BUTHA-BUTHE, Lesotho (AP) — Millions of people across Europe are sweating it out in record-breaking summers and enjoying skiing in Africa.
do not worry. This is not just another sign of climate change, but a fascinating anomaly for Lesotho, a small mountain kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. It is the only country on earth where every inch of its territory is more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level.
This brings snow to Lesotho in winter in the southern hemisphere. Cold winters are not uncommon in southern Africa, but snow is not uncommon, and ski resorts are even rarer. At an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) in the Marti Mountains of Lesotho, Afri Ski is Africa’s only ski resort operating south of the equator.
“I’ve never seen snow in my life,” said Kafi Mohapelo, who left South Africa on a short ski trip, never thought he’d take it. “So this is a great experience.”
Bafana Nadida, from the sprawling Johannesburg city of Soweto, was overjoyed when she put on ski boots for the first time. He planned a day of skiing lessons, taking pictures and playing in the snow.
Skiers and snowboarders lined up to rent the appropriate gear. Some were advised by Hope Ramokoggio, a self-taught Lesotho native who has worked as a ski and snowboard instructor for 12 years. His wide smile and deep, reassuring voice make even beginners feel at ease.
“Push your heels out. good! “
Afriski’s Kapoko Snow Park is the continent’s only freestyle snow park. Competitors lined up for the annual Winter Whip Slopestyle Snowboard and Ski competition last month. His 13-year-old Seholora Monotsi, from Butaboute city, Lesotho, who practices regularly at Afriski, has won his junior snowboard and ski divisions.
“I really want to ski in Europe,” he said.
London-born Mecha Lebohan Ejindu has been teaching skiing and snowboarding in Austria for more than a decade and said it was his first season in the southern hemisphere. He has his family roots in Lesotho.
“It is very heartwarming to have such a competition in Southern Africa,” he said.
Afriski may not be on the level of Europe’s sprawling alpine resorts, but its love of winter sports is on the rise.
Afriski’s Sky Restaurant and Gondola Cafe kick off happy hour at 10 a.m. with skiers and snowboarders showing off their winter fashions and partying to house music and drinking beer. Some claim the bar is the highest in Africa, but Sani Mountain Lodge, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of the Lesotho-South African border, disputes this.
No one can dispute that this crowd went skiing in Africa.