Exploring the Coldest Countries in Africa: A Traveler’s Guide

When you think of Africa, you will likely picture dry and hot deserts or humid and warm tropical rainforests. Yet, the coldest countries in Africa can get surprisingly chilly. Well, not colder than Antarctica or Alaska, but the coldest in Africa.

It is common to find snow in some African countries, especially those with high mountains. The high altitudes of many African countries contribute to their colder climates. In addition to snowfall, frost and hail are possible during certain times of the year.

Some parts of Africa experience extreme weather conditions, such as sandstorms or dust storms, that can make temperatures even lower than normal for a given area. Many people in these areas rely on wood-burning stoves for heat during the coldest months.

Let’s dive in and explore the coldest countries in Africa.

1. Lesotho

Lesotho is a tiny country in southern Africa, spread over 30,355 sq km. It’s known as the “Kingdom in the Sky” owing to its high altitude and extraordinary mountainous landscape. Lesotho is the coldest place in Africa.

It’s also the world’s only independent state lying entirely above an elevation of 1,000 meters, and its lowest point at 1,400 meters is the world’s highest. For this elevation, you won’t be surprised that the coldest country in Africa is Lesotho, with an average annual temperature of 8°C (46.4°F). 

The temperatures here range between 0o-82oF. And during the winter months, the lowlands see an average of 19°F, while it’s about 0°F in the highlands. If you’d like to experience snow in Lesotho, visit the highlands between May and September.

Popular Tourist Attractions

  • The only ski resort in southern Africa – Afriski for some skiing adventures.
  • There’s nothing like the Drakensberg mountain range for a winter hike.

2. South Africa

You might know South Africa for its beautiful beaches and warm climate, but some parts of the country can get bitterly cold. 

The Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape experience freezing temperatures and snowfall in the winter months. At the same time, winters in the Western Cape are cold and wet, with snowfall on the higher peaks of mountain ranges.

Other places that experience snow in the country include Sutherland, Rhodes, and Cederberg. At 1,500 meters above sea level, Sutherland is the coldest town in South Africa, with mid-winter temperatures of 5°F.

The temperature in South Africa ranges between 3.2°-104°F, and the coldest months of the year are June – August. Here’s an interesting fact: South Africa’s winter is, in fact, the sunniest time of the year.

Popular Tourist Attractions

  • The safari lodges in Kruger National Park are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • Visit Garden Route for its beaches, wild areas, and wine-and-dine options.

3. Morocco

What’s not to love about Morocco? Its delicious cuisine, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture are elements of fascination.

Morocco, located in North Africa, greets you with warm weather almost all year round. The average temperature range here is 17°-104°F; January and February are the cold months in Morocco, with lows of 23°F.

The Atlas Mountains in Morocco are a perfect choice if you’re planning a skiing vacation. It’s the central part of the country with below-freezing winters and snowfall on the highest peaks. Also, there’s regular snowfall here between December to February.

Popular Tourist Attractions

  • Visit The Bahia Palace and the vibrant Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech.
  • Go skiing at Oukaimeden or Mischliffen – Morocco’s two ski resorts.

4. Ethiopia

Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa, sees temperatures between 41°-50°F.  East Africans are treated to the sights of ice and snow, thanks to the ice-capped peaks of the Semien Mountains in Ethiopia.

While the daytime temperature in the Semien Mountains is between 52°-64°F from October to December, the night-time temperatures drop to 14o-28oF. The mountain’s highest point is about 4,533 meters and is devoid of glaciers.

Addis Ababa, at the foot of Mount Entoto in Ethiopia, has winters from July to September. The coldest month – August, sees an average low of 54°F and a high of 66°F.

Popular Tourist Attractions

  • Visit the historic city of Lalibela.
  • Go hiking in the stunning Semien Mountains.
  • Soak in the beauty of Lake Tana and the Blue Nile River in Bahir Dar.

5. Tanzania

Tanzania is an African country located close to the Southern Hemisphere. The country sees a drop in temperature between May and August, with temperatures of 59°-68°F.

To be more specific, you can experience the true winters of Tanzania in Mount Kilimanjaro. The highest mountain peak on the continent is Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level; its summit can reach temperatures as low as -7°C (19.4°F).

With its highest point at 5,895 meters and lowest at 4,005 meters, there’s the effect of equatorial trade winds and high altitude trade winds, making it one of the coldest parts of Africa.

The temperature in Kilimanjaro ranges between 0°-95°F, and the mountain has three glaciers.

Popular Tourist Attractions

  • Visit the Serengeti region and surround yourself with wildlife and greenery.
  • Set camp at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro for a night for an unforgettable experience.
  • Laze on the beaches in Zanzibar or enjoy some water sports.

6. Uganda

Uganda is a Southeast African country with a diverse geography. You can spot lakes, mountains, and volcanic hills spread across Uganda. Located at an average of 900 meters above sea level, the temperatures here are moderate year-long.

July is the coldest month in Uganda, while the lowest temperature recorded here was 69°F. The average temperature ranges between 70°-77°F.

If you want a place to experience true Ugandan winter, visit the Rwenzori Mountains. Otherwise known as the Mountains of the Moon, the temperature here is 41°-68°F. Located on the borders of the Central African Republic and Uganda, the Rwenzori Mountains also have glaciers.

The mountain has its highest point at 5,109 meters and lowest at 3,400 meters.

You’ll be able to experience an alpine climate in these mountains, causing continuous rainfall. But you’ll also see glaciers, ice, and snow. This is the only place in Uganda where you can experience snow.

Popular Tourist Attractions

  • Go on a wildlife safari in Murchison Falls National Park.
  • Trek to the summit of Mount Stanley and track some mountain gorillas on your way.


When you think of cold weather, the African nation might not be the first place that pops up in your mind. But many countries on this continent experience snowfall and chilly temperatures.

As much as Africa has a beautiful bounty of nature during the summers, it has an entirely different charm in the winters. Also, in the Sahara Desert region of North Africa, there are areas where nighttime temperatures can drop to 0°C or below during winter months due to their high elevation and dry air conditions.

Now that you know all about the coldest countries in Africa, aren’t you eager to add this as a winter destination to your bucket list? Don’t forget to pack those hats, gloves, and coats.

Jude Uchella

Jude Uchella is a passionate research writer whose work has been published on many reputable platforms, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and more! He prioritizes research, writes comprehensively, and only shares factual and helpful content. He is a reader’s delight!

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