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South Africa Weather in December

An aerial view of Camps Bay during lovely weather in South Africa.
You can enjoy a refreshing drink while you take in the breathtaking views in Camps Bay.

It is summertime in South Africa in December, which means bright days and lots of sunshine. The mercury can rise as high as 25°C in certain parts of the country, whereas in the coastal regions of Cape Town, temperatures can hover anywhere between 14 to 26°C, thanks to refreshing ocean breezes. However, keep in mind that December is also one of the wettest months of the year, although the average rainfall is around 20mm spread out over the month.

If you are planning sightseeing tours in the country, it is best to stick to coastal regions that have lower temperatures. Despite higher temperatures, national parks like Kruger offer impressive safari experiences primarily because the lushness of spring is yet to fade. If you are heading to Johannesburg, make sure to carry an umbrella with you to avoid short downpours that occur during the afternoon.

Check out our seasonal overviews on our tour guide for the best time to visit South Africa.

Weather in South Africa in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
Avg Daily (°C)262625222018171819212325
Avg Nightly (°C)16161412107789111315
Avg Daily (°F)797977726864636466707377
Avg Nightly (°F)616157545045454648525559
Avg Rainfall (mm)2020305070901007050402020

Why Visit South Africa in December

Visiting the City Hall in Durban is an amazing thing to do in South Africa.
You can head to Durban to experience one of the best musical events of the year during the Durban Jazz Festival.
Kudu Antelope seen on a safari in South Africa.
December in South Africa is full of greenery which makes spoting the wildlife an amazing experience.

From seasonal events to animal adventures and more, there is a lot to love about South Africa. Below we have listed a few reasons why you should book your flights to the country for this time of year.

  • Christmas on the beach: Celebrating Christmas on a gorgeously sunny beach is a great reason to travel to South Africa in December, especially if you are from the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Fewer crowds: If your trip to South Africa falls in the first week of December, you will experience fewer crowds, especially in popular destinations across the country, as the peak tourist season tends to kick in from mid-December.
  • Lush vegetation: The remnants of spring are still present in December, primarily in South Africa’s countryside and nature reserves. Make sure that you enjoy them before they are scorched by the summer sun.
  • Turtle-tracking season: December is the perfect time to see loggerhead and leatherback turtles nesting on the shores. And some of the best turtle-viewing in the world can be done on the country’s far northeastern coast. Book a nighttime tour if you wish to avoid the heat.
  • Durban Jazz Festival: Looking for some festivities by the beach on Boxing Day? Then the Durban Jazz Festival is right up your street. Enjoy post-Christmas celebrations in a unique, laid-back atmosphere during this event.
  • Hit the beach: Thanks to gorgeous weather conditions in South Africa, you will get ample opportunities to kick back on the beach during your trip in December. Chill on golden sands, paddle in the water or grab a board and hit the waves.

Where to go and what to do

A young man walks up to the top of Table Mountain.
There are beautiful hiking trails to explore on Table Mountain in Cape Town.

If you’re visiting South Africa in December there are a lot of great things to do and see including getting the adrenaline pumping with the world’s highest bungee jump. Located along the popular Garden Route, the bungee jump and accompanying swing are nestled in a canyon with lush vegetation on both sides, making December the perfect time of year to take it all in.

Adrenaline not for you? Take some respite from the South African summer heat and indulge in a wine tasting. South African wines, especially those from Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine regions, have long been celebrated.

All that wine tasting leaving you hungry? Check out the Soweto Food Festival in mid-December and enjoy the blend of flavors, cuisines and experiences on offer. While you’re in the area, go on a scenic, multi-day drive through the beautiful Garden Route.

Looking for gorgeous views? Why not check out the world-renowned Table Mountain National Park and take in the breathtaking vistas of Cape Town.

What to bring

The Indian ocean landscape in Tsitsikamma national park.
The Garden Route is a stunning tourist destination in December.

Although summer in South Africa conjures images of constant sunshine, you need to make sure that you carry a couple of items while heading for the country. High humidity and impromptu rainstorms mean that you are going to want clothes that dry quickly and are lightweight. Sunscreen is a must to protect your skin from the intense sun. Carry an insect repellant just in case a bug might come nipping while you are in the bush or on the Garden Route.

Flying to South Africa in December should be on your bucket list if you want to enjoy a vacation in the sun. Looking for a South Africa itinerary that has everything you want? Why not contact our local travel experts here? They can prepare a customized itinerary for you based on your requirements.

For more inspiration, check out our South Africa tours in December.

More information

South Africa tours in December
Published by Tim Green, updated on May 19, 2023

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