The Algerian district of Ain Sefra is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to the Desert”, which you can probably guess means that it gets very hot there.
Amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata is used to seeing the Sahara in its usual orange-tinge, but on January 7, he left his home to find the sand dunes blanketed in snow, and luckily for us, he got it all on camera.
Ain Sefra was colonised in 1881 by the French, who set up a garrison town there. The district sees average high temperatures of over 37 Celsius in summer and has seen record lows of -10.2 Celsius in winter.
According to Bouchetata, the snow only lasted for one day, and since melted away.
Ain Sefra is located in the northwest of Algeria about 220 miles (350 km) south of the Mediterranean sea.
The last known snowfall to hit Ain Sefra was in February 1979, when it snowed for around 30 minutes. Light sprinkles of snow were also seen in 2005 and 2012. The desert town is located about 1,000 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.
Bouchetata said: “We were really surprised when we woke up to see snow again. It stayed all day on Sunday and began melting at around 5pm.”
A spokesman for the Met Office said that “Cold air was pulled down south in to North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe.”
You can find more of Karim Bouchetata’s photos here.