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South Africa is an incredibly diverse country — one that has escaped the notice of many a traveler in the past. From the extremely cosmopolitan Cape Town, to the raw natural beauty of the Karoo Desert, South Africa is chock–full of adventures waiting to be had. It’s a tourist destination for almost everybody — from nature enthusiasts, to history buffs. This is a country that can be visited round the year, thanks to its varied weather conditions — so all you have to do is decide what kind of weather you wish to experience. Want to know what is the best time to visit South Africa for the adventures you want to partake in? Read on to find out!
- Best time to visit: April – May, September – October
- High Tourist Season: November – March
- Low Season: June – August
- All Seasons: April – May (fall), June – August (winter), September – October (spring), November – March (summer)
- The ideal time to visit South Africa depends on what you want to do, but the months of best weather in South Africa is between April – May, September – October, when the temperature is really pleasant, and perfect for outdoor activities.
- The high season in South Africa is between November and March. Safaris and national parks will be especially busy during this season as its holiday season in South Africa.
- The low season is between April – September, but this is the best time for wildlife watching in Kruger and other wildlife parks.
- June to August have the worst weather, in the sense that it gets quite cold during the day and at night.
South Africa is a diverse and beautiful country with a lot to offer. Whether you want to explore the unique urban life in Cape Town, or head to the stunning Kruger National Park, or the stunning coast of KwaZulu Natal, your plate will be full of exploration. South Africa has a unique cultural history and people, so you will definitely return from your travels a changed person.
South Africa is quite a large country — it is the size of France and Spain combined! This means that there are some variations on the best time to go on a South Africa tour. It would depend on what you would like to do, and spend your time. Broadly speaking, you can divide the weather in South Africa in two: dry season from May – September, and wet season from October – April. Within these months, there would be variations depending on which part of the country you’re visiting and what kind of weather you wish to enjoy!
April to May – Fall / Good Season
This is one of the best seasons to visit the country. The weather in South Africa is rather beautiful during these months. There is enough sunshine, and the weather is not too cold and is quite dry. You won’t have too much trouble traversing between regions. The evenings might get a little chilly, but it is definitely bearable. The crowds are quite low during this season, especially from the end of April, so your tickets and accommodation would also be cheaper.
- Avg. Temperature: 74 – 77° F / 23 – 25° C (in Cape Town)
- Rainfall: 26 – 62 mm
- Season: Fall
- Highlights: This is one of the best seasons for you to go animal spotting, or on a safari. The crowd would be low, so you will be able to camp out with ease as well. This is a good time to travel to South Africa, if you want to go to Kruger, Pilanesberg, or KwaZulu–Natal, as the animal watching will be made easy by the animals gathering around watering holes. This is also perfect weather for hiking in the Drakensberg region. Cape Town natives consider the best season to visit the city as well!
June to August – Winter / Low Season
June is mid–winter in South Africa. It’s a sunny country, but the weather can be rather cold. This is the middle of the dry season so there will be little to no rain across the country (except in Cape Town). The winter is quite cold, especially in Western Cape, and the Winelands. This is considered to be the low season in the country, so you will not find many tourists during this period. You will get cheaper accommodation and travel prices during this period.
- Avg. Temperature: 64 – 70° F / 18 – 21° C (in Cape Town)
- Rainfall: 73 – 120 mm
- Season: Winter
- Highlights: Winter is considered to be a low season for tourism, but you can visit South Africa if you want to spot wild animals. This is the best season for spotting game, as it is the peak of the dry season, so most animals congregate around the few watering holes. For a unique experience during this season, go to the Whale Coast– at Hermanus and Plettenburg Bay in the southwest to spot a number of whales– especially towards the end of the season. KwaZulu Natal Park has the best weather during this season too!
September to October – Spring / Good Season
September is the beginning of the wet season in the country, but the weather is still rather pleasant. It will be a little cold in the Western Cape, but it starts to get warmer towards the end of the season. September is the beginning of spring in most parts of the country – and along with spring, comes the birthing months for the animals in the safari.
- Avg. Temperature: 69 – 75° F / 21 – 24° C (in Cape Town)
- Rainfall: 14 – 51 mm
- Season: Spring
- Highlights: September is the beginning of spring, so you should definitely head towards Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, or West Coast, where the flowers start to carpet entire stretches of land. This is the best time to visit different regions together. You can watch the flowers, or head to Hermanus for the whale watching festival, as well. The safaris will offer an interesting experience, for this will be the birthing season for a lot of animals.
November to February – Summer / High Season
November to February is high season in South Africa. This is when most of the tourists come to the country, and the local holidays fall during this season. The weather starts becoming warmer during these months, and it might begin to rain as well. There might be some tropical rainstorms, especially in the national park regions.
December can be quite a hectic month, especially due to the school holidays. The prices will go up during this period, so make sure you book your tickets and accommodation well in advance.
- Avg. Temperature: 80 – 90° F / 27 – 32° C (in Cape Town)
- Rainfall: 9 – 30 mm
- Season: Summer
- Highlights: This is the best time to visit South Africa if you want to experience the country in its full vibrancy – with people from all walks of life flocking to the several national parks and Cape Town. It is best to avoid Drakensberg Mountains, Kruger National Park as it will be stifling and raining. If you want to experience the culture of KwaZulu Natal, go to the Battlefields in January, when the anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana and Rorke Drift are celebrated.
Travelling to South Africa? Chat with a local travel specialist in South Africa who can help organize your trip.
Victoria Erskine Travel Expert in Kenya & South Africa
Jammie Davids Travel Expert in Namibia & South Africa
Mbali Makhoba Travel Expert in South Africa