Snow, slopes, mulled wine – these are not necessarily the first things that come to mind when you think of Africa. On the contrary, safaris and elephants come to mind. Consequently, only a few people know that skiing is quite possible on the African continent. The standards there may be somewhat removed from those in European ski areas, but the atmosphere has been kept as authentic as possible, attracting more and more tourists with its very special charm. SnowTrex has compiled 5 good reasons for skiing in Africa.
1. Skiing amongst the Savannah
If you’ve always wanted to get to know and love a skiing area of a very special kind, you should definitely make a detour to the enclave of Lesotho, which is only four hours away from Johannesburg, during your next holiday in South Africa. In the south of the country lies a ski area called “Afri Ski”. The ski season falls on our summer months and lasts from mid-June to the end of August. Founded in 2005, the resort is intended to shine as Africa’s largest ski area in the future and already offers interesting conditions: at a proud 3,300 m, the only piste to date leads through the Savannah landscape characterised by traditional mud houses and narrow roads. Incidentally, this ski area in southern Africa has a very well-maintained website and a lot is being done to make the resort attractive. In 2008, a snowboard park was opened, and there are also a number of events on offer, such as the Kings Cup slalom race (Lesotho Championship) or a big air jump on a large kicker.
2. White wonders
Four more pistes are planned for the coming years, which will cater to both beginners and advanced skiers on a scale that is rather modest for European ski tourists. Snow-making facilities ensure snowy fun in the event of a prolonged lack of snow. There is even a snow groomer. In addition, the highest golf course in the world, up to 100 small chalets and a wellness centre are the goal of this up-and-coming ski paradise, which should soon appeal to a diverse target group and establish itself as an exclusive holiday experience with a very special flair.
3. Affordable “Switzerland of the South”
So far, snow-hungry visitors can choose from a range of accommodations, from budget hostels to luxury hotels, depending on their budget and requirements. In addition, the currently only après-ski bar is a great place to celebrate with a winter-scented glass of mulled wine amidst a mixture of snow-covered mountains and typical African flair. Due to its low prices and proximity to the African metropolises of Johannesburg and Pretoria, this “Switzerland of the South”, as Lesotho proudly advertises itself, is largely out of competition.
4. The St. Moritz of Morocco
Another ski area on the sunny continent of Africa is Oukaimeden – the highest and best-known ski area in Morocco. The winter sports paradise, only 70 km from Marrakech, is located in the High Atlas, on Djebel Toubkal, which, at a proud 4,167 metres, is the highest mountain in North Africa. The ski area has 20 kilometres of pistes with a difference in altitude of up to 1,000 metres. There is one chairlift and six tow lifts, which are in operation from December to March. The chairlift takes you up to Ibel Oukaimeden, the local mountain, which is 3,273 metres high. A sense of adventure is required, especially on the slopes, which remain unprepared. The resort does not hold back on sounding comparisons: Oukaimeden calls itself the “St. Moritz of Morocco”. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts are also well catered to in Morocco. In the Middle Atlas Mountains, there are several kilometres of cross-country trails where you can enjoy your hobby amidst snow-covered cedar groves. It is hard to imagine that palm groves standing under a hot, subtropical sun and holidaymakers lounging on the beach are only 50 km away.
5. South Africa’s white expanses
Tiffindell Resort is relatively secluded on the southern slope of Ben McDhui, the highest mountain on the Cape at 3,001 m. The nearest human settlement is the small town of Rhodes, 22 km away. It is 1,100 km to Cape Town. The 1 km long main piste, the beginners’ area and the two lifts are inseparable from the 150-bed hotel. Even a small snow park has been created. There is a ski rental, a ski school and an après ski bar. In the “Ice Station 2720”, you can drink schnapps, mulled wine and snow cocktails. The ski season at Tiffindell Resort lasts from the end of May to the end of August, with powerful snow cannons extending it in part until mid-September, as African snow is a pretty unique experience. Therefore, even the weakest snowfall is used to strap on the skis and ski down the slopes.