South Africa trip journal: Catching a lightning storm in Cape Town

In the past, I’ve discussed Canadians’ fascination with the weather and how international travelers can use that information to their advantage. During my time in South Africa, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an equal amount of weather, but disappointed most people weren’t interested in talking about it.

When I was on the Eastern side of the country, it was often grey and cool, but by the time I hit the Western Cape, we were well on our way to summer in November. Cape Town, by far, had the best weather of my trip and I did my best to take full advantage of it, wandering along Long Street or the V&A Waterfront until sundown (and then taking a taxi back to my hostel – safety first!).

One night, my exploration got cut short by rapidly darkening skies and increasing winds foretelling a strong storm on the horizon. I made it back to the Ashanti Lodge Green Point just as heavy rain started. Since the hostel has a nice second-floor covered deck, I pulled up a chair and watched the storm roll by. Grabbing little bits of video here and there, in the vain hope I could catch one of the dramatic lightning strikes, I gave up after 30 minutes or so and retreated to the delights of SABC evening television programming.

Fast forward a few months. While doing a hard drive back up and cleanup, I found some of the videos from that evening and watched through them. To my surprise, I did actually capture a lightning strike, and a fairly dramatic one at that. A valuable lesson was learned: go through images and videos more often, you never know what you may find lurking in the frames.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I also made this handy animated GIF for a slower-motion version about about 1/4 of second of video [Edit: you may have to click on the GIF to open it in another window.]

Cape Town lightning storm animated gif

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8 comments

    • It was everything I hoped it would be. Unbelievably beautiful and full of amazing people and experiences. I found it a really interesting time to be there, so much about the future is uncertain. But in that uncertainty, there’s a lot of hope and belief in South Africa’s potential in the future. I definitely plan to go back.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. Plenty of problems but amazing scenery and weather! Hope you look us up on your next journey here.

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