couple of “snow days” every year, but it’s usually not as heavy as it was last week.

  2. Lu
    July 31, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    ooooh! I love snow!! It’s also been a bit chilly up here in Harties… but zero sign of snow 😦

    • August 1, 2011 at 6:59 am #

      Well, soon you’ll be able to run around in the snow again! 🙂 I also love snow. I love walking when it’s snowing. My whole family comes from Northern Europe and I think I’m genetically adapted to that climate.

  3. July 31, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Love the snow picks, thanks for sharing

    • August 1, 2011 at 6:59 am #

      You’re welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! 🙂

  4. July 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Hmm – I don’t think our mountains have ever seen snow….

  5. July 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I remember that post! And, gosh, I love snow. Living in Vietnam and Haiti, we missed most of the snow here at home. Hopefully we’ll be here for at least some of it this winter–or we’ll go somewhere wtih snow! Hope you and Willy are having a lovely weekend!

    • August 1, 2011 at 7:16 am #

      How early in the winter does is snow in Kentucky? Can imagine that you would miss having a “proper” winter if you’d grown up with it. Thanks Kathy, we had a good weekend – went exploring one of our mountain passes close by and tested a new camera. Of course, you’ll be hearing all about our outing on my blog later this week! 😉

  6. July 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    The weather is changing globally, Lisa. Here in Holland the summer month of July turned out to be coldest and wettest in like 30 years or something. On the coldest day, 1.5 week ago, we got a lousy 12 degrees Celsius. 12! In summer! Next week it will get better.
    On the other hand you get nice pictures and stories when the weather is different from normal, like your snow in Southern Africa!

    • August 1, 2011 at 7:20 am #

      Hi Emiel! You’re right the weather is changing globally. My brother (who lives in Germany) is also complaining about the lack of sunshine. Hopefully you’ll still have some dry, warm weather this summer.

      The area of South Africa that the photos were taken does get some snow each year, but this was a particularly heavy snowfall, which meant that not only the mountains, but the towns also got snow.

  7. July 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Those are great pictures to look at in the middle of our heat wave. I love snow!

    • August 1, 2011 at 7:21 am #

      I also love snow – my family comes from Northern Europe. I also look at photos of snow when it’s really hot here in summer. Somehow makes me feel better.

  8. jacquelincangro
    July 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    It always looks so pretty when there is a light snow covering the landscape. I see things I hadn’t noticed before – like the curve of a wrought iron fence or the slope of a tree branch.

    I’ll trade you some of this heat for some of that snow. Last weekend it was 105F / 40C! 🙂

    • August 1, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      You’re so right about snow highlighting things. I particularly love it when you get photos of snow where you can see the trees and fences – like in the photos in this post. Of course light snow turns slushy very quickly.

      It’s always been strange to me that the US experiences such hot weather. Even though logically (based on its latitude) it would have.

  9. July 31, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Snow and Africa just seem to fit in the same sentence. Great pictures.

    • August 1, 2011 at 8:03 am #

      Thanks on behalf of the two photographers! When one thinks of Africa, one thinks of extreme heat. Not always true, however. Our seasons aren’t quite as dramatic as in Europe and North America, but where I live we’re outside of the tropics.

  10. Estie
    July 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    It looks so great. Here in the Cape it is only on the high mountains and it is difficult to get to. I would love to touch snow again.

    • August 1, 2011 at 8:05 am #

      Has the Cedarberg had any snow this winter yet? We went for a drive yesterday across the Montagu Pass (between George and Oudtshoorn) yesterday and saw some spring flowers. Hope you’re still going to see the flowers and can do your “roving reporter” thing for my blog?

      • August 1, 2011 at 11:30 am #

        There are some flowers open already and we and are going to Nieuwoudtville for the flowers this coming weekend. Can’t wait.

  11. August 1, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    I saw this on the news and couldn’t believe it! The first thing I thought was, oh no – they probably don’t know how to drive in snow! Did it stick to the roads?

    • August 1, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      South Africa is far enough South to have proper seasons. We don’t often get snow, although there is a skiing resort in the Drakensberg Mountains! I do think you’re right about South Africans not knowing how to drive in snow. Although, these photos were taken in rural areas where they do get snow every year, so I don’t think there are too many accidents.

  12. August 1, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Wow, this is so cool especially coming from someone who gets a lot of snow. We had it pilled up over my head this year in our front yard in the city…record setting! I had no idea you could get snow there!

    • August 1, 2011 at 8:21 am #

      I’d like to just once experience your kind of heavy snowfalls. I did spend a winter in Europe and there was snow, but nothing like I’ve read you experience in the US Mid-West. Do you have photos of the snow this year online?

  13. August 1, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Who knew? I continually am amazed at the diversity in SA that you are able to convey in this blog. TX!

    • August 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      You’ll have to keep reading for some more interesting revelations! 😉

  14. August 10, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Hi Lisa,

    I have mentioned this post in my post 🙂 Thanx for featuring my snow photo album as well.

    See my post here:

    Hogsback Facebook page:

    • August 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      Hi Maggie,

      Thanks for the mention and for letting me link to your snow photos. A lot of people don’t realize that it sometimes snows in Africa, and it was good to be able to share such wonderful photos.

      Just got back from a trip, and still sorting out the chaos, but I’ ll take a look at your post soon.

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