South Africa

When to go to South Africa

The best time to go to South Africa

Overall, South Africa has a fairly agreeable climate year-round with a good amount of sunshine and Austral seasons which run opposite to the northern hemisphere. Wildlife safaris, the garden route and whale watching for example all have their own distinct optimum times when planning your trip. Below we have highlighted some of the key regions, but generally speaking the seasons may be summarised as follows:

Spring - September & October
Summer - November - February
Autumn - March & April
Winter - June - August

The best time to visit will depend largely on what you wish to achieve while you’re there and where specifically you want to go, as it is a vast country.

When to go

Click on a month to gain an overview of South Africa's weather across the country. This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather.

when to go by Region

Northern, Central & East

This area, including the key wildlife destinations of Kruger National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve, experiences summer rainfall, with long, hot summers that are punctuated by short, sharp thunderstorms, with an average daily temperature of 28 – 35 .  The rains ensure that the landscape is verdant allowing for sustenance for an abundance of wildlife. The northern interior of the country is generally the driest, with much of the landscape semi-arid desert. Those looking for a safari in Kruger and the surrounding game reserves, should consider planning a visit during the drier months from May to October, as the visibility is far better (particularly from August), with more predictable game movements as animals congregate at the water holes.

The KwaZulu-Natal and Wild Coast regions enjoy more of a sub-tropical climate, with humid summers along the coast and more rain during these months than the winter months, which can be fine and warm in the daytime, with cooler evenings.

Cape Region & Garden Route

These winter rainfall areas are usually much greener in winter and less so in the summer months, and have a climate that is sometimes compared with the South of France, with summer months between October and April. The late summer months of February to April can be an ideal time to visit, when conditions are dry and less windy, whilst the winter months from May to September are usually the wetter months, with lower average temperatures. However, if you want to enjoy whale watching off the Cape coast, this is best between July and October.

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