When is the Best Time to Visit South Africa?

Discover the best things to see and do in South Africa all year round…

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Best time to visit

South Africa has a pleasant climate all year long, but the weather can vary depending on where and when you go. Whether you want to take a sunny drive through the Garden Route or check out Cape Town’s wonderful restaurants, there’s something to enjoy no matter the time of year.

At Scott Dunn, our travel experts know the best times to go to South Africa for all kinds of different experiences and can help you plan a truly bespoke holiday based on when you want to travel. From crowd-avoiding tricks to the best months for safari in South Africa, let us help you discover all that this amazing country has to offer throughout the seasons.

Monthly Climate Guide for South Africa

, South Africa

Average temperatures (Celsius) and rainfall (mm)

Jan
33°C 17mm
Feb
33°C 5mm
Mar
31°C 6mm
Apr
30°C 7mm
May
28°C 9mm
Jun
25°C 12mm
Jul
24°C 12mm
Aug
26°C 11mm
Sep
29°C 13mm
Oct
30°C 5mm
Nov
29°C 4mm
Dec
32°C 3mm
Jan
33°C 3mm
Feb
35°C 3mm
Mar
34°C 4mm
Apr
34°C 5mm
May
32°C 2mm
Jun
29°C 2mm
Jul
28°C 3mm
Aug
31°C 3mm
Sep
31°C 3mm
Oct
31°C 4mm
Nov
29°C 4mm
Dec
33°C 3mm
Jan
32°C 4mm
Feb
34°C 3mm
Mar
33°C 7mm
Apr
34°C 4mm
May
32°C 3mm
Jun
28°C 3mm
Jul
27°C 3mm
Aug
29°C 4mm
Sep
33°C 5mm
Oct
32°C 5mm
Nov
31°C 4mm
Dec
32°C 3mm
Jan
33°C 17mm
Feb
32°C 16mm
Mar
34°C 12mm
Apr
32°C 8mm
May
29°C 2mm
Jun
29°C 1mm
Jul
29°C 2mm
Aug
32°C 2mm
Sep
35°C 3mm
Oct
36°C 6mm
Nov
34°C 11mm
Dec
35°C 14mm
Jan
32°C 9mm
Feb
31°C 10mm
Mar
30°C 8mm
Apr
28°C 5mm
May
25°C 1mm
Jun
25°C 1mm
Jul
23°C 2mm
Aug
26°C 1mm
Sep
31°C 2mm
Oct
32°C 4mm
Nov
32°C 6mm
Dec
32°C 9mm
Jan
34°C 15mm
Feb
34°C 26mm
Mar
32°C 16mm
Apr
31°C 10mm
May
29°C 5mm
Jun
28°C 2mm
Jul
27°C 4mm
Aug
31°C 3mm
Sep
33°C 6mm
Oct
33°C 10mm
Nov
33°C 12mm
Dec
34°C 16mm
Jan
37°C 4mm
Feb
35°C 6mm
Mar
35°C 8mm
Apr
32°C 2mm
May
29°C 0mm
Jun
28°C 0mm
Jul
27°C 0mm
Aug
32°C 0mm
Sep
36°C 0mm
Oct
37°C 1mm
Nov
38°C 2mm
Dec
37°C 4mm
Jan
38°C 5mm
Feb
36°C 7mm
Mar
34°C 10mm
Apr
32°C 4mm
May
28°C 1mm
Jun
26°C 1mm
Jul
25°C 1mm
Aug
29°C 1mm
Sep
34°C 1mm
Oct
36°C 1mm
Nov
37°C 2mm
Dec
36°C 4mm
Jan
35°C 14mm
Feb
35°C 1mm
Mar
35°C 8mm
Apr
32°C 5mm
May
29°C 7mm
Jun
26°C 10mm
Jul
25°C 11mm
Aug
25°C 9mm
Sep
29°C 6mm
Oct
32°C 5mm
Nov
32°C 2mm
Dec
32°C 2mm

Because it’s in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa’s seasons are opposite to Europe’s, with June, July and August being the main winter months. However, just because it’s winter, that doesn’t mean the weather in South Africa is cold; temperatures are typically in the high 20s during this time, especially in the northern parts of the country around Johannesburg. The Western Cape may get some rainfall during the winter, while inland regions are often dry.

In the summer months (December to February), temperatures soar, averaging around 30-37°C nationwide. This is the rainy season in northeastern regions like KwaZulu Natal, while the southwest remains relatively dry and it’s the peak tourist season for Cape Town and around.

Shoulder seasons spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are the best times to visit South Africa in our opinion. The transition between seasons brings pleasant temperatures which hover around mid-20s to mid-to-high 30s, and little rainfall, making it perfect for outdoor activities, beach time, and wildlife safaris. You can also combine safari adventures in the north and exploring Cape Town or the Garden Route in the south while getting the best weather throughout.

South Africa: A Seasonal Overview

The best time to travel to South Africa depends on what you’d like to see and do. From spotting game in the national parks to exploring the Western Cape’s dramatic beaches, there’s something to enjoy all year long.

Here are some of our top ways to enjoy South Africa’s stunning natural sites and bustling cities throughout the year.

Wildlife Watching in South Africa

The best months to visit South Africa for wildlife watching are between May and September, which make up the dry, winter season. During this type of weather, animals gather around waterholes, making spotting them easier in national parks like Kruger, Marakele and Kalahari national parks.

South Africa’s whale watching season also falls within this time and is a particular highlight when visiting. Along the coast, from June to November, you’ll see the incredible animals as they migrate to South Africa’s warmer waters from the Antarctic. A trip to Hermanus, along the Garden Route or the Eastern Cape between June and September, will give you front-row seats to the unforgettable show. However, you can still see whales right up to December. If you’re planning a honeymoon to South Africa, we’d recommend going between June and September.

Exploring South Africa’s Coastal and Wine Regions

South Africa’s wine region flourishes during the harvest season, which is usually between February and April. The weather in South Africa in February, in particular, offers up gorgeous hot days, which are even more inviting during the British winter. So, as well as being a hive of activity, the beautiful sunshine makes Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl look their best and creates a perfect setting for tasting the delicious wines and incredible food that the areas are known for.

Meanwhile, coastal exploration around Cape Town and the Garden Route is best enjoyed during the warm months of September to April. While the beaches in South Africa are beautiful, they are often windy, and the water is rough. Instead, these regions offer abundant opportunities to be amongst wildlife and explore stunning nature reserves. Visit the Cape Peninsula to marvel at penguins on Boulders Beach or encounter seals at Hout Bay. Further along the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna beckon with rugged coastlines and dense forests, providing ideal settings for hiking and birdwatching.

Meet our South Africa Experts

Our team of specialists are waiting to help you book your next adventure. Contact us today to start planning your tailor-made trip.

Best Time to Visit South Africa FAQs

  • How many days do you need in South Africa?

    We’d recommend going to South Africa for no less than a week and up to two weeks to see more than one destination. For a trip to Cape Town and the Winelands, a week gives you enough time to see the city and spend a few days wine tasting. For a trip that combines beach or city and safari, you’d need at least 10 days as travel is likely to include an internal flight.

  • When is the best time to visit South Africa and Mauritius?

    The best time to visit South Africa and Mauritius is between May and October. Mauritius has its rainy season between January and April, so this avoids the wet weather in both countries.

  • When is the best time to visit South Africa and Kenya?

    If you’re hoping to travel to South Africa and Kenya at the same time, we’d recommend going between July and October. Warm, sunny days in both countries make the weather ideal for safari, and you’ll catch the Great Migration in Kenya between August and October.

  • When is the best time to visit South Africa and Zimbabwe?

    Zimbabwe and its iconic Victoria Falls are at their best between April and June, so the best time to go to South Africa and Zimbabwe is during these months. Both countries will be hot but not too hot and out of rainy seasons.

Call us on 020 3468 1971 to start planning your holiday

Plan your South Africa trip today
Plan your South Africa trip today

Our team of travel specialists are waiting to help you book your next adventure.

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