Enjoying the snow of Africa

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While millions across Europe swelter through a summer of record-breaking heat, they’re skiing in Africa.

This isn’t another sign of climate change but rather the fascinating anomaly of Lesotho, a tiny mountain kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa and which has an obscure geographical claim to fame: it is the only country on Earth where every inch of its territory sits more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level.

That gives Lesotho snow and while cold winters aren’t rare in southern Africa, snow is. It follows that ski resorts are even rarer and at an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet), Afriski in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains is Africa’s only operating ski resort south of the equator.

“I’ve never seen snow in my life,” said Kafi Mojapelo, who traveled the short distance from neighboring South Africa for a skiing vacation she never thought she’d take. “So, this is a great experience.”

Bafana Madida, who comes from the sprawling urban township of Soweto in Johannesburg, was delighted with putting ski boots on for the first time. He planned a day of ski lessons, taking pictures and just playing about in the snow.