best ski resorts in Africa

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

Africa is not the most obvious choice of continent when choosing your location for your next epic winter break. However, we know that heading further afield and experiencing truly unique destinations is becoming more of a trend, so Africa may be next on the bucket list. It begs the question, where can you ski and what are the best ski resorts in Africa.

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

As we have done further research into this, we have found Africa is truly unique and the ski resorts like no other. There is no state of the art lift systems, no big apres bars or fancy hotels, instead, there are locals making the most of their incredible landscapes and stripping it back, just enjoying the fun of the snow. Don’t expect to be able to spend 5 days hitting kilometres of pistes and to bounce your way through fresh powder in the backcountry. The slope extents are very limited and the facilities are basic. But this by no means is this a negative and a reason to not experience this different way of enjoying the slopes.

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

We suggest hitting these resorts as part of a wider trip and driving up to the mountains for just a few days. But when you are there, you will be in awe of the views and the friendly, enthusiastic and resourceful mentality of the locals. You can learn how the love of snow sports are enjoyed all over the world, regardless of wealth, piste extent and snow depth.

But it begs the question? What to wear? Well, it’s easy, just imagine spring skiing in the alps. For your ski jacket, think light, breathable and water resistant for all those slushy turns. For your ski pants, think nice and flexible plus well ventilated for all the tricks you will be nailing, not to mention the steeze! 

Weather/ Conditions

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

As you can imagine, due to Africa’s proximity to the equator, brutally cold winters with metres and metres of the snow isn’t really the case. However, a lot of the mountain ranges in Africa, such as the Atlas Mountains, the altitude is high enough to rival some of the highest resorts in the Alps. So even in their short winter months, there is enough snow to strap on a pair of skis and head down.

In some cases where the snow can be limited, they are still blessed with high altitude and cold temperatures. This can make for an interesting landscape with sporadic snow cover among a green backdrop. Whether the snow is fake or real, either way these resorts are loved by the locals and they flock there en mass to enjoy and revel in the fun that can be had. 

Getting There

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

Now obviously heading to Africa, especially South Africa, is not just a short flight to your favourite European resort. So we suggest, heading to these counties as part of a longer trip to make the most out of your potential 10-hour flight. When heading to the resorts in South Africa you are looking to fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg which is around a 10 to 13 hour flight time. Getting to and from the resorts once you are there is also no picnic, the drive can be up to 9 hours too. But, as we are sure you are aware, South Africa is one hell of a big country, so getting around anywhere is a task. 

The other resorts in this list, such as the ones in Morocco or Algeria are slightly more manageable flight times from mainland Europe. The flights can range from 3 to 5 hours to Marrakesh and around 6 to 7 hours for Algiers. The resorts in the Atlas Mountains also take less time to get to from the cities and airports, being around 2 to 3 hours. Either way, wherever you are going, we recommend taking local taxis, hiring cars or buses as the train systems are not too advanced. Having a car would mean you have the freedom and flexibility and can enjoy an epic adventure around the country.

Prices Explained

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

Price Ranges Explained

We looked at the price of ski passes, gear hire, food/drink, hotel/Airbnb for each region and assigned a rating based on the average cost of staying for 7 nights and 6 days of skiing in mid- January.

– Inexpensive, perfect for skiers/snowboarders on a budget

€€ – Middle of the range budget required

€€€ – Expect to pay premium prices

So strap on your ski’s, or maybe just your slippers for the moment, sit back and let’s dive right in!

Best Ski Resorts In Africa - Full List

Oukaïmeden, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

Pass

Gear

Food

Hotel

General Information

Nearest Airport: 90 minutes (75 km) from Marrakech Airport by taxi

Ski-Able Terrain: 7 lifts, under 10 km

Elevation:  2,610 and 3,268 m

Get To Know  Oukaïmeden

If you are visiting the beautiful city of Marrakech in the winter months, then you will probably be taking a trip to the famous Atlas Mountains. With Oukaïmeden being only 90 minutes from the city it makes sense to strap your skis on and experience the Atlas Mountains in a different kind of way. 

Due to Oukaïmeden’s altitude, which is in fact higher than a lot of European resorts, it is snow sure in the peak winter months. The pistes are also pretty varied considering the size of the resort, with one run being 3km long. 

Ridestore Recommends:  Make it an all-day trip by taking a guided tour to Oukaimeden & Berber Valleys Excursion from Marrakesh.

Afriski Mountain Resort, Lesotho

Afriski Mountain Resort, Lesotho
Photo credit to Afriski Mountain Resort Tourism Facebook

Pass

Gear

Food

Hotel

General Information

Nearest Airport: 6 hours from Johannesburg  by car

Ski-Able Terrain: 2 lifts, under 1.8 km

Elevation: 3,030 and 3,222 m

Get To Know Afriski Mountain Resort

Afriski is an interesting destination and to the unexpectant eye, looks more like a plane landing strip than a ski resort. The resort is high above the trees but sometimes does struggle to get full snow coverage in the winter, but the temperature allows for snowmaking to create one long piste. This singular piste is the hub of great activity and fun, with toboggan runs, slalom races and a snowpark. 

Ridestore Recommends: Monster Rollers- essentially off-road bikes which you can smash through the snow on their track

Matroosberg, South Africa

Matroosberg, South Africa
Photo Credit to Matroosberg Reserve Facebook Page

Pass

Gear

Food

Hotel

General Information

Nearest Airport: 2 hours drive from Cape Town (CPT)

Ski-Able Terrain: 2 lifts, under 2 km

Elevation: 1,794 and 2,132 m

Get To Know Matroosberg

Matroosberg is not strictly a ski resort like we would usually recommend, as it is technically private. To ski or board and use the lift systems at Matroosberg, you must be a member of the South African Ski Club. To be part of the ski club you there is a yearly membership fee of around $30, which gives you access all year/ season, which is a bargain- in fact, even just heading there for a couple of days is cheaper than the alps! 

The resort is essentially a farm that provides an abundance of adventurous activities all year round, such as abseiling and mountain biking, so the resort’s motto ‘The peak of adventure’ is very true. As a heads up to the skiers thinking of trying Matroosberg, the slopes are catered for snowboarders… but that should never stop anyone from strapping in and pointing downhill! 

Ridestore Recommends: hire a 4×4 vehicle, get a permit in the resort and go on a 6-hour 4×4 trail mountain adventure 

Ifrane Michlifen, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Ifrane/Michlifen, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Pass

Gear

Food

Hotel

General Information 

Nearest Airport: Fes-Saïss Airport (FEZ) and is a 1 hour drive from Ifrane

Ski-Able Terrain: 2 lifts, under 1 km

Elevation: 1,880 and 2,060 m.

Get To Know Ifrane

Ifrane is often referred to as the Switzerland of Morocco due to its lovely and charming Swiss architecture in the town. Ifrane is the perfect base for your mini ski trip to the slopes of Michlifen, which is easily accessible by a cheap taxi ride from Ifrane. Once at the resort base you will find a few restaurants and a beautiful 5* hotel. The whole vibe of this place is very alpine, so you will be sure not to miss your trip to Europe. 

As like most of the resorts in Africa, the slope extent is limited but the snow is often very good in Michlifen and it stays cold, so you can still experience the full ski day. 

Ridestore Recommends: Take time to explore the town of Ifrane with its interesting architecture. 

Chréa, Algeria

Chréa, Algeria

Pass

no cost

Gear

Food

Hotel

General Information

Nearest Airport: Houari Boumediene Airport is 43km away and best accessed by car 

Ski-Able Terrain: 3 lifts, under 0.5 km

Elevation: 1,460 and 1,550 m

Get To Know Chréa

Chréa used to be a charming and vibrant ski resort back in the 1940’s but war meant the resort was torn down. Fortunately, the Algerian government and the locals are keen to bring this place back up to its former glory, by reinstalling the gondola and main run. The locals run this place very traditionally, which brings a lovely charm to the resort. 

You can spend the day enjoying the snow and the vibrant atmosphere, as it is known to get busy with the locals during the peak months. You also can enjoy the spectacular views of the Atlas Mountains, so we suggest ending your day with tea from one of the many tea stalls and soak up the incredible and unique surroundings. 

Ridestore Recommends: To explore the Chréa National Park

Tiffindell, South Africa

Tiffindell, South Africa

Pass

no cost

Gear

Food

Hotel

General Information

Nearest Airport: Mthatha Airport which is 129.4km or fly to Johannesburg and a 9-hour drive.  

Ski-Able Terrain: 5 lifts, under 2.4 km

Elevation: 2,700 and 2,930 m

Get To Know Tiffindell

Tiffindel is one of the larger and more well-known resorts in Africa and it’s easy to see why. There is always a lot happening in the resort throughout the year but they cultivate a vibrant atmosphere in the winter which can rival some of the European resorts. They encourage you to stay for a few days, so they offer package deals which include lift pass, equipment hire, accommodation and food for your duration. 

The resort has everything you need for a couple of days out in the mountains, with bars, restaurants, accommodation and a few slopes which are varied- even the intermediates can enjoy a red run to bomb down.

Ridestore Recommends: They have a good snowpark with rails and jumps

Wrapping Up

So there we have it, the list of the most famous and popular ski resorts in Africa. As mentioned, the piste extent is limited and the resorts are small but we really get the feeling of community and enthusiasm from the locals who run them and the locals who frequent them. People do not visit these resorts to splash the cash and live in luxury, but instead to enjoy the snow, the sport and the mountains. Speaking of splashing the cash, you will not have to worry about overspending on your ski trip in these resorts. You may be spending more to travel to these counties or as part of a wider trip, but you will not find skiing cheaper anywhere else. What place in the Alps would have a free lift system or a membership for a year under 1000 euros? 

We suggest mixing up your usual ski trip, hit the plane for a few hours longer and head further south than usual. The effort brings great reward as you get to experience the African culture, the friendliness of the people and the impressive scenery. Get booking! 

Best Ski Resorts In Africa

PS.

Hey Riders, note from your gal Angelica here. All details are/were correct at the time of writing through research of skiing in the Africa however, I haven’t yet had the chance to visit all these fantastic destinations.  All advice is my own. However, maybe you have some better information to offer or any addendum or changes to make, in which case, feel free to email me on angelica@ridestore.com, and we can consider adding them in!

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