Best Times to Visit South Africa
Discover the best things to see and do in South Africa whatever the time of year…
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 hike up Table Mountain or escape the rain in one of Cape Town’s many museums, there’s something to enjoy all year round.
At Scott Dunn, our travel experts know the best times to travel to South Africa for a range of different experiences and can help you plan a truly bespoke vacation based on when you want to go. From tips for avoiding peak tourist times to luxury hotel recommendations, let us help you discover the best of South Africa, no matter the time of year.
When is the Best Time to Visit South Africa?
Looking for the best time to visit South Africa to catch a glimpse of your favorite animal on safari? Or maybe you want to know when you should travel to make the most of the sunshine?
Planning when to take a South African vacation depends on what you’d like to see and do while you’re there. From spotting whales along the Garden Route to exploring the Western Cape’s dramatic landscapes, there’s something to enjoy all year round.
Because it’s in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa’s seasons are opposite to the US’, with June, July and August being the main winter months. But, just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean it’s cold; temperatures are typically in the 70s and 80s during this time. Pleasant weather throughout the year makes South Africa a great destination to visit throughout the seasons.
Here are some of our top ways to enjoy South Africa’s stunning natural sites and bustling cities at different times of the year.
Spring in South Africa
While March, April and May make up springtime in the US, these are South Africa’s fall months.
With the rainy season coming to an end, the rivers across South Africa will be full during March and April making this an ideal time for an exhilarating canoe safari along Victoria Falls.
In fact, if you’re trying to find the best time to visit South Africa’s game parks, spring months like April and May are perfect for a traditional safari. Since the summer crowds will have died down and the weather will be warm and dry, national parks like Kruger, Kalahari Gemsbok and Marakele are all fantastic destinations for a springtime safari vacation.
Summer in South Africa
Despite being the height of South Africa’s winter season, July and August are the best times to travel to the West Coast and enjoy the start of the whale watching season. Head to the village of Hermanus along the Garden Route to see magnificent humpback whales migrating to warmer waters.
If you’re in the mood for a summer city break, Cape Town provides the perfect escape from the frequent rainfall during these months, with many restaurants and museums to explore. If you can, plan your visit to coincide with the first Thursday of the month when galleries and museums are open to the public until late.
Fall in South Africa
As temperatures gradually climb, South African spring is a good time to visit inland areas, like Johannesburg, before the summer heat and crowds set it. Discover the history behind South Africa’s famous gold and diamond trade or visit the Apartheid Museum to learn about the country’s political past.
September and October are also good times to visit South Africa to make the most of its natural wonders, coinciding with the blooming of beautiful wildflowers along the West Coast. To really take in this stunning seasonal scenery, why not take part in a unique flower safari and see the flora accompanied by an expert guide?
Winter in South Africa
Fancy some winter sun? A visit during South Africa’s summer months is perfect for enjoying high temperatures and sunny conditions across the country. While attractions will be busy during these peak months, you can beat the crowds by starting your day early or visiting during the week.
The dry and warm weather also means that December and January are the best months to visit South Africa’s north coast. Make the most of the weather by hiking the impressive Drakensburg Mountains or relaxing on one of Durban’s laidback beaches - the choice is yours.
For those asking about the best time to visit South Africa’s wine country, we recommend planning a visit to the Winelands during February, when the vines are heavy with grapes. This is the best time to take in the picturesque vineyards and sample some delicious local wines during your stay.
- Spring in South Africa
- Summer in South Africa
- Fall in South Africa
- Winter in South Africa