A few hours drive from Joburg, through the golden Free State lies a snowy playground for couples, friends and, particularly families wishing to discover and experience an unexpected African winter wonderland, Afriski Mountain Resort.
We are not used to underfloor heating, log cabins, glühwein, snowsuits and ski slopes. The altitude of 3050m above sea level is also hard to breathe in.
But it’s magical.
The Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains are cold - especially after and before sunset. Temperatures drop rapidly keeping the snow, snowy during winter. At Afriski, you'll get more than a snowcone full with your choice of three slopes catering to your skiing or snowboarding needs during winter months. Beginner – for those who are just starting out. Intermediate – for the experienced, but also for those quick learners. Advanced – for the brave.
It really all depends how fast you learn; how good your balance is and how confident you are. In my case, I faked it till I made it.
Stopping is everything. If you learn this, you are pretty much on your way to greatness. No matter the steepness of the slope, if you know how to make yourself stop at any speed, you’ll leave like me: happy to have all your bones still intact.
A few things to know and how to prepare for the Lesotho cold:
- This is a lovely place for family holidays with loads of family-friendly accommodation and activities - also let them try the bumboarding!
- Choose from a variety of accommodation options - from family-friendly lodges or homes to luxury couple stays.
- You can hire all your equipment from the resort, however, you need to ensure you have waterproof ski clothing. Falling continuously on your bum in wet jeans is no fun.
- A local Maluti beer at the bar Gondola Café or Cooler Box overlooking the slopes after skiing is a daily must.
- Eat at Sky restaurant, Africa’s highest restaurant, and be entertained by Lizard – the resident musician.
- The resort offers no wi-fi, but cheap Lesotho sim cards and data for you to stay connected throughout your stay.
- It’s about more than just skiing – the resort is not open for skiing year round, but is open 365 days a year for Adrenalin-junkies as it features loads of other perks, like mountain biking, running and quad biking.
- Try to get to the resort during the daytime – the SANI pass can be quite scary during the evening. Especially when there is mist on the road.
- You can use your SA rands at the resort, but are often given the local currency, Loti, in change.
- The best time to ski here is in June when snowfall is at its peak.
*Marisa Crous was hosted by AfriSki Mountain Resort for the duration of this trip.