Surprising Snow North of Karoo, a Christmas in July

South Africans were gifted with surprising snow near Karoo recently, so I invite you to a Christmas in July with fresh images of snow, a Christmas tree from Bucharest and some magical doors for Thursday Doors.

While we enjoy a morning as sunny as an ice cream up here, near Pretoria, with temperatures of minus 1 degree Celsius (it is winter after all), further in the south of South Africa Antarctic pulses surprised us with snowfall.

These images were taken by members of our (very) extended South African family and we thank them for sharing the magic with us, special thanks to Cobus Pretorius.

Snow covering the road between Oudtshoorn and Swartberg Pass, South Africa, July 2021
Fresh snow covers the road between Oudtshoorn and Swartberg Pass, South Africa, July 2021

Oudtshoorn is a town in the Klein Karoo area of South Africa’s Western Cape, some 1200km south of Pretoria. Karoo is derived from the local Khoisan language, meaning ‘land of thirst.’

One would imagine that mermaids belong to the sea, and their legends are to be forever rocked by waves. It is not so.

Oudtshoorn Swartberg mountain pass snow July 2021 .jpg
Oudtshoorn Swartberg mountain pass snow July 2021

Mermaids, Watermeid, are said to inhabit ( have inhabited?) the rock pools between the Klein (Little) and Groot (Great) Karoo. That’s less than 50km from Oudtshoorn, and along the Meiringspoort mountain pass. Here, charming mermaids with alabaster hair cascading over their shoulders snatch, not lure, travelers, pulling them into their underground water holes. And ancient Khoi-San rock paintings still illustrate this legend .

Oudtshoorn pass snow July202

Further up to Swartberg Pass (Black Mountain Pass in Afrikaans) the road twists and turns, as these mountains mean business, shielding the Little Karoo to the north.

Swartberg Pass is located between Oudtshoorn in the south and Prince Albert in the north. This time, only the bravest shall pass through the foggy snowfall.

Swartberg Pass snow July South Africa
Swartberg Pass snow July South Africa

A car door covered by a layer of fluffy snow. Hard to resist the urge of tracing a Christmas tree on it, isn’t it?

Snow in South Africa
Snow in South Africa

It reminded me of a past winter holiday we spent in Sighisoara, Romania. Here, a century old house with a dragon emblem on it. I particularly like the glass bricks embedded in its door:

Another winding road, one that’s best to take on foot, as it snakes among medieval homes, and still standing (see the Historical Monument badge on the blue home?) in the upper fortress of Sighisoara:

And since we celebrate surprising snow over Karoo and a Christmas in July, here’s a Christmas tree from Bucharest:

Today the Palace of Agriculture and Domains, the edifice you see above and below was inaugurated in 1895 after the plans of Swiss architect Louis Pierre Blanc, the main building designed in the French Renaissance style. End of 19th century was a time of modernizing Bucharest.

The Palace of Agriculture and Domains, Bucharest
The Palace of Agriculture and Domains, Bucharest

I like this architect quite a bit as he also designed the main building of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila, Bucharest, where I studied (in a different lifetime). And a gorgeous place it is too – down to the basement where the dissection labs were buried.

thursday doors, 100 words story

For Dan Antion’s exciting Thursday Doors – weekly challenge for door lovers from all over the world hosted over on his incredible blog No Facilities.

As always, discover my book on Amazon.

39 Replies to “Surprising Snow North of Karoo, a Christmas in July”

  1. No way! You went to Medical school???!!!! I thought you were a philologist. πŸ™‚ Amazing! Anyway, I wish I were as thrilled by the snow as you seem to be. I guess remembering the old Christmas days in Romania was nice. Now let me send you a ray of sunshine so hopefully at least the roads get clear. πŸ™‚

  2. Roads are bright and sunny up here, Jo. But we could do with a few extra degrees, so thank you πŸ™‚ I’ll take that sunshine from you any day.
    It was eight years ago when it last snowed in Pretoria. It was a joy for young and old. Kids were in primary school. My daughter still remembers looking out the window (ugh, sorry, during class??) and spotting the first snow flakes – since she knew how they looked like! πŸ™‚

    Well, you could say that I did a segue from the human body to the humanities. But thank you for reading till the end πŸ˜‰

    1. Are you kidding me? I always read everything you post. How many times do I have to tell you that you’re a talented writer?! πŸ™‚ I was genuinely surprised when I’ve heard about your actual profession. Come to think of it, your organized mind surely helps with research and thus your stories are more accurate. Really, reading them is always a pleasure. Hats off to you!

      1. You might have a point there, Jo. πŸ™‚
        I always thought it influenced my taste in movies and – partially – in literature πŸ˜‰

        1. So, you know Mrs. doctor, I have this pain in my right knee… πŸ˜€ Kidding. I don’t know what influenced what, but you’re one amazing scholar. I’m impressed.

  3. Beautiful said, Michael πŸ™‚
    Well, pretty exotic snow over here too!
    Thank you for stopping by.

  4. Oh, it is pretty cold up here. Went into negatives last night. So we feel it, even if we can’t see it πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for stopping by, Roberta.

  5. I love the photos and the mysterious history you shared, Pat. That photograph with the entrance and the Christmas tree is stunning. It was good to see snow on the road, although I don’t think I’d be driving into that fog bank, and to see people celebrating Christmas in July.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

  6. I was lucky with these snow images from a close source I felt I can mention. πŸ™‚ For without them I wouldn’t have discovered the legend of inland Mermaids….
    The house by the Christmas tree – I’ll have to return to it next year. It used to serve as the location of a political party and they were strict with… unaccredited photographers πŸ˜‰

    Have a merry weekend, Dan.

  7. I get more and more aware, Pat, that I am coming much better to grips with cold weather and snow than with heat! Many thanks for your amazing impressions:)

  8. Oh, I know what you mean, Martina. I do believe that the heat nowadays is less palatable than it used to be! πŸ™‚
    Although we could do with some extra degrees right now πŸ˜‰
    Glad of your visit.

    1. In the south, where it snowed this time, and along the Drakensberg mountains, in the west of SA, it snows once or twice during winter.
      Last time it snowed up here, near Pretoria, it was nine years ago πŸ™‚ But we do get cold fronts whenever it snows in the mountains.
      So it”s pretty rare. πŸ™‚

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Susan! I am so very grateful for your kind words.
      So it was well worth searching for 15 min between old photo files πŸ˜‰

    1. Ah, so glad you did, Cindy πŸ™‚ I was lucky with my husband’s extended family who lives in that are and sent us some virtual snow πŸ˜‰ as we barely get it up here near Pretoria.

  9. I only love the cold when it’s far away from me. I grew up in the U.S. and had lots of snow where we lived. But as a child my perspective was very different. Snow meant so much fun and games. But after living in India for so many years where the hot summers can be very intense, tolerating the cold has become a troubling issue. Winters here in North India are foggy with cold winds.
    Loved reading about this place and its snowy nature in July. Wow! I think we’re conditioned to our surroundings, though it may not be to our liking. You are truly multifaceted. Good to know more about you. The images are wonderful. And as always learned something new. Your posts are to the point and written with such care. Thanks Patricia.

  10. Oh, I do know the feeling, Terveen. I also grew up with long, snowy winters in Romania πŸ™‚ South Africa is far warmer in winter. But we adapt – easier going from cold to hot πŸ˜‰

    Thank you so much for your kind words, they painted a great smile in my heart.

  11. Nice pictures of the snow Pat. Reminds me of a time back in the 1980s when, feeling quite warm, I stood in rain in Pinetown, Natal, watching my son run in a road race then drove an hour up to the Drakensburg and saw deep snow. People wearing wearing gloves and warm jackets. Now I see snow on and off for 6 or 7 months every winter..

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