Africa Travel News

Skiing in South Africa

When the world's best ski runs are being chosen, few are apt to guess that South Africa would make the list. Yet, CNN Travel has named the nation's only two runs as some of the best, mainly for the location alone.

Situated along the dramatic Drakensberg ridge is mount Ben McDhui, the highest peak throughout the Eastern Cape. Travelers who wish to take to the African runs must do so in the shadow of this monolith, where the country's only ski resort resides. When they're not skiing, they can still traverse the ridge for hiking, fishing and bird-watching. 

Majestic mountain
According to South Africa's official tourism bureau, the region surrounding Ben McDhui is known as the Switzerland of South Africa. The mountain itself towers at more than a thousand feet above sea level, with locals knowing it better as Makhollo, which translates to Great Mother. For the casual observers, its also just called Ben Mac. Whatever people call it, there's only one name for skiing in the entire nation. Tiffindell is South Africa's sole ski resort, which, with the help of snowmaking equipment, is able to provide skiing for over 100 days of the year. There are two runs, a restaurant, a ski shop and accommodations for over 150 guests, according to the resort. While skiing may seem quaint in the region, CNN noted that temperatures regularly drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Nature trails
Crisscrossing the slopes of the mountain are walking trails that cut through some of the nation's highest passes, including The Dragon's Tail and Naudes Nek. According to South Africa's tourism board, winding rivers also allow for plenty of fly fishing in the summer months. Depending on the time of year, travelers can also take advantage of the opportunity to spot some rare birds, including the bearded vulture and the orange-breasted rockjumper.

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