Choosing the right time to travel to South Africa can be challenging. South Africa has many different climates depending on the region you visit. From the desert to the Mediterranean and subtropics, South Africa’s climatic conditions are very varied.
The best time to travel to South Africa
Many travellers choose the months of December to January to visit South Africa, which is why it’s peak season. This time of year coincides with the South African summer, perfect for many travellers who seek the temperate climate of the African continent.
On the other hand, South Africa can be said to have a temperate climate, with hot summers and cooler winters. Currents on the east coast, as well as those on the west coast, influence the temperature. Inland in the highlands, the temperature contrasts are more significant.
The Mediterranean climate is in the Western Cape area, with fairly dry and hot summers, and cold and wet winters. Inland, in Johannesburg for example, the climate is quite warm both in winter and in summer. The difference is that during the winter the temperatures drop quite significantly at night.
You’ll find a different, subtropical climate on the eastern coast, with high humidity and more rainfall. In the Northern Cape area, the climate is semi-arid, almost desert.
However, depending on the type of trip and the place you plan to visit, you have to take into account the climate in each region. Thus, if you’re planning on going on safari in the Kruger National Park, it’s best to go in the months of June to October. If you want to visit Cape Verde instead, September to November is the most recommended time. If you plan to take a trip along the Garden Route, October to April will be the most suitable dates. However, keep in mind that December and January are in high demand by most tourists.
So, let’s look at when to travel to South Africa according to the region you want to visit and what you want to do during your trip.
When to travel to South Africa for a safari
The northeast of the country, where the Kruger National Park is located, is the best option to see the big fivein Africa. If you want to see the animals in all their glory, choose the South African winter, i.e. from June to October. These months coincide with the dry season in South Africa, so the animals will move around in search of water and it’s the perfect time to see them.
During these months, the temperature will reach a minimum of 6ºC during the night, and a maximum of 30ºC, especially in October. During the rest of the year, the temperatures are more pleasant, not like in summer, when the thermometer can easily reach 35ºC.
When to travel to Cape Town
Cape Town’s climate is primarily Mediterranean, with warm summers and typically wet winters. On the other hand, the Atlantic Ocean also has a great influence on the climate. The latter means that there are few temperature fluctuations throughout the year.
The rainy season starts at the end of April and lasts until mid-September. October, on the other hand, is a rather dry month, but there are often storms which bring cooler temperatures. In November, the days are sunnier and warmer. December to February is the height of summer in this part of Africa and are the best months to visit.
When to visit Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach is famous for housing over 3000 penguins and is not far from Cape Town. The climate on this beach is therefore temperate and warm, with an average temperature of 17ºC all year round. The hottest and driest month is January, with an average temperature of 21ºC. The wettest is June, and the coldest July, when the temperature drops to 12ºC.
Therefore, the best time to visit Boulders and its penguin colony is during the dry season, between December and February. March can still be a good month to travel to this part of South Africa, as well as November.
When to visit iSimangaliso
To visit this natural park, considered a World Heritage Site, and enjoy its 220 kilometres of wetlands, coral reefs, lakes, and up to five different ecosystems with their corresponding flora and fauna, it’s best to go between April and May, or in November.
Between June and September the rains appear in this area, as in the rest of the country, so travelling to the park during this time is not recommended. The dry season, once again, is the most suitable for the visit.
Travelling to South Africa will always be synonymous with adventure, nature and exceptional landscapes. Choose your dates for an unforgettable trip.