Hi there, from sunny South Africa!!! I hope you are enjoying your
virtual tour. I am so pleased to be posting here and telling you a little bit about our country. You asked me about Winter in South Africa and I know for most of you that are reading this that you are in the middle of Summer and Winter is far from your thoughts!!! Where you are from you probably experience Winter a little differently to us and like most things in Africa Winter brings some interesting creatures !!!
Right now we are in the heart of winter, hot chocolate and heaps of stories under blankets.
Here are se7en things about our Winter in Cape Town, South Africa:
- Winter Rainfall: Most of South Africa has Summer Rainfall – hot sweltering rain, but in Cape Town we have Winter Rainfall, which means cold and wet winters. We have lots of cold sunny days and then we will have a couple of stormy days, sunny days then stormy days and so on until the Spring when the stormy weather moves to the south of Africa. Our rain isn’t of the “drip all day” kind but rather bursts of torrential rain and then the sun pops out and then bursts of torrential rain…
- Cold, cold, cold but no snow: We get snow on the distant mountain tops and the temperature can get down to 3 or 4 degrees (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) Celsius at night where we live. The other day it only got up to 6 degrees Celsius, which is unusually cold for us, usually it warms up to about 12 degrees in the day (about fifty degrees Fahrenheit). So it gets cold but not cold enough for snow on the ground. And my kids have never played in the snow… The snow on the mountain tops is quite inaccessible and you would not only have to drive far to see it but then hike a way up the mountain to reach it as well.
- Whales: We get Southern Right Whales in the winter, they arrive from the Antarctica to have their babies in the bays along our coast. They come really close to the shore and they are beautiful to watch.
- Baboons: In the winter we get baboons coming down from the mountain looking for food. We stopped growing root vegetables because they will come and eat them. Every time our potatoes are ready they seem to dash down the mountain and eat them!!!
- Snakes: We live on the side of a rocky mountain and it is a great place for snakes. Snakes do hibernate but on warmer wintry days they will creep out to laze in the sun. Trouble is because they are cold blooded it is really too cold for them and they can only move about at a very sluggish pace, so they are easy to capture and examine. Mostly we have little brown snakes that are quite harmless. Not my best but I had to overcome my fear and I scoop them up in the dustpan and toss them into the neighbors garden!!!
- The Problem: Our winters are short and most of the year a typical South African would deny that winter even exists. But for a couple of weeks of the year it is wintery and cold. We are totally unprepared!!! We have no heating, in fact I don’t know anyone with any sort of heating. Our homes are designed for summery out door living and they are breezy to say the least and definitely no double glazing. Most South African kids don’t wear shoes all year round and my kids would never dream of wearing gum boots!!! It is quite normal for kids to wear shorts even in mid-winter!!! Mad I know !!! We do have a heater, but never use it, we can’t stand the thought of paying for more electricity than we have to!!! Nights are different, a cold child cannot sleep: they wear wooly hats and socks to bed, extra blankets and hand-warmers.
- Mid-Winter Traditions: We live in a sea-side town and it is a very popular place for tourists to visit. But almost nobody knows how glorious the beach is in winter. Cold but worth it!!! We visit the beach and have it to ourselves quite a lot in the winter. Also there is no wind so a trip to the beach can be a lot pleasanter than in the summer when we get an awful lot of blustery wind. Also sometime during the middle of winter my kids will take a swim in the pool – yes it is freezing cold, but it is their “cracking the ice” (it doesn’t actually freeze) tradition and I will have nothing to do with it other than run a warm bath for them to jump into afterwards!!!
That’s pretty much our Winter in a nutshell. If you want to know more about South Africa then you are welcome to follow the link to our South African pages. Meanwhile we are longing for Spring!!!