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Cape Town - Gielie Geldenhuys has lived every one of his 50 years in the mountains east of Ceres.
“And when the snow falls, you never get used to it - it’s so, so pretty,” he said on Tuesday, after the first heavy snowfalls of winter. “The snow began falling at about 4pm on Monday, until about 8pm. When I woke up on Tuesday the snow was about 10cm deep around my house.”
His farm, Merino, sits pretty at the top of the Theronsberg Pass, about 20km east of the town.
On the way to his farm from Ceres, there would also be snow in the Bo-Swaarmoed area, also about 20km out of Ceres, along the R46, he said.
“The snow is on the ground, but it’s melting quite rapidly. So if you don’t catch it quickly you may miss it.
“But the mountains will be covered for quite a couple of days. And up the mountain, on our trail, there will be snow for the next week.”
But the snow was so heavy that vehicles would only be able to travel halfway up.
The Ceres tourism office reported that all the mountain passes to and from Ceres were open on Tuesday - Theronsberg, Michell’s, Gydo and Bo-Swaarmoed, but warned of “below-zero temperatures”.
At the famous Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, staff said on Facebook on Monday evening: “... the most beautiful snow is coming down... At this stage we cannot allow anybody into the reserve area, for it is too dangerous in the storm, but once the storm is over… call in sick and come this way.”
The heavy rains of the past few days flooded 170 homes in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and Somerset West, displacing more than 700 people, including 80 infants.
But Charlotte Powell, the city’s portfolio head of public awareness and preparedness, said no emergency shelter was required and no deaths or injuries were reported.
On Monday the city reported 382 homes flooded in Khayelitsha Site B.
Traffic services spokesman Richard Coleman said that with rainfall there were always more incidents reported on the road.
“A pedal cyclist was killed on the corner of Duinefontein and Govan Mbeki Road at 6.45am on Tuesday after being struck by a taxi,” he said. Ten other accidents were also reported on Monday night.
Weather forecaster Kate Turner from the Cape Town Weather Office said sunshine was expected for the rest of the week with the next cold front expected on Saturday. “It’s going to be a good week. There will be sunny days with early-morning fog patches along the Cape Metropole and coastline.”