Africa, renowned for its warm tropical climate, might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of snow. However, contrary to popular belief, snowfall is not an unheard-of phenomenon in certain parts of the African continent. There are indeed certain African countries where it snows, transforming the landscapes into enchanting wonderlands straight out of Winterfell. In this article, we will embark on a virtual journey to witness the magic of snowfall in Africa.
Does it Snow in Africa?
Africa, with its diverse and large landmass, is typically characterized by drylands and deserts. However, a few African countries, especially in the north, experience snow year-in-year-out. These countries have specific geographical features that contribute to snowfall, such as high elevation and lower temperatures. Clouds gather around the peaks of higher mountains as warm, moist air rises, resulting in snowfall. Many mountains in Africa can be covered in snow all year round since snowfall is more likely to occur at high altitudes. These locations, especially those farther from the equator, also experience cooler temperatures during specific months.
African Countries Where it Snows
- Algeria: Algeria, with its extensive landmass, experiences three types of climate: continental, Mediterranean, and desert. Setif and Batna are the two main regions that experience snow in northern Algeria during winter. Setif, located at an elevation of 1,100 meters above sea level, sees an average of 21.7 snowfall days per year and accumulates about 15.87 inches (403 millimeters) of snow.
- Ethiopia (Simien Mountains): Ethiopia, located near the equator, is one of the African countries where it snows. The mountains in the north receive a few feet of snowfall yearly, including Ras Dashen, which reaches an elevation of 4,550 meters in the Simien Mountains National Park.
- Kenya (Mount Kenya): Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa, receives a significant amount of snow and rain from March to December. The high elevation of the mountain contributes to its cold weather and occasional snowfall.
- Lesotho: Lesotho, with its frigid climate, experiences snow year-round due to its high altitude. The capital city, Maseru, can accumulate up to about 13 millimeters of snow.
- Morocco: Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco is one of the African countries where it snows. The country has diverse temperatures, and during winter, it regularly snows in various regions, particularly in the north and central zones.
- Namibia: Namibia, although experiencing occasional and minimal snowfall, creates an aura of chillness whenever it does snow.
- South Africa: South Africa, with its diverse environment, has regions like Drakensberg and Cape that experience snow due to their low temperatures. The Western Cape and Northern Cape experience the most snow, with at least five snow days annually.
- Tanzania (Mount Kilimanjaro): Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, experiences snowfall due to its high altitude. The temperature on the mountain can drop to as low as -15°C.
- Tunisia: Tunisia, with its diverse climate, experiences snowfall in the central and northern areas during winter. The mountaintops are snow-capped, creating a breathtaking view.
- Uganda (Rwenzori mountains): The Rwenzori Mountains, located on Uganda’s border, experience snow, ice, and glaciers due to their high elevation and frequent rainfall.
Why Doesn’t it Snow in Africa?
Despite the presence of snowfall in certain African countries, most of the continent does not experience snow due to its climate. Before a country can experience snow, the weather needs to be at or below 0°C. The average temperature for the coldest countries in Africa is 16-18°C, which is not conducive to snowfall. Africa’s weather is complex and influenced by various factors, including latitude and proximity to the tropics. Most of the continent is located in the tropics, experiencing hot climates in most regions. However, certain regions in the north and south of Africa have colder temperatures, allowing for snowfall.
In conclusion, Africa is not just a continent of warm tropical climates. There are indeed African countries where it snows, offering enchanting winter landscapes. From the snow-capped mountains of Algeria and Lesotho to the majestic peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa showcases its diverse climate and natural wonders through snowfall. So, next time you think of snow, don’t forget to consider the magical snowfall in Africa.