On a typical wintery morning I wokeup and checked the weather forecast and to my suprise there was a massive storm on the way which was forecast to hit landfall on Friday night/ Saturday morning. Knowing that this would almost definitely result in snow in the Matroosberg mountains I immediately phoned around looking for nearby accomodation. I wasn’t really suprised that everything was booked out so I decided that later in the week I would have one last gamble and give all the places a call to see if anyone cancelled. Someone did!
A trail run that was due to take place at Matroosberg was cancelled due to ‘severe weather’ and within minutes I was on the phone and booked a spot.
This has to be the best bang-for-buck holiday I’ve ever been on! For R80 per person/ per night it’s even cheaper than camping at most spots. We booked something called ‘inhouse camping’, which is a small plywood house with a fireplace, 4 double bunks, a bathroom, a shower with hot water and electricity.
After a quick stop-off to get gumboots, petrol & food we were on our way. The driving conditions were horrendous and just before reaching Ceres, at the end of Michell’s pass, a truck had gone straight off the mountain and I hope the driver made it out alive.
As we approached Matroosberg, I must’ve decided about 100 times whether there was going to be snow or not. I knew the forecast was good and there was a high probability but with clouds covering all the mountains we couldn’t see anything.
Just before Klondyke cherry farm, the snow started pelting down! It was my first time in snow and it was amazing! We stopped the car immediately and stood outside for a few minutes enjoying the moment before heading along to our accomodation. As we got closer and closer the snow started falling harder and the ground started turning white.
Upon arriving at our accomodation we got a few crates of wood, unpacked and then headed straight back to the car to go snow hunting. I never expected the 2×4 trail to be so hectic and I even saw some 4×4’s turning around but we carried on regardless. This was short lived as soon afterwards it was our turn to start heading back, there was a steepish hill with mud all the way up that I just couldn’t conquer. I put my pride aside and did a quick turn/slide around but I really I wish I had 4×4 so I could’ve continued. In the end it didn’t matter because almost immediately after turning around the heavens had opened up, we were in a massive snow storm!
I pulled the car over at a wide spot on the road, so other cars could pass if they needed to, and we got out. I never realised how much fun making a snowman could be! By the time Frosty was complete the snow was coming down so hard that it actually hurt when it hit your face. I got out the GoPro and filmed the whole episode but the lens kept getting full of snow. There wasn’t even a point in taking out any normal camera because it get’s wet just as if it was pouring with rain, thank goodness for the gopro.
The only bad thing about snow is that the moment it melts you become soaking wet and when the temperature is hovering around zero, it’s not too much fun. After our snow mission, we were more than satisfied with heading back to the accomodation to get dry clothes on and heat up in front of the fireplace. It almost turned into a disaster when the last piece of blitz was battling against wet wood, but with a bit of effort the fire was in full blaze. That night, lying in bed with the fireplace crackling and it snowing outside was a surreal moment that I won’t ever forget. Please do yourself a favour and try spend the night in the snow, you won’t regret it!
In the morning we packed our stuff and saw the hordes of people queuing up to get to the snow. On the way home I had a wry smile on my face knowing we got the best of the snow with very few other people. What a weekend!
If you want to see snow look at my “Snow Guide” which will help you determine when and where the snow is.
Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve has a website with all their info on & make sure to book in advance if possible.
Take gumboots! This is an absolute must unless you want to freeze your feet off