Karoo Winter Wonderland

Connie (a friend of Willie’s) spent last weekend on the farm Rooipoort near Murraysburg in the Karoo. The significance of this is that it was the weekend some areas of South Africa experienced heavy snowfalls. The farm was located in one of them, and Connie returned from his weekend with lots of wonderful photographs, which he has kindly shared with me. The reason why this is so exciting to most South Africans, is that we don’t get a lot of snow here.

Rooipoort, a farm which has been in the Pienaar family since 1916, is currently run by Jan and Alida Pienaar. It is primarily a working farm concentrating on sheep, cattle, and Angora goats together with some ostriches. It also functions as a guest farm, and should visitors want to hunt, it is stocked with Springbok and Blesbok. There is a large dam on the farm which helps to irrigate potatoes and oats. A big Poplar grove supplies the farm with timber needed for fencing and building.

Connie’s party arrived last Thursday afternoon when the scenery looked like this . . .

The low Karoo shrub of muted browns and greens, with a Poplar grove in the background. ©Connie Jonker

Heavy snowfalls last Friday night, had everyone waking up to a Karoo winter wonderland the next day. It snowed right through the whole of Saturday. By Sunday roads and passes in the area had to be shut to traffic. According to Jan Pienaar, these are the heaviest snowfalls in about 25 years. The colour scheme changed to a much more monochromatic one, with the odd bit of colour peeking out.

©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

Sheep, lambs, an ostrich and a chicken huddle together around a trough. ©Connie Jonker

Interesting patterns formed by snow on tree branches and on the spokes of a farming implement. ©Connie Jonker

The dogs – which occur in a lot of the photos – are working farm dogs. Like all regular dogs they seem keen to go for walks and outings! ©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

One of the sheep dogs who seemed to like lying in the snow. ©Connie Jonker

This must be one of the most unusual photographs I have ever seen – Springbok walking around in the snow. ©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

Those clouds look ominous. ©Connie Jonker

This is my favourite photograph of this series. The Karoo painted with a different palette. ©Connie Jonker

Note the farm dogs on the back of the bakkie (pick-up). Which dog doesn’t like to go for a ride? A touch of blue sky shows the weather is clearing. ©Connie Jonker

Here the wind has blown all the snow off the tree branches. ©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

©Connie Jonker

Isn’t it beautiful?! Much more spectacular than the sprinkling of snow we got here in the Southern Cape last weekend!

Thank you to Connie Jonker for sharing his photographs and the information used to write this post!


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, 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 https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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15 Comments on “Karoo Winter Wonderland”

  1. July 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Crazy. I can’t believe this is South Africa!

    • July 23, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      It is strange to see a South African landscape covered in snow.

      • July 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

        I’m actually in Queenstown, EC at the moment and there is snow on the hills here.

  2. July 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Such beautiful sight!
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. July 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Goodness, that’s a lot of snow! Gorgeous photos.

    • July 23, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      It obviously does not compare to snowfalls in the US, but it is very impressive for Southern Africa.

  4. July 19, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Those springbok look a bit confused!

    • July 23, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      They do, don’t they? I think they’re also confused about where their grazing suddenly went! From the other photographs it seems that the farmer was putting out food for the animals.

  5. July 19, 2012 at 5:35 am #


    • July 23, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      Yes, it does look pretty, doesn’t it? And Connie took some great photos. I always love it when the snow lies on the tree branches. Nothing like the snowfalls you get in your part of the world though.

  6. July 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Whoa, that is crazy! I particularly like the picture with the puzzled springbok… stunning!

    • July 23, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      It is crazy to see the Karoo under snow. As I mentioned in a comment above, food had to be put out for the animals. Some of those Springbok are close to the house and quite tame – there are photos of them coming to the kitchen door looking for a snack!

  7. August 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Not everyday you see an ostrich sheltering from the snow! Quite surreal!!
    Lovely photos 🙂

    • August 11, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      Yes, it does look odd, doesn’t it? I was lucky to have a “roving reporter” there at the right time! 🙂

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