- Another cold front is smashing through the country bringing with it icy temperatures, which means it's a grand chance for weekend warriors to play in the snow.
- Business Insider South Africa has compiled a list of some of our most exciting locales to make the most of it.
- We're sure hotel owners ideally located within South Africa's winter wonderlands will certainly be excited for the chance to bring in some much-needed clientele.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
South Africa brace yourself. Another cold front is smashing through the country bringing with it icy temperatures as low as -15°C in some parts of the South Drakensburg. The frigid weather is expected to stick around over the weekend, according to the South African Weather Service.
While a drop in mercury is enough to send most sane people scuttling to their nearest heater, it has also brought in some scattered dusting of fresh snow in some of the higher parts of the country .
For many South Africans seeing snow in person is a rare treat that comes only a few days a year. Which is why when it does fall, even the coldest of hearts melt at the prospect of fooling around making snow angels and building snowmen on car bonnets - a particular South African quirk.
Hotel owners ideally located within South Africa's winter wonderlands will be excited for the chance to bring in some much-needed clientele. With lockdown restrictions having hammered the tourism industry, and Gauteng still in leisure travel lockdown until July 28, they will want to take advantage of the influx of weekend warriors eager for some snow-spotting and geared up for snowball fights and hot chocolate by the fireside.
With this in mind, we at Business Insider South Africa put our heads together to compile a list of some of our most exciting places to enjoy the snow. And, as it happens, we were not alone in this train of thought. In the background the marketing team at Gumtree were also hard to work compiling a list of their own which are available to rent from their website.
We mashed them all together to give you a broad list of ideas to make the most of the winter weather.
"Many of the cutest, quirkiest destinations our country has to offer don't list on the big accommodation platforms, and they're often best-kept secrets that are shared by word of mouth between friends who travel the country's most interesting nooks and crannies," says Estelle Nagel, brand marketing manager at Gumtree South Africa.
Here are some great spots to check the snow out across the country and just outside it:
*Some lodges are found just over the border with Lesotho. But we consider them to be part of the list because they are just awesome.
Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, Western Cape
When snow warnings begin, one of the first places Capetonians head out to is Ceres and the Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve.
Located just two hours' drive outside of Cape Town, the reserve is situated on the working farm Erfdeel and offers a host of adventure activities from 4 x 4 trails and hiking to skiing, fishing and cherry picking.
During the winter months, the reserve is often covered with snow and its southern slopes have been known to remain snow-clad for quite some time – which makes it a great starting point for anyone looking to get those rare snow selfies.
For a mid-budget range recommendation stay in the Lakeside House. 2021 rates for a weekend booking from Friday until Sunday is R2,900 per unit for four people. Midweek bookings, R1,800 per night per unit
But, be warned. It's best to come fully stocked for a campout regardless of where you stay – because there is no guarantee you'll have running water or electricity. It can get so cold the water pipes often freeze overnight.
Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape.
Ever seen what a cheetah does in the snow? Head on over to Mount Camdeboo to find out. Mount Camdeboo Private Reserve lies nestled in the heart of the Karoo, at the foot of the Sneeuberg mountain range – South Africa's second highest mountain at 2,438 metres. It's about 60 kilometres from the Graaff-Reinet.
If you get a chance try stay in one of their two unique Camdeboo Pods, take it. These unique eco-friendly units blend in seamlessly with the natural Karoo landscape while still providing every comfort including WiFi and a private wood burning hot tub.
Fancy a hot chocolate on a luxurious queen bed that looks out onto a snow covered big five game reserve, count me in.
Book one from R2,250 per pod, per night.
Tiffindell Ski Resort, Eastern Cape
Fancy your hand at snowboarding or skiing, then Tiffindell Ski Resort is the place to be. Situated on the slopes of Ben MacDhui in the Eastern Cape it is South Africa's only ski and snowboarding resort.
Even if it isn't snowing, they have artificial slopes, so you are pretty much guaranteed an Alpine experience without having to fork out thousands of rands to fly to Europe, or even pack your passport.
Accommodation ranges from private chalets to family chalets, en-suite luxury suites, or the option of luxury six, eight or 10 sleeper self-catering accommodation.
Wykeham Lodge, Western Cape**
The first of Gumtree’s recommendations, Wykeham Lodge is a wonderful spot in Worcester, expecting around 10 centimetres of snow.
The lodge is a traditional thatched, 1835 home with lots of charm and warmth of bygone years. Situated in the beautiful Breede River Valley surrounded by mountains, it's the perfect spot to experience the snow this weekend.
From R670 per night, this is a must-book.
Southern Cross Cottage, Eastern Cape**
The Southern Cross Cottage offers the best opportunity to experience the delight of the quaint town of Hogsback, ringed by the Amathole Mountains, Eastern Cape.
It is within walking distance some photogenic waterfalls, which should be ideal for those of you brave enough for a polar bear plunge.
Available for R1,000 per night and well worth it, says Gumtree.
Riverstone Luxury Country House, Western Cape**
You need to visit Riverstone Country House for a slice of heaven located in a small town named Wolseley. For those of you who have never heard of it, it's in the upper Breede River Valley region of the Western Cape province.
With fine finishes and great décor and being just 90 minutes from Cape Town, it's a peaceful getaway and perfect spot to experience the snow. Come prepared with a book and sheepskin slippers and get some serious chill time in.
This luxurious self-catering house can accommodate up to nine guests in four bedrooms and features an open plan kitchen with a breakfast bar, a dining area, and a large lounge leading onto an undercover patio with outdoor furniture and a braai area.
Full house is R4,050 per night.
Honourable mentions – Afriski, Free State/Lesotho*
No list would be complete without the remarkably fun Afriski mountain resort on the borders with Lesotho and the Free State.
Afriski is ideally located just five hours out from Johannesburg (via the Caledonspoort border post) with skiing and snowboarding fun during the winter months of June, July, and August.
It's a popular jaunt for students looking for accommodation on a budget.
The resort offers two fixed-format stays during winter. Choose from a three night weekend (Thursday – Sunday) or a four night week package (Sunday – Thursday).
Peak rates range from R1,656 for a backpacker unit for two, to grand Alpe D'Heus two sleeper R6,198 for a peak three night weekend.
Sani Mountain Escape, KwaZulu Natal/Lesotho*
The Sani Mountain Lodge offers one of the most authentic winter wonderland experiences you can get. Found at the top of the picturesque Sani Pass, the lodge and backpackers are an iconic destination, especially if you've got a 4 x 4.
One of the biggest draw factors are a sea of stars at night and being home to the highest pub in Africa.
Their Facebook page is currently running a special Unwinder Winter Getaway bed and breakfast special. Deals run for R1,650 per person per night sharing and R2,200 for the solo traveller at the Main Lodge. Adventure travellers can spend a night in their backpackers for only R300 pp per night sharing (rate is bed only). Be sure to ask before booking.
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