Snow & The African Sun – Butha-Buthe, Lesotho

Snow in Africa? Yes, you read that correctly. Although many people don’t think about it much, it does snow in Africa.


For many people, snow is something they will see over a number of days almost every year. For a large majority of Africans, this is definitely not the case. Although South Africa & Lesotho receive snow more frequently than any other African countries, most people living in the region don’t see any unless they go up to the mountains or the weather is much colder than usual.


In the 20+ years I lived in my hometown, it has only snowed twice. Funnily enough, the first time it happened was a night I was on a flight to Switzerland. So like many South Africans, I still think of snow as an extraordinary novelty.


One weekend there had been snow in the mountains of Lesotho, so we decided to go snow hunting. This entailed waking up at an hour that cannot be mentioned, a good amount of hot tea & a long drive in order to get to the border early. On the South African side of the border, you don’t go into a building, instead you hand your documents through a window & they get handed back. So there we were shivering & with passports in hand, shuffling along in the queue.

Smile! We found snow!

I’d never been to Lesotho before, so I was actually blown away by the winding roads & exquisite landscape. All along the route there were traditional little huts, donkey wagons & what seemed to be every person walking by wearing a blanket & traditional hat, which I was later told is called a mokorotlo.


Finally, we reached the snow. With mountain waterfalls & ponds frozen & a blanket of white, it gives a ‘winter wonderland’ effect that is difficult to put into words. Something about this seemingly mystical, crystal, white stuff brings out your inner child. The very first thing you want to do is make a snowball & fling it at one of your friends.


It made sense for us to make the most of the trip & the snow by going to a ski resort. This way we could use equipment & facilities to our heart’s content. The thing about ‘playing’ & falling in snow that has never really been expressed to us rookies is that snow is wet & you get cold, very cold. We weren’t dressed correctly for snow & naturally we are accustomed to a much warmer African climate. Maybe it is something genetic or maybe I’ve been spoilt by good weather, but I really struggled with that cold.

IMG_20170819_183316_601 (1)
Might not help you warm up, but a Maluti Lager can be enjoyed while resting.

Something I didn’t think about with that temperature is that the African sun is still out & as strong as ever. Not once did I apply sunscreen to my face. Another thing I was unaware of was how active you are doing these activities – I must have used every muscle in my legs. So for the next week or so, I struggled to walk because my legs were so sore & had a face as red as a tomato to go along with that. The snow hunt was successful & the experiences had along the way were invaluable… even if it meant, for the next few days, having people ask what made my face so red.


Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels


52 thoughts on “Snow & The African Sun – Butha-Buthe, Lesotho

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  1. Thanks for sharing about a country that maybe a lot of people dont know much about. Through missions I have heard about the Blanklet people in Lesotho. For me snow is a novelty as well , although my country does have snow , just not in my area. Pleased you enjoyed your experience and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like fun (except the aftermath). And as for the sunburn, the sun is actually stronger than ever because it’s being reflected off the snow – you’re double dipping.


  3. one should rephrase the lyrics of the song from “I’ve seen the rainfall in Africa” to “I’ve seen the snowfall in Africa”. thanks for sharing the post. love it. Snow is a rare luxury for us island folk.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I love hearing about someone’s first snow experience. I have seen plenty of first timers underestimate the sun impact and how to dress so you’re not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very interesting story and I really enjoy reading your blog:)
    It is true, when snow or winter we really need to wear layer to keep warm, otherwise it is not fun. Likewise, when I was in South Africa and Madagascar, it was soo hot and I was sweating like pig. ha..ha..
    I look forward to read more:)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I have a mix feeling to be honest. We were there for 2 weeks and purely just safari. After 5 days get up at 4am everyday and go around safari the whole day… I was knackered and wish to sleep. ha..ha..
        and the elephants scare me now. We had a bit incident where our car stop in the middle of the elephants group with many babies and the mothers and other ready to attack our car. Glad we are alive and nothing happen, but at that time, I was really scared.
        Mickey love Africa and he has been there several times. We might go back again for safari.


  6. I am off to South Africa next week and being from Melbourne, Australia I am looking forward to come relief from the cold! But I totally understand the snow being a novely thing! We get snow here, but you have to travel 4 hours to even see it, let alone be in it! Awesome post, can’t wait to explose Lesotho and Swaziland

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How incredible. Loved your story. I come from the mountains in Sri Lanka and again you wouldn’t relate Sri Lanka cold weather let alone snow. I have never seen it snow but it has snowed atleast once or twice in my life time. But it is freezing most times. And the coast of Sri lanka is the opposite weather hot and humid

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  8. hehe cool you got to see so many snow, I only saw the mountaintops at the Sani pass had some snow, Lesotho really is the fridge of Africa 🙂 The picture of the Maluti beer made me think of the highest pub in Africa where I tasted that beer, it was quite good I remember, cheers

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In the month may of this year when I did my Africa trip. It was my 3rd country out of 6 that I visited. I also have a post about it on my blog. I did a daytrip over the Sani Pass from Durban in South Africa

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I really didn’t know it snows in Africa. Thanks for sharing! Now I’m even more psyched about my upcoming trip to see snow in Hokkaido, having never actually experienced that much snow before. I need to try making snow angels and building a snowman.


  10. One of the coldest experiences I ever had was when my Dad and I rode with one of his friends and his girlfriend over the mountains in Lesotho. There was a record snowstorm and even their trusty land rover affectionately nicknamed ‘el helicoptor’ refused to climb the pass because the snow was several meters deep. We backtracked to a shepards village where they loaned us a small hut with a fire to keep warm for the night the next day we made it back into town and were informed no one was expected to make it through for several days. Having just moved their from tropical Malawi it was quite the experience 🙂


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