Snow in Africa is not as common as in other continents of the world. Generally, the continent’s climate is blazing because it sits in the intertropical zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. However, it is not totally out of place that some places in Africa, the second-largest and most populated continent in the world, have broken the jinx and experience cold weather and even snow.
Countries in Africa That Have The Coldest Climate and Snow
- Temperature Range: –18 °C (0 °F) to 28°C (82 °F)
- Geographic Location: Southern Africa
- Landmass: 30,355 square kilometres (11.720 sq mi)
- Highest Point: 3,482 metres (11,424 feet)
- Lowest Point: 1,400 metres (4,593.2 feet)
Lesotho is a small country surrounded by the territory of South Africa. It is a 30,355 square kilometer nation with an estimated population of 2.1 million people. The southern African country marks itself as the only country in the world that lies totally above a thousand meters. The country’s lowest point of 1,400 meters is the highest lowest point of any country in the world. This is a major contributing factor to its cold weather.
The weather in the country differs at different times of the year. However, most months are colder than most countries within the region. The country has different seasons like most parts of the world. The summer and early Autumn seasons are hotter than other seasons. The summer season for instance lasts from October/November to March/April of every year. It mostly rains in this season and the country reaches its high weather ranging from 24-28 °C (75/82 °F). Its lowest weather is mostly at night and ranges from 12-15 °C (54/59 °F).
The winter season lasts from June to August. It is in this season that the weather becomes very cool and snow occurs in the highlands. In the midwinter, the weather can get to as low as 0 °C (32 °F) with its highest degrees getting to 16/19 °C (61/66 °F). Winters are the coldest season in Lesotho. It is about this time of the year that the lowlands get to -7 °C (19 °F) and the highlands can get to -18 °C (0 °F).
In the capital city of Lesotho, Maseru, snow happens the whole year and aggregates up to 13mm (0.51″). Also, January is the warmest month of the year in the city while June is the coldest.
- Temperature Range: -8 °C (17.6 °F) – 40 °C (104.0 °F)
- Geographic Location: North Africa (Borders with Algeria, Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean)
- Landmass: 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi)
- Highest Point: 4, 165 m (13.665 ft)
- Lowest Point: 55 m
Morocco is the closest African country to Europe (Spain) and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. The county has several climate zones, including the Mediterranean, sub-Mediterranean, Continental, Alpine, and Semi-arid. These climates are found in different parts of the country and the temperature differs.
The variety of temperatures in Morocco depend on the season of the year. The summer seasons are the hottest. The temperature usually ranges from 29 °C (84.2 °F) to 32 °C (89.6 °F) in the Mediterranean zone, 27 °C (80.6 °F) to 40 °C (104.0 °F) in the Sub-Mediterranean, and 32 °C (89.6 °F) to 36 °C (96.8 °F) in the continental. The Alpine has a temperature high of 30 °C (86.0 °F).
When it gets to the winter, the temperature is also different in different zones and can go as low as −5 °C (23.0 °F) or sometimes as low as −8 °C (17.6 °F). This occurs between December to February. At this time, it often snows in some parts of the country – the mountainous regions of the north and the central zones.
3. South Africa
- Temperature Range: -16 °C to 40 °C
- Geographic Location: Southern Africa (Bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland)
- Landmass: 1,221,037 km2 (471, 445 sq mi)
- Highest Point: 3,450 m (11,319 ft)
- Lowest Point: 0 m sea level
There are parts of South Africa that are humid. However, other parts of the country are cold, while it snows in other areas. The country is generally cold in the winter season and the weather can fall as low as -16 °C. The climatic condition of the country is decided by the country’s situation between 22 degrees south and 35 degrees south of the equatorial plane in the Southern Hemisphere.
In the SA town of Sutherland for instance, the temperature in the winter which lasts from June to August gets to even -16 C. Snow is experienced heavily in this part of South Africa. Other parts of South Africa that it also snows include Cederberg, Rhodes, Hogsback, and the Prince Edward Islands.
The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg, is also a cold city that the weather gets as lows as 2°C in June and July while it gets to as high as 27 °C. This is as a result of it being on a plateau at 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) above sea level. Hence it is mitigated by altitude. But while it doesn’t often snow in Johannesburg, the city has experienced snow a few times in the past; in 1956, 1962, 1964, 1981, 2007, and 2012 at different months.
Other Cold and Interesting Places That Snow Occurs in Africa
1. Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
- Temperature Range:-29 °C (84.2 °F) to 27 °C (80.6 °F)
- Geographic Location: East Africa (Tanzania)
- Landmass: 388500 ha
- Highest Point: 5,899 m (19,354 ft)
- Lowest Point: 4,005 m (13,140 ft)
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. By virtue of that, there is the impact of the equatorial trade winds as well as the high altitude anti-trades which make the mountain colder than most parts of Africa.
The weather on the mountain can fall as low as −15 to −29 °C (5 to −17 °F). It can also go as high as from 21 °C to 27 °C. It can also snow at any time in this part of the world. However, snow comes about more in the foremost week of December. It also falls more in the months of June, July, August, and September. More so, January and February are warmer than other months of the year, while September remains the warmest.
In addition, the mountain experiences different seasons, and different sides of the mountain experience the same weather in different ways. For instance, the southern hemisphere enjoys more rainfalls than the northern. Rainy seasons on mount Kilimanjaro are experienced at two different times of the year from March to May and the other in November.
2. Mount Kenya – Kirinyaga (Kenya)
- Temperature Range: –10 °C to 25 °C
- Geographic Location: East Africa (Kenya)
- Landmass: (715 km2 – 276 sq mi)
- Highest Point: (5,199 m – 17,057 ft)
- Lowest Point: (4,850 m – 15,260 ft)
Another place that experiences snow in Africa is Mount Kenya. The height of Mount Kenya is its major reason for being cold. This has, however, not stopped people from visiting the region as the mountain welcomes people from all over the world each year. Snow and rains are experienced around March to December. It gets windy in the mountains at most times of the year.
3. Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda)
- Temperature Range: -5 C to 20 C
- Geographic Location: East Africa/Central Africa (Borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo)
- Landmass: 998 km2 (385 sq mi)
- Highest Point: 5,109 m (16,762 ft)
- Lowest Point: 3400 m (11.155 ft)
Rwenzori Mountain is found at the borders of Uganda and the Central African Republic. The temperature of the mountain goes as high as 20C and as low as -5C or even less. The mountain contains glaciers due to its relatively low temperature. The mountain also has an alpine climate. This results in constant rainfall on the mountain. The mountain also permanently experiences snow, ice, and glaciers.
4. Simien Mountains (Ethiopia)
- Temperature Range: -10 °C to 20 °C
- Geographic Location: Northen Ethiopia (East Africa)
- Landmass: 220 km2 – (85 sq mi)
- Highest Point: 4,533 m (14,872 ft)
- Lowest Point: 4,420 m (14,501 ft)
Snow in Africa can be found on the Simien mountain. The mountain gets very cold in the months of October to December. The temperature at that time ranges from -2°C to -10°C (28°F to 14°F) at night while the day time is accompanied by the temperatures of 11°C to 18°C (52°F to 64°F).
The weather, however, becomes a bit hotter from November to March. The temperature at this time can get up to 20 °C. Also, the rains fall from November to March.