Last update: February 25th, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Snow in Southern Africa. The first snow of the winter fell on the Drakensberg highlands of South Africa and Lesotho on June 8, 2004. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of the snow in the peaks of the mountains on June 9. Snow is normal in the highlands this time of year as the Southern Hemisphere enters its winter months.
The high-resolution image provided above is at MODIS’ maximum resolution of 250 meters per pixel, and shows a wider area that includes Johannesburg (central north edge of the image) and Durban, as well as all of Lesotho.
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world’s 24th-most populous nation and covers an area of 1,221,037 square kilometres (471,445 square miles). South Africa has three capital cities: executive Pretoria, judicial Bloemfontein and legislative Cape Town. The largest city is Johannesburg. About 80% of South Africans are of Black African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European, Asian, and multiracial ancestry.
It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (former Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere, and the most populous country located entirely south of the equator. South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot, with a diversity of unique biomes and plant and animal life.
Credit: Image courtesy Jesse Allen, based on data from the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC