Places to find snow in South Africa
Do you want to build a snowman? Or throw a few snowballs?
Are you desperate to channel your inner Elsa and Anna and frolic in the snow in South Africa? Or perhaps you can’t stand watching Frozen anymore and, to get your children outdoors instead, you’d rather search for some real snow to show them the real deal.
Either way, it’s the right time of year to start searching for snow. Finding mounds of fluffy white snow on the ground might be typically somewhat harder to find in South Africa than in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is there if you look hard enough – and if you’re willing to travel.
And, when you find it, what better way could there be to enjoy it than holing up in a cozy cabin, armed with hot beverages or red wine, the makings of a delicious roast or stew, and a stack of good books or games. In-between bundling up in your warmest clothes for winter walks, snowball fights and building those snowmen (or snowpeople), of course.
Here’s where to go to find snow:
The artist’s haven of Clarens, located between Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal in the foothills of the Maloti mountains, is known as the “jewel of the eastern Free State”. It is the perfect location for a chilly weekend away exploring galleries, shops, cafes, and the majestic outdoors.
From Clarens, it is an easy drive to Lesotho to find snow in the mountains and even go skiing at Afriski. The Caledonspoort border post between South Africa and Lesotho is just 42km away, in fact. And, closer to Clarens, the nearby Golden Gate Highlands National Park has also been known to receive a dusting of white in winter.
The village of Hogsback can be found in the Amatola Mountains in the Eastern Cape and is named for nearby mountain peaks resembling a hog’s back. The mountains and surrounding forest are thought to be the original inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and, as such, many locales are named for the Bloemfontein-born author’s work. In line with this Middle Earth-like area, you’ll find many waterfalls, lush “magical” forest, and beautiful walking trails to explore.
Underberg makes for an excellent location for frolicking in the snow in winter.
Underberg is known as the “last town in the southern Drakensberg” and forms part of the “Sani Saunter”, which offers breathtaking views of these majestic mountains and boasts a multitude of walking routes and other outdoor activities.
The area is known for its fishing spots.
Sutherland, in the Northern Cape, is known for its remarkably clear and dark starry night skies. For this reason, and due to its location at an altitude of 1458m above sea level, it is the home of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the “largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere”.
Sutherland has been named one of the coldest towns in South Africa, if not the coldest, and winter snow is – with an average annual minimum temperature of just 2.8 °C - quite likely.