Cape Town’s peak tourism season runs parallel with the dry summer months when temperatures range between 28 –29°C (82 – 84°F). Early sunrises and late sunsets, make for long daylight hours (13.5 – 14 hrs) that provide ample opportunity to spend time outdoors, allowing you to soak-up the glorious views from the cable-car on Table Mountain, or a lengthy lunch on a wine farm, on the outskirts of the city.
Nearly all the summer activities available in the Cape are open in the wetter winter months from June to August, but are governed by the weather of the day. These months bring the rains in the form of intermittent cold fronts and temperatures that sit between 20 – 22°C (68 – 71°F), providing the perfect opening to enjoy the cosy atmosphere of a countryside restaurant with a fireplace. Whale season in the Cape is from the end July to October, where the gentle Southern Right whales arrive to mate & calve, and can be spotted swimming close to the shore at numerous locations along the Cape coast including the sea-side town of Hermanus.
KwaZulu-Natal is a province situated on the south-eastern coastline of South Africa. It is a region known for its lengthy stretch of beaches, vast fields of sugar cane and diverse, yet complex topography. Generally, the climate in this region is varied with the coast experiencing subtropical temperatures that get progressively colder towards the inland areas. The wet summer season is the best time to visit the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal as temperatures are high, the vegetation green and water-based activities are in abundance.
During the midst of summer, average day-time temperatures range between 29 – 30°C (84 – 86°F) with the presence of afternoon thunderstorms often offering a cool relief to families who flock to the east coast for their annual festive vacation. The drier winter months on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline are not as busy, but are perfect for swimming and surfing, as the warm Agulhas current ensures that the waters in this region stay swimmable for most months of the year. Although very little rain is expected, the average day-time temperatures during these drier months range between 24 – 26°C (75 – 78°F), making it a beautiful and sunny destination to visit year-round. Every year, from June-July, a natural phenomenon known as the Sardine Run takes place along this coastline. Here shoals of sardines come into close proximity of the shore, attracting sharks, gannets, dolphins and of course people, all wanting to capitalize on this bounty.
The Drakensburg is the name of the eastern section of South Africa’s Great Escarpment, which forms the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the kingdom of Lesotho. With a range of nature-based activities, wide-open spaces and fantastic birdlife, the Drakensburg Mountains are the best place to be for all outdoor enthusiasts.
The best time to visit depends on what activities you wish to do and sights you hope to see. Springtime in the Drakensburg amphitheatre is filled with contrasting colours of flowers and day-time temperatures that sit between 12 - 20°C (53 – 68°F), making hiking this region a pleasurable and memorable experience. The wet summer season in the Drakensburg, sees hot and humid days, with average temperatures sitting in the high 20°C’s (70°F), with the occasional late afternoon thundershower cooling the landscape down. The plant and birdlife tend to thrive during this time of year as flocks of Drakensberg Rockjumpers, Drakensberg Siskins, Cape Parrots and the rare Blue Swallows can be seen throughout. The months of autumn (April-May) are optimal for higher and longer hikes, as conditions are comfortable and views are extraordinary. Winter in the Drakensburg Mountains means extreme weather conditions with temperatures that range between 9°C (48°F) during the day, to -3°C (26°F) overnight. Snow is likely to fall on some of the higher peaks during these months, however, the cool dry air and lack of rain will unlikely hinder any outdoor activities as it is the driest season of the year.
Kruger Park Area
The bushveld region of the Kruger National Park is one of the most beautiful attractions that South Africa has to offer. Situated in the north-eastern section of the country, the Kruger is home to an abundance of plant and animal life and several major rivers, including the Sabie, Olifants and Limpopo River.
The best time to visit South Africa for a Kruger Park Safari, is during the dry winter months, as the vegetation begins to thin out, creating high visibility and ultimately, excellent game-viewing opportunities. Due to the lack of rainfall over the winter period, the surface water is limited, making animal movements more predictable and all the more easier for spotting. Winter evenings in the Kruger are cool and crisp, while days are warm and pleasant as temperatures range between 26 – 29°C (78- 84°F). Safari lodges in the Kruger Park also offer a variety of specials during this time, adding to the area’s charm. Although summer in the Kruger brings with it sweltering temperatures, lush, green vegetation and higher rainfall, the visibility tends to be lower as animals and birds become more dispersed and the constant need to congregate around waterholes, begins to reduce.
The Garden Route is a pristine area on the South African coast that stretches from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. Summer is an excellent time to visit this region as days are long (13.5-14 hours) and temperatures range between 28 – 29°C (82- 84°F).
There are a variety of activities to do on this 300km route, including Malaria-free Big 5 safaris, forests walks, whale and dolphin watching at a number of stunning beaches and lagoons, as well as golf courses and the Tsitsikamma swing bridge. During the month of March, in the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn, the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival takes place. This is a major event that attracts both locals and travellers alike as it presents a combination of good food, art and music. Winter on the Garden route is also an option that sees average day-time temperatures range between 22 – 25°C (71 – 77°F). These months are great for shark-cage diving at Gaansbaai (2.5 hrs from Cape Town) as the underwater visibility is at its best, while the famous Knysna Oyster Festival takes place annually in July, promising everything from fun fairs, sporting events, wine tasting and of course oyster shucking competitions.
Regardless of the season in which you travel to South Africa, there will always be dozens of attractions in their prime. We’ll help you to plan an itinerary that takes in the best that the areas and seasons have!