Snow in Grahamstown

First snowfall in Grahamstown in 34 years

These photos of the snow were taken in Grahamstown on 15 June 2010, from 4.30am and a few at about 8am. Read more about Grahamstown's stony day below.
Photos by Stephen Penney - 082 468 8384 -


The photos above were taken in the Industrial Area facing the Highlands Road, behing the Prison, taken shortly before 8am.

Playing in Grahamstown's snow

BY Stephen Penney

I was asleep on Tuesday morning (even too early to start dreaming) when the phone rang. It was 4.17am – immediately you wonder what is wrong, has there been a family accident. As a photographer the phone rings all times of the day, but you still dread the early morning calls, wondering what is so urgent.

I answered to hear a friend on the other side telling me to get my camera and take photos as it was snowing outside. I peeped outside to see the grass covered in a white snow blanket. I knew this was going to be cold, so even before opening the door I covered myself in more layers of clothing, and then some more, including a beanie and my running gloves.

I grabbed the camera, went outside gingerly and walked past the sensor lights to get some light for the photos, as it was raining and I was not sure if the snow would be on the ground once it was lighter. While walking to the one sensor light, I walked over a thick slippery layer of snow/ice spread across the driveway, leaving a thick shoe imprint (and freezing cold toes).

As a photographer I have photographed (almost) all situations, from the extreme heat of bush fires, inside freezing fridges, but I always dread photographing in the rain. I don't like getting wet in the cold (especially at 4.30am), but the camera is also rain shy. However, this was a bit of Grahamstown history and an excuse to be in the snow. While I was out, it began to snow again, for a few minutes. This stopped and was then followed by rain which started coming down harder. I walked down our steep driveway to get different angles, taking small steps at a time as it was extra slippery with my running shoes.

When I was back in the garden, I realised I was surrounded by snow, but still did not know what it felt like – snow last fell in Grahamstown 34 years ago and my parents took my brother and myself to play in the snow, and as I was only two I don't recall the snowy Grahamstown day.

So for me this was my first real experience in the snow so I took full advantage and began putting snow together to build a mini snow man. My wife was unable to join as she was on crutches from an ankle fracture. So there I was, playing in the snow, on my ace!

After playing and taking photos of the snow, I went back indoors and decided it was too exciting to go back to bed, so we waited until light. Just before 8am I got some more pics, and took a drive around Grahamstown capturing the early snowy morning, although there was a lot less snow than a few hours earlier.

I placed the photos on my website (, told a few people to check the snow pics, and before I knew it, I had the most visiters on my site for one day. The previous record on my newly built site was 29, so I was excited when 46 people had been to my site.

The website is a platform for many of my photographs, as well as a site for the Run/Walk For Life Grahamstown, of which my wife and myself are the Grahamstown managers. This is where our members will find running fixtures, results, photographs, and other news articles.

Frith van der Merwe and Terri-Lynn are often in the news on the website, as they are both among the top road runners in the Eastern Cape, while Terri-Lynn has a page dedicated to her as she has been chosen to represent South Africa in the World Triathlon champs in September 2010 (read more on her page).

Back to the snow, we headed home for lunch to find my snow dude was the only evidence of there having been any snow earlier that day.

By the end of Tuesday, there were a recorded 1133 visits to the website. Thanks to the technology of facebook and twitter and all those other fancy communication tools (I can send SMS's!), word got around about Grahamstown's snow, attracting people from 42 different countries to the website.






 A snow blanket covers this Somerset Heights garden.



First snow fall in Grahamstown in 34 years

Snow fell in Grahamstown in the early hours of Tuesday, 15 June 2010. This is the first snowfall in Grahamstown in 34 years, almost to the day. It last snowed in Grahamstown on 20 June 1976 when Grahamstown streets were blanketed with snow. While Tuesday's snowfall was not as heavy as 34 years ago, it was still snow, and many children (and adults) spent some time in Grahamstown's snow before heading off to work as the snow melted. By mid-morning the lawns were back to normal



One of the gardens in the Somerset Heights area which was covered in snow. 

Stephen playing in the snow at 5am. 

My attempt of a snow man, not enough snow for a man sized one. 



 The neighbours car was covered in snow in the early hours of the snowy Grahamstown morning.

The Grahamstown Golf course was covered in snow. The photo was taken shortly before 8am. 

Got home at lunch time and my (attempt of a) snowman was the only evidence of there being snow this morning. 

 Even a few sign boards got snowed down.

Proudly South African, even in the snow.