1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email
Anouk Zijlma

Snowmen in Cairo Today — Answers the Question: "Does it Snow in Africa?"

By December 13, 2013

Follow me on:

skiing in africa is there snow in africaMy son recently asked me if it ever snows in Africa. His eyes rolled as I once again babbled on about the fact that there are 54 countries in Africa, each with its distinct geographic features affecting weather patterns, so let's not use the blanket term "Africa". "Yes, I know" he said, "but does it snow?".

The answer is "yes, it does" and today, it snowed in Cairo for the first time in over 100 years! Locals are out building snowmen and shivering away. I have yet to see some shots of Pyramids in the snow, but I'm sure they'll be posted on Facebook!

There are even a few small ski resorts in Morocco, courtesy of the Atlas Mountains. Tunisia and Algeria got snow-laden a few years ago during a particularly cold winter. Snow even fell in the Sahara desert in 1979, but it lasted just half an hour.

Heading further south, snow does fall (on higher elevations), even close to the equator. Regular snow fall has created ice-capped peaks (although most are fast disappearing) on Kenya's Mount Kenya, Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro; Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains and Ethiopia's Semien Mountains. But it's not enough to ski. For that, you have to head all the way south.

South Africans can actually build snowmen somewhat regularly during the winter months (June - August) especially those living in the inland regions of the Eastern and Northern Cape provinces. Sutherland is considered to be the coldest town in South Africa with temperatures going well below freezing throughout the winter. Despite its wonderful penguin population, it very rarely snows in Cape Town.

And the chilliest country in Africa? The tiny kingdom of Lesotho. It's in the mountains and it has the highest low point of any country in the world (wrap your mind around that one, son). There are a few pistes here and the skiing isn't so bad in the Maluti Mountains.

More About: Africa's Best Treks l Christmas in Africa l Weather in Africa

Image of a Skiier in the Eastern Cape, South Africa -- South African Tourism

September 15, 2009 at 11:13 am
(1) bill torbitt says:

the name of the SA skiing resort is Tiffindell

September 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm
(2) goafrica says:

Thanks Bill!

January 6, 2010 at 5:53 am
(3) Chris says:

Just found this through a Google search, in an attempt to prove to my mum that it probably does snow in Africa! Very infortmative, thankyou. I also thoroughly agree that we shouldn’t homogenize so many distinct regions under one term (“Africa”), especially when the continent is so vast.

February 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm
(4) liberty says:

Watching the winter olympics and seeing a team of four from Ghana made me immediately google “does it snow in Africa?” I can’t believe I didn’t know not only does it snow, but there is skiing! Makes me wonder what else I don’t know!

January 3, 2011 at 5:40 am
(5) Julie says:

My class have just asked the same question – Has it ever snowed in Africa? so this is a very useful article! Thank you!

March 9, 2011 at 6:08 pm
(6) slim says:

hello i am from tunisia north africa,
and i would like you to know that it is snowing almost every winter, it last usualy few days, and can be from december to february, we can get some 50 cm snow in the northern western side of tunisia on the elevations.
the link below is a sample.
kindest regards.

June 1, 2011 at 3:10 am
(7) Libaka says:

It actually snows in Africa. There is a country called Lesotho in Southern Africa, “Kingdom in the Sky”. Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa.

There is a ski resort called AfriSkii. Snow falls every year in winter season.

Visit Lesotho and you will find abundant snow currently in the highlands.

July 21, 2011 at 2:32 am
(8) brett says:

Does it (ever) snow in africa? The answer is very interesting and I will pass it to my students.

September 25, 2011 at 5:51 am
(9) Ali says:

check out this video on youtube to see Snow in Morocco (Africa)

September 25, 2011 at 6:03 am
(10) Ali says:
January 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm
(11) Habesh says:

I am from Africa….to be specific “Ethiopia” as a tour guide I went to Semen Mountains several times but never seen a snow…so I don’t know why Ethiopia was mentioned above…. Actually we don’t even have a word for it in Amharic (Official language of Ethiopia) but people say its “Beredo” which means “ice or hail” and most people in Ethiopia think that hail is the same as snow….I thought the same to until I moved to somewhere with a bunch of snow :( I like it though.

March 28, 2012 at 11:52 am
(12) Janine says:

I would just like to say thank you for this it really has helped,I was having a conversation with my husband about when i went to Egypt an mentioned a conversation i had while i was there it was about snow in different countries of Africa,My husband was determined that it never had snowed there an really did not believe me,But thanks to you he has not got much choice.THANK YOU :)

April 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm
(13) sage says:

thank u for helping me yep thank u

June 27, 2012 at 5:59 am
(14) algerian says:

yes .. it snowed every year in algeria … and the djurdjura mounts in the north of algeria never goodbeying the snow all over the year.
in Algeria there is 48 state … and it’s snow in about 40 states … and also in the algerian sahara .

June 27, 2012 at 6:04 am
(15) daniel says:
August 8, 2012 at 4:29 am
(16) Tsephe Letseka says:

I’m from Lesotho, although I live in South Africa. I think people who question whether or not it snows in Africa are ignorant (children are exempt of course). They also buy into the Western perception of Africa as hot and sunny. eg: “Under the hot African Sun”. Sound familiar? Being from Lesotho, I can tell you certain parts of Africa do get snow. Africa is a big continent (second largest after Asia), with diverse climatic conditions and 54 countries. In fact we just had a cold spell in South Africa this week where large parts of the country as well as Lesotho were and are still covered in snow. Even Johannesburg experienced its heaviest snowfalls in over 30 years. You can check the photos on various news sites or google them.

August 8, 2012 at 4:43 am
(17) Tsephe Letseka says:

I’m from Lesotho in Southern Africa, although I live in South Africa. I think people who question whether or not it snows in Africa are ignorant. I think they also buy in to the Western perception of Africa as hot and sunny all the time. eg: under the hot African sun. Sound familiar? Africa is big continent (second largest after Asia) with diverse climatic condition and 54 countries. Being from Lesotho I can tell you it certainly does snow in Africa, albeit in certain parts of the continent. In fact we just had a cold snap in South Africa the week where large parts of the country as well as Lesotho were and are still covered with snow. Even Johannesburg had it heaviest snowfall in more than 30 years. So there you have. Simple answer, yes, it does snow in Africa.

October 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm
(18) Daniel Cifuentes says:

As Central America shares a similar weather with some parts of Africa the chance of snow is not impossible. From long ago we have know about Lesotho and its high mountains and plateu, we also have seen pics of ski tracks in that place. In my country (Guatemala) sometimes fall snow but mostly in the volcanos with heights over 3,900 meters above sea level… So is not quite hard to believe about presence of snow in Africa

December 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm
(19) Steve says:

No way. The song specifically says “There’s no snow in Africa this Christmastime.” That’s pretty hard proof right there. No. Snow. Hollywood said so, so it must be true.

January 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm
(20) Bisrat says:

It actually snows in Ethiopia, i’m not sure what it is called but every winter a number of hard solid round ice falls from the sky. In some cases it kills animals and damage properties. it melts immediatly after landing.

April 29, 2013 at 7:48 am
(21) clifford says:

It snows every year in the Drakensberg in South Africa, there is even some ice climbing for those brave enough

December 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm
(22) Libby says:

There are 55 countries in Africa, not 52…

December 6, 2013 at 4:09 am
(23) Marty says:

You shouldn’t do your best to come across as a pretentious snob when lecturing about calling it “Africa” after all… that’s what it’s called. Every second grader who pays attention in class can distinguish between the continent and the many countries that make up the continent called Africa…

February 22, 2014 at 12:28 pm
(24) JetSkiRachel says:

Tsephe it’s pretty rude to call people ignorant because we question whether or not it snows in Africa….or any one of it’s 54 countries. The geography that we learn as kids varies by location, so some that get full education on Africa and it’s countries are blessed because others do not. So I really take offense to that comment. My 9 year old just told me it snows in Africa and she was right; my comment was “well let’s google it and see.” So instead of being unaware, we do our research and we learn about it….even without being in a class room. This website is great and I learned alot from EVERY comment posted here. Thank you to everyone for showing my 9 year old that she was right, but mostly for informing her that there are different countries within Africa. Your comments are peaking her interests and that is something I love!!!

March 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm
(25) Raine says:

Does it snow in Rwanda? If so, what is the annual snowfall?

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Africa Travel

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.