Lesotho: this tiny African nation has its own ski resort


For most people, a vacation in Africa is reminiscent of images of sunny plains, tropical rainforests, and herds of migrating wildebeest.

Few people think of skiing.

But just like Europe, the continent contains a number of mountain ranges with enough seasonal snowfall to accommodate potential trails.

One of these resorts is nestled in the Kingdom of Lesotho – a landlocked nation encircled by the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa.

Pieper Peyper owns the nearly two decades old Afriski mountain station, which attracts over 17,000 visitors each year.

“Speaking of skiing and snow, people don’t identify with Africa,” says Peyper.

“People think of the Alps, the Rockies in Canada and the bigger mountains. But this region of Lesotho has a unique climate as we sit at 3000 meters and the top of the mountain is only 3222 meters.

Hit the slopes for the first time

Skiing may be an unlikely pastime in southern Africa, but there are still lessons available for those brave enough to hit the slopes.

Ramokotjo Hope is a professional ski and snowboard instructor who works at Afriski resort.

“For me, as a local, I don’t need to fly: I have a vacation here,” smiles Hope, who wants to pass her skills on to other aspiring skiers.

“I like to give people new knowledge and I also like the progression – to see that happening makes me really, really happy.”

Under his tutelage are today two beginner skiers: Kevin Kava and Mbeziwe Seoko.

The two take turns up and down the mile-long incline, slowly perfecting their snow-plowing skills under the hot African sun.

“It was something very different,” says Kevin, who visits the resort from his home in Cape Town.

“My knees and feet hurt, I sweated unexpectedly, but it was a blast.”

Mbeziwe Seoko, meanwhile, spent most of the lesson on her knees.

“It was my first time, actually my partner suggested I try it,” she says. “I wasn’t open to it because I was afraid of heights and all that, but I’m here and enjoying it. I feel like a 10 year old.

On a busy day, the track can accommodate up to 320 visitors.

The resort has six pistes and operates between the winter months of June and August.

In the summer, Afriski entertains guests with a selection of extreme sports activities, including mountain biking, guided motorcycle tours, and trail running.

Watch the video above to learn more.

About Brad S. Fulton

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