When to go to South Africa? Which months and seasons should be favored to take full advantage of this country known for its geographical vastness and its cultural richness? We explain how to choose the best time to go on a trip to South Africa, depending on the weather, the cities visited, as well as holidays and festivals.
The climate of South Africa
At the southern tip of the African continent is the Republic of South Africa, this popular destination not only has a great scenic diversity but also many different climates: from a desert climate , through subtropical climatic conditions , to the Mediterranean climate and all this so only in South Africa. Climate change in the different regions of South Africa has a high impact on the altitude and the sea, the west coast, and therefore the region around Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate. the south african summerIt is characterized by having a hot and dry climate, the winters on the other hand are relatively cold and humid due to the Bengal current. In the Cape Town region, precipitation occurs mainly in the months of June to September of the South African winter. On the east coast, where Durban is also located, Cape Agulhas provides a hot and humid climate. Electricity from the Indian Ocean increases rainfall in the eastern coastal zone. Inland Johannesburg is noticeably drier, it usually rains more often here during the South African summer. The summer months are warm and mild temperatures prevail during the winter months. At the highest elevations in the country, nights are cold during this season and frost can occur.
Due to its location in the southern hemisphere, the times of the year in South Africa are contrary to those we have in Spain . That is, when winter arrives in Spain, summer begins in South Africa and vice versa. The spring and autumn seasons are also contradictory, this makes us ask ourselves the following question: what is the best time to travel to South Africa ? I must tell you that due to different weather conditions, there is no clear answer. The optimal travel time depends on which region you want to visit in South Africa and what you would like to visit, that is, according to the vacation time you would like to enjoy here. Many travelers opt for a trip to South Africa in high season, during the South African summer which is mainlythe months of December and January , ideal for many Spaniards looking to escape the cold on the Peninsula. At this time of year the landscape is in all its splendor, temperatures are high in summer and rainfall is scarce, which is why the most famous places are full of tourists in these months and locals also enjoy vacations. Another thing to keep in mind is the increase in prices in the high season. If you want to avoid places full of tourists by all means and save as much as possible, then I recommend traveling to South Africa at another time of the year, because it is worth the trip whatever time it is, although you always have to take into account what kind of activities you want to do.
When to go to South Africa: Cities
The best time to go to South Africa and especially to Cape Town, is during the months of September to December, then from March to April. During these periods, Cape Town enjoys dry and sunny weather. Note however that the nights in Cape Town are cool and the temperature of the sea (the Atlantic Ocean) never goes above 20°C. In summer, a cool south-easterly wind, called the “Cape Doctor”, can blow very hard. Cape Town is one of the windiest cities in the world.
We do not recommend that you go to South Africa, especially Cape Town, during the winter period (from May to August). The climate is indeed temperate (on average 17°C), but the temperature can drop to 8°C during the coldest months.
Where to sleep in Cape Town? Pod Camps Bay. Set in stunning scenery, it pampers its guests with comfort, minimalist elegance and understated luxury.
The best time to go to South Africa and especially to Durban is summer, from December to March. Average maximum temperatures are around 28°C. This coastal city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, in the east of the country, is lucky to have to throw itself on the Indian Ocean. The climate is therefore subtropical, but humid. Durban experiences heavy rainfall, sometimes exceeding 100mm, especially in February and March. Winter, from May to September, has mild temperatures, with average temperatures between 23°C and 25°C and reduced rainfall.
We advise against going in June and July, as these are the coolest months.
Where to sleep in Durban? At the Oyster Box Hotel, a 5-star hotel with a swimming pool by the ocean.
Port Elizabeth has very beautiful beaches, one of the best beaches in South Africa. Therefore, the best time to go there is between January and April, then October and December, as in the whole country. From May to September, the temperatures are cooler.
Or sleep ? At the Victoria and Alfred Boutique Hotel & Guest House, which as its name suggests, is one of the most intimate guest houses in Port Elizabeth. It will seduce you with its colonial aspect and its beautiful swimming pool.
Book this hotel
The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg (known as “Joburg”) enjoys a generally dry and sunny climate. The best months to go are October-November and February-March. In the highlands of Johannesburg, temperatures drop with altitude. Another negative point, Johannesburg experiences violent storms during the dry season.
The best time to do the Garden Route
The Garden Route is one of the most popular routes for a rental car trip, just like in the Cape Town region, the maritime climate prevails in this southern coastal region. In summer you can expect fantastic temperatures and mild winter months. The strong winds that prevail in Cape Town are rare on the Garden Route, but it nevertheless rains frequently here during the winter months. If you want to explore the Garden Route at its best, then the best time to do so is the months of October, November, December, January, February, March and April,in summer it can get too hot which is ideal for swimming in some of the sheltered bays. Keep in mind before planning your route that the months of December and January, high season, are quite frequented by tourists and locals.
The best time to go on safaris in South Africa
South Africa is known for its stunning landscapes and the famous African Big Five . If you decide to travel here, don’t miss the opportunity to go on a safari through the Kruger National Park , for example, in the northeast of the country. See lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, leopards and many other wildlife in the wild. The best time to go on a safari in South Africa are the winter months, that is, June, July, August, September and October.. The reason: being the dry season this ensures that the animals will move towards the wells to hydrate so they are much more visible and the temperatures are not too high at this time compared to the South African summer. The only drawback is that at night the temperature drops, which you should take into account when doing the famous “morning drives” and “night drives” safaris, which are safaris that take place early in the morning or at night, so be aware Keep in mind that you should take warm clothes. Since the South African winter is considered the best time to do safaris, you should book your excursion as soon as possible, if you wait until the last minute it is very likely that there will be no free places. But of course you will not only be able to see animals at this time,
When to go to South Africa: Celebrations and festivals
If you do not know when to go to South Africa, we advise you to inform yourself about religious and national holidays, as well as festivals. In January, as in all countries of the world, South Africa celebrates the new year. In the cape, we thus attend the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival (Kaapse Klopse) which celebrates the new year with a carnival on January 2, which lasts on average one month, with songs, dances, floats and costumes in all the streets .
If you want to go to South Africa in September, you may be attending the Johannesburg festival season which lasts two months. The opportunity to also attend the Soweto Festival Expo, and that of Joy of Jazz.