Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our first snow experience

Internationally people don't really associate South Africa with snow and is often surprised when they hear that some areas do get snow in winter.  Large sections of the Drakensberg as well as parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and eastern Free State often get snow with the bigger cold fronts that hit the country during winter.  When a particular severe one hits most of the southern mountains in the country are covered in snow as was the case on the weekend of 16 July.  My family has never seen snow and we just haven't had the opportunity to do the three hour drive that would be needed to get to it either because it always happens during the working week or we have something else on.  On that particular weekend the Damselfly and I was in Knysna for the (cancelled) Knysna Half Marathon and couldn't get the family to the Graaff-Reinet area to see snow. 

A lot of people from Port Elizabeth made the drive up that weekend and all we heard was how good the snow was.  Obviously the Kidz were very disappointed that we weren't able to do it.  This week snow fell early in the week and on Wednesday night we were told that there were still snow about just north of Graaff-Reinet.  Thursday was Women's Day and thus a public holiday so I bundled the family into the car and hit the road at 5am with the hope to find some snow.  After breakfast in Graaff-Reinet we headed for the mountains and up the Lootsberg Pass which is the highest in the area... and only found a little bit of snow next to the road.  We then turned for the Wapadberg Pass and struck it a but luckier, although it was crystal clear that our informant was wrong and most of the snow seemed to have melted long before we got here.

The important part though was that we got to see snow for the first time, even if it was only a patch next to the road, and wasn't going to let the opportunity to experience it go to waste.  After doing the obligatory snowball fight the Kidz got right into building their first snowman, adding the scarf and beanie that came along for this purpose and not forgetting the carrot I had to stop and buy in town after breakie.

The Kidz just couldn't get enough with Drama Princess making snow angels and Chaos Boy building a second snowman just for good measure.  This all inbetween sporadic snow battles that just didn't want to get old.

Ah yes, and even though yours truly prefer to stay behind the camera I just had to get a picture myself.  We had a marvelous time experiencing the little of snow we found but it was a bit disappointing.  I'm not sure if there will be another opportunity to see snow again this winter, but knowing what we know now we will definitively attempt a proper snow experience again next winter.


  1. What a delightful story! Nice to see the man-behind-the-camera and his family having fun, especially after all the effort you made to see snow. Cool snowman in his new outfit... :-)

  2. The snowman is a classic and I love Drama Princess making snow angles. Having grown up with my fair share of the white stuff I no longer care for it except to look at on mountain tops. Yet is Very cool for your family to experience, for the first time.

  3. Great snow pics:) ! At least you found enough to make a snowman and have some fun!!

  4. Looks like you all had a lot of fun in the snow :-) Beautiful part of the country too!
    Snow is still a novelty in some ways to me... after living in the UK for a decade and getting to experience snow a few times here and in the mountains of Europe, I am still slightly in awe of the white stuff! The novelty does wear off though when it causes travel disruptions, airports to close etc etc ;-)

  5. Lovely Firefly! I still can't get over how it snowed heavily in Jozi for 1 day - then gone! Sunshine and a a hectic wind! I did learn something though! I am going to keep my camera in my car in future. I missed out on too many photo opportunities and besides - I need some practice now! Have a great week!