Off the Beaten Track – Skiing Africa


When I think of Africa, I think of soaring temperatures, deserts, and jungles, I would never have thought of grabbing my snow skis, board, and sled and heading to these locations, but rumor has it there are slopes in Africa to be conquered. Don’t forget your passport and gloves though as these are not your hometown slopes. Morocco and Algeria offer skiing in January and February while you can explore the South African slopes from June to August.

Morocco – Oukaimeden & Mischliffen Resorts

In Morocco, the Oukaimeden Resort is just south of Marrakecj in the high Atlas Mountains which boasts snow covered peaks in January and February. The accommodations do not feature too many catered ski chalets but there are two hotels to spend a night or two while you feast on the slopes. Plan to bring your own equipment as the rentals are not high quality and while there are ski lifts they resemble donkey more than lift. The rustic back country will inspire the adventurer in you. In the middle Atlas Mountains you will find the Mischliffen resort near the town of Ifrane (close to Fes and Meknes). The ‘Moroccan Aspen’ offers basic amenities including ski lifts but they are not reliable, when they fail you can walk up the mountain to the slope. These locations are not the 5-star luxury resorts of Europe and the United States but the hard core skier will seek the opportunity for new journey of exploration.

Algeria – Tikjda & Chrea

In the Djurdjura mountain range you will find Tikja ski resort at an altitude of 5250 feet (1600 meters) in the province of Bouira. Welcoming international travelers year around, there are snow sports in the winter and a variety of actives in the summer months. Once a war torn region, the locals have found peace and welcomes visitors to the resort to explore the natural beauty and tranquility of the surroundings. The center of snow skiing in the Djurdjura Mountains the snow fall is good and the scenery is spectacular while the local people are warm and welcoming. Tikjda has a long history in the region and longs to show off its slopes and hospitality to its visitors. Another option in Algeria is Chrea, a small town about 70 kilometers outside of Algiers. This hidden hamlet offers history, skiing and the joy of a town rebuilt. After a 10 year period of military occupation, Chrea is now rebuilt and thriving with the shrieks of laughter and snowball fights. The slopes are open and the sleighs are ready to draw you into wonderment.

South Africa – Tiffindell Ski Resort

The only ski resort in South Africa was established in 1993 built on Ben Macdhui at an elevation of 9222 feet (2810 meters). The resort is now under new management after a sell in July of 2012 with plans to open to splendor and mounds of snow. The resort is equipped with ski lifts, restaurants, ski shop, ski school, and a conference center. Beyond the slopes visitors can enjoy hang-gliding, paragliding, fly fishing, horse riding, and mountain biking. The new owners are all avid skiers hoping to return Tiffindell to its former beauty as South Africa’s premiere ski and snowboarding resort.

Creative Commons photo by batschmidt