South Africa: Weather & When to Go

Bear in mind that South Africa, being a large country like the USA, has varied climatic conditions so one cannot easily generalise about the weather.  However within that context, summer in South Africa can be summarised as lasting from November to March. It is generally hot, often with convection thundershowers in the late afternoon in the northern areas (but not in Cape Town) which clear quickly to reveal pleasant evenings.

Durban can be very humid during summer unlike Cape Town.

Autumn or fall in South Africa is April to May. It is generally warm and dry with days getting shorter and the temperature cooling as it gets closer to winter.

Winter in South Africa is June to August. It is generally dry and cool, with snow falling in the mountainous regions. The Cape is however wet as it gets most of its rain in winter being a Mediterranean climate.

September to October is springtime and the weather can be good, although rain is common. 


Best time for various activities: 

The best time for beach weather is late spring to early autumn. Mid summer has the hottest weather, but is also the busiest time. Kwa Zulu Natal is the best place to spend a beach holiday in winter because of the Mozambican current flowing down the Eastern Coast.

Namaqualand flowers in the Western and Northern Cape are best seen in spring.

Whale watching season is from June to the end of October. The best seasons for hiking are spring and autumn as the weather is the mildest.  Summer can be very hot and have violent thunderstorms in the northern parts whilst winter snow can be found on the mountain ranges in the Cape. 

Most people agree that winter is the best time to go on Safari as the foliage is sparse and the animals are easier to spot.