For the majority of people out there, South Africa is known only for its Mediterranean climate, sunny days, and wildlife. However in the winter months, between June and August, there are certain areas which receive snowfall, making them perfect for skiing and snowboarding. We’re not going to promise you an experience like skiing in the Alps, but we do guarantee a challenge for all skill levels.
Drakensberg – the Dragon Mountain
Situated along the border of three provinces, the Drakensberg Mountain range has snow-capped peaks in winter and offers visitors a thrilling challenge. There are a couple of places along this mighty mountain where you can find decent ski and snow boarding spots.
- Tiffendale – a world-class resort
Host to a snow machine of their own for days the weather doesn’t co-operate, the Tiffendale ski school in the Drakensberg, Eastern Cape is a wonderful venue. They closed earlier in 2012, but to the delight of snow fans, will re-open in 2013 with several upgrades. Here, you can experience the joy of learning to ski for the first time, or indulge in a snowboard lesson or two, before hitting the slopes. The new owner, Lew Campbell, also owns Ski Deck®, the teaching school, as well as the Ski & Snowboard Shop in Randburg, Johannesburg.
- Sani Pass – it’s not inside, it’s on top
Between the rugged, mountainous province of Lesotho, and the winding Sani Pass through the Southern Drakensberg range, are several prime ski spots on the escarpment. The snow that gathers here tends to vary between thick and thin coverings, making finding the perfect slope a challenge. Some general advice from others, who’ve tried their luck here, is to stick to the back of the ledges to avoid any nasty surprises. It’s also good to note that the gate on the South African side of the border closes at 16:00 daily. If you’re late it could take an hour or two for you to be allowed re-entry, and the person who eventually allows you through, is unlikely to be in a good mood.
The Drakensburg Mountain Range isn’t the only place in South Africa to try your luck on the slopes. Keep reading for a couple more ideas of where to head when the winter weather descends.
- Western Cape – Hex River Mountains
Despite its Mediterranean climate, the Western Cape does occasionally get snowfall. If this happens, the snow will fall within the Hex River Mountains, which is situated between Touws River and Worcester, only 120km outside of Cape Town. This skiing opportunity should only be attempted by those who know what they’re doing; even though the experience is rather basic, it can also be quite dangerous for complete beginners.
- Johannesburg – Indoor training
Though thoughts of skiing and snowboarding usually involve a fair amount of snow, the Avalanche Fourways learning centre bypasses this and teaches beginners and children the basics. Snowboarding lessons are also available here, and the slope styles vary from gentle inclines, to slightly steeper and curvier tracks. Corporate functions and children’s birthday parties can also be hosted here.
Author Bio: Roseanna McBain is the writer for the Johannesburg booking and accommodation website, TravelGround. She enjoys learning new skills, meeting challenges, and curling up with a good novel on rainy days.