The word ‘snow’ is probably not one that springs to mind when thinking about Africa, one of the hottest continents on Earth. But, snow in southern Africa is possible, although no one will be dreaming of a white Christmas, as winter here runs from June through August!

Because southern Africa is located between two different oceans (Atlantic and Indian) and is in the southern hemisphere, it lies in the middle of the tropical zone and so has a subtropical climate with many, many sub-climates and weathers all coexisting within the same region.

This snowfall here in the Eastern Cape region has blown in with a strong cold front that has sent temperatures plummeting to well below freezing in some parts of South Africa. The snow is a treat for these hospitality students based at the Graaff-Reinet campus of the SA College for Tourism.

Being born and raised in Zambia, these students have never seen real snow before, so there is massive excitement as the small group heads out to find adventure in the Groot Karoo koppies (hills) that surround the College campus. Because of travel restrictions, the group was unable to return home for the holidays, so the training team made the most of the unexpected snowfall. Of course, to the delight of all involved, a snowball fight broke out which meant that all their worries melted away.

The SA College for Tourism offers students living on campus with a home away from home. This was the foundation laid by the late André Kilian, who ran the College from inception. Affectionately known as Tata Mkulu (grandfather), André deeply cared for the students and created a caring learning environment for the young people who spent long months away from home during their studies. This legacy lives on in all the SA College for Tourism staff. When Mariette Ferreira, the current College CEO saw the snow-capped hills, she gave staff the day off to spend with their families exploring the snow. Of course, the trainers didn’t hesitate to include their students in their adventures which turned out to be a fantastic day for all.