The Best Time to Visit South Africa

The Climate in South Africa

The Republic of South Africa lies in the most southern tip of the continent of Africa. This popular travel destination is home to not just a scenic diversity, but also a range of different climates. From the desert climate, through to subtropical climatic conditions, to the Mediterranean climate, you’ll experience everything in South Africa. Climate change in the different regions of South Africa has a high impact on the altitude and the sea. The western region, so around Cape Town, has a Mediterranean climate. South African summers are generally dry and warm. Winters are relatively cool and humid thanks to the Benguela Current. In the region around Cape Town, most rain falls in the South African winter months of June to September. On the east coast, where Durban lies, the Agulhas Stream, brings humid and warm weather. Electricity from the Indian Ocean raises the rainfall levels on the east coast. Inland, near Johannesburg, it’s noticeably drier. Here, it usually rains most often in the South African summer – don’t forget that the seasons are switched to what we’re used to here in Ireland. The summer months are hot and mild temperatures prevail during the winter months. In the higher elevations of the country, the nights are cold in winter and frost can occur. You see, the climate in South Africa differs depending on the region.

Climate data for Cape Town in South Africa

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 26 27 25 22 20 18 18 18 19 21 23 25
Min. temperature in °C 16 16 14 12 9 8 7 8 9 11 13 14
Sunshine hours per day 12 10 9 8 6 6 6 7 8 9 10 11
Water temperature in °C 18 19 19 18 17 16 15 14 15 16 17 18
Rainy days per month 2 3 4 7 9 10 11 11 7 6 3 2


Best time to visit South Africa

Because of its situation in the southern hemisphere, the seasons in South Africa run counter to ours in Ireland For example, when winter arrives in Ireland, the South African summer begins. This raises the question of when the best time to visit South Africa is. Due to the different climatic conditions, there is no clear answer. The best time to visit South Africa really depends on which region you want to visit in South Africa, what you want to see and experience and what kind of holiday you want to enjoy. Most people will take a trip during the high season, which occurs in the South African summer season and the months of December and January. During this time, the landscape is in its full glory, the temperatures are high and rainfall is rare. That’s why tourists are teeming here these months. In addition, the locals have holidays themselves. The sights and beaches are popular with tourists and locals alike. You’ll also notice the increased prices for accommodation and excursions, which can also be booked up quite quickly. It is true: a trip to South Africa is worthwhile all year round. However, depending on planned activities and regions, you should prefer or disregard some months.

Best time to go on Safari

South Africa is best known for breathtaking landscapes and the Big Five game species: lion, leopard, rhinos, elephant, and Cape buffalo. If you head to South Africa, you should definitely head for a safari park, such as to the Kruger National Park in the north of the country. Here you can watch lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, leopards and many other wild animals in their natural habitat. The best time to visit a South Africa safari is in the South African winter months of June, July, August, September and October. This is because the game reserves and national parks aren’t too overgrown, and so the animals can thus be better observed. In addition, the dry season ensures that the animals move to the waterholes. Also, the temperatures aren’t as hot as in the South African summer months. The major disadvantage of this travel time is, of course, the cold nights. For tourists, morning drives and night drives are quite popular. With these drives, you’re travelling in the early hours of the morning, or you’re out in the night, so it can be a little chilly. Be sure you bring a thick jumper or a jacket. I definitely recommend booking early if you decide to come to the safaris, as they can be booked up months in advance. But, you do have the chance to see the animals on safari at any time throughout the year – even in the high season when temperatures are around 35°C! So, it’s up to you when you consider the best time to visit a safari is.

Climate data for Kruger National Park

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 34 33,5 32 30 28,5 26,5 26 27,5 29 30,5 31,5 32
Min. temperature in °C 22,5 21,5 20 17 12 8 8 11 14 17 19 22
Sunshine hours per day 8 7,5 8 7 8 8 8,5 8,5 8 7 7 7
Rainy days per month 8 7 7 5 3 2 1 1 3 6 7 8


The best time to visit Cape Town

Cape Town is found on the south-west coast of South Africa. This South African metropolis is a seriously popular destination for lots of tourists. The best time to visit Cape Town is particularly the summer months of December, January and February. In these months you can expect the perfect summer holiday conditions – heat, and low humidity. Some people prefer to travel in the months of October, November, March and April. These months are the South African spring and autumn, and the climate can be quite pleasant. It’s not too hot, and so it’s ideal for exploring the city, and of course the surrounding cape. In spring, you really see the coast bloom in its full splendour. But, the wind can be heavier in October and November than in most other months. In winter, from June to September, Cape Town and the Cape can be extremely wet and fresh. If you consider the months of September, October, November or also December as the best travel time for Cape Town, you are doing everything right. Check out some more detailed information on the best time to visit Cape Town.


Best time to visit the Garden Route

The Garden Route is among the most popular routes for travelling with a rental car. Like the Cape Region and Cape Town, a maritime climate prevails in this southern coastal region. In summer you can look forward to fantastic temperatures and the winter months are mild. Strong winds that prevail in Cape Town are rare on the Garden Route. However, it rains here frequently during the winter months. If you want to explore the Garden Route in all its beauty, consider the South African Spring or Summer. The best travel times for the Garden Route are October, November, December, January, February, March and April. Be aware that it can get extremely hot in the summer months, so it’s perfect for swimming in a sheltered bay. You could also cool off in the occasional rain showers. Note that on the Garden Route in December and January a lot is going on, as high season and holiday season prevails.

Climate data for George (the largest city on the Garden Route)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 24,5 24,5 23,5 22 20,5 19,5 18,5 18,5 19 20 21,5 23
Min. temperature in °C 14,5 15 14 11,5 9,5 8 7 7,5 8,5 10 12 13
Sunshine hours per day 7,5 7,5 6,5 6,5 6,5 6,5 7 7 7 7 7,5 7,5
Rainy days per month 8 8 9 7 6,5 6 6 7 7,5 9 8 7,5


My opinion on the best time to visit South Africa

As you can see from the different climatic conditions and weather conditions in the different regions, there is no one best time to visit South Africa. Nevertheless, to find the individually best travel time for yourself, make a plan of what you want to see in South Africa before you jet off. That’s when you’ll know when is the best time to visit South Africa. For a safari in the Kruger National Park, for example, the months of June to October are suitable. For a trip to Cape Town, you should choose the months September to November. The popular Garden Route is best experienced from October to April. If you plan the appropriate trips in other months than recommended, you need not be afraid of bad weather conditions. South Africa really is a year-round destination!