South Africa

South Africa in January

South Africa in January: Weather and where to go

January sees the peak of South Africa’s summer season. This brings hot, humid temperatures and particularly heavy rainfall. These are usually torrential downpours in the afternoons so it is still possible to enjoy morning and evening safaris when the weather permits.

Temperatures on the Indian Ocean side (east coast) are especially warm and the humidity may be uncomfortable for some. However, the Indian Ocean has a warm current which makes swimming pleasant year-round.

Kruger National Park should be somewhat quieter than in December as the South African school holidays will have finished. However, due to the winter rainfall, wildlife will be more difficult to see through the thick, verdant bush. 

Of course, landscapes will be lush and flora in bloom which will make landscape photography stunning.

Most big cats will be best spotted during the cooler morning and evening drives as lions, leopards and cheetahs are likely to head into the cool shade of the bush during the daytime heat. Daytime temperatures usually average around 28-35°C and despite heavy rainfall, South African summer months do have sunny spells.

Warm evenings create the perfect ambience for sundowners and the clear skies at this time allows South African sunsets to portray amazing arrays of pinks and reds.

Cape Town and Port Elizabeth will be pleasant during the summer months as although their temperatures are slightly cooler than Kruger, their rainfall averages are much lower.

The streets of Cape Town come alive on the 2nd January for Kaapse Klopse, their Second New Year, with locals wearing bright outfits and singing traditional songs. 

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