Hitting The Slopes In Africa
The question of whether you can snowboard in Africa has been answered by the enclaved kingdom of Lesotho who are ushering in a new era of sports tourism for the region.
Scores of snowsports enthusiasts from neighbouring South Africa and as far afield as Australia, Canada and New Zealand are spearheading a growing momentum of winter birds flocking to the Sky Kingdom’s groomed slopes year after year.
With our interest piqued and joining forces with the festival aficionados of FestivalWorlds and Kenyan Travel writer Julie Olum, the Cape Town based EA staff embarked to immerse themselves in AfriSki Winterfest which is the continents only snowboard music festival and provide an insight for any curious EA guests.
Located 3200m above sea level just getting to the Afriski Resort is a self drive Lesotho adventure unto it’s own. The majority of attendee’s drive up – however through our partners in Joburg Encompass Africa can organise helicopter trips for those interested in a fly-in alternative. You’ll get a nice new stamp in your passport as Australians are entitled to 14 day visa free entry upon crossing so don’t forget to pack your passport. For those taking the self drive holiday there are eleven main border points, two of them being 24hr entry point, for the full list check out Visit Lesotho
Once you cross the border via car the excitement levels take on a new high as you meander through the serpentine Drakensberg range, be ready to occasionally having to stop for shepherds and their flocks of sheep though.
The Basotho people who account for 90% of Lesotho’s inhabitants are known as one of the most hospitable & friendliest ethnic groups in Southern Africa and it’s clear to see from the smiling faces and waving kids that you’ll encounter as you ascend the mountain range.
When Is The Best Time To Go?
During summer months people come to experience some of the best mountain biking & hiking in Southern Africa however the biggest event drawcard of the entire year is definately Afriski Winterfest
Pulling in the best local musical talent and coupling it with well established South African talent the festival caters to a slightly more hip end of the spectrum but is also a platform for up and coming artists. Going from strength to strength each year, the Afri Ski Winterfest allows snowsports enthusiast to catch those end of the season runs which is made all the more comfortable thanks to an onsite snowmaking machine. The festival presents a boutique feel, no long queues, only positive attitudes and as a bonus the ticket won’t cost you an arm or a leg either and includes all the equipment hire and lift passes you’ll need.
For a visual here’s a short vid by FestivalWorlds whilst on their first ever Lesotho road trip:Snowboard Ready
How to experience Lesotho's magic
There are multiple ways to make the most of the Afriski Winter Fest. Some go for the music, others to experience snow for the first time and in an exotic location, and others are tacking it onto a larger explorative journey into this majestic country.
For many of our EA clients in Africa for a short time the ultimate in time management and comfort, a fly-in Lesotho holiday is best, and via helicopter from Johannesburg seems to be the best route. Not to mention those jaw dropping photos from up over Drakensberg.
On this recent trip EA collaborated with Kenyan travel blogger Julie Olum and she did a fantastic job of documenting her entire adventure via social media, and putting together a short vlog that takes you right into her experience driving up from Cape Town all the way to Lesotho – and learning to snowboard in one weekend!Ready to Go