Best Time to Visit South Africa

Cape Town (Kemal Kestelli)  [flickr.com]  CC BY-ND 
License Information available under 'Proof of Image Sources'
On this page, you will find information about the climate and the best time to visit South Africa. We created climate tables and charts for the locations of Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban und Port Elizabeth. These contain details about temperatures, precipitation and more.

Furthermore, we analyzed all climate data and provide a recommendation about which months are best to visit South Africa for your holiday.

Climate Overview

Thermometer Symbol 4 °C to 34 °C
Waves Symbol 14 °C to 24 °C
Rainy Cloud Symbol 0.125.31 in (1 – 12 Days of Rain)
Average Annual Temperature is between 16 °C (Johannesburg) and 23 °C (Skukuza)
Show temperatures in degree

Geographical location

At the southern tip of the African continent lies the Republic of South Africa. The country between the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Indian Ocean on the south and southeast coast is home to around 55 million inhabitants.

South Africa’s immediate neighbours are Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The independent kingdom of Lesotho is an enclave completely surrounded by South African territory.

The Republic of South Africa is about three and a half times the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and almost 30 times larger than Switzerland. As large inland areas are sparsely populated, the population density is only about 42 inhabitants per square kilometer (Germany: 228 inhabitants/km²).

Three cities share the status of”capital” of South Africa: the seat of government is in Pretoria (executive), the parliament in Cape Town (legislative) and the Supreme Court (judiciary) in Bloemfontein.

The largest city in the rainbow nation is Johannesburg, in whose metropolitan area around 4.45 million people live.

Climate in South Africa

Cape Point - HDR (Nicolas Raymond)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
License Information available under 'Proof of Image Sources' South Africa is often given a catchy slogan by the tourism industry: “The world united in one country”. And indeed, the cultural, ethnic and scenic diversity is sheer immeasurable. No wonder then that there are also climatic differences between deserts, high mountains, coastal towns, savannahs and rainforests.

The South African winter is from June to August and can offer night frost and snowfall in the mountains.

Most coastal regions and also the larger cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria in the interior register around 20 °C during the day and around 10 °C at night in winter. In the Cape region and the Boland around Cape Town lies the rainy season in winter, with quite cool climate and regular drizzle.

In general, the west coast is cooler and rather humid in winter due to the cooler Benguela current, while the summer months around Cape Town are dry and very warm. The east coast (e.g. Durban, Port Elizabeth) is slightly wetter all year round than the higher inland in the west.

Best Time to Visit South Africa: Overview

JanuaryJan
Good time to traveltime
Limitations for SafariLimitations for Safari
FebruaryFeb
Good time to traveltime
Limitations for SafariLimitations for Safari
MarchMar
Best time to traveltime
perfect on Cape,
good in Kruger
perfect on Cape, good in Kruger
AprilApr
Best time to traveltime
Ideal for round tripsPerf. for Safari
MayMay
Good time to traveltime
Ideal for round tripsPerf. for Safari
JuneJun
perfect for Safari
but Winter
rain on Cape
JulyJul
perfect for Safari
but Winter
rain on Cape
AugustAug
perfect for Safari
but Winter
rain on Cape
SeptemberSep
Best time to traveltime
Ideal for round tripsPerf. for Safari
OctoberOct
Best time to traveltime
Ideal for round tripsPerf. for Safari
NovemberNov
Very good time to traveltime
perfect on Cape,
good in Kruger
perfect on Cape, good in Kruger
DecemberDec
Main SeasonMain Season
but very hot,
rain on Cape

When to go to South Africa?


In principle, South Africa is not a holiday destination for classic seaside holidays, it is rather a real destination where the word “journey” should be emphasized. The variety of landscapes is so inspiring that it would be a pity to experience the South African magic in just one place.

It is correspondingly difficult to answer all-inclusive questions about the best travel time in South Africa. Thanks to the rather mild temperatures, South Africa can be visited all year round anyway, but the tourist high season is between November and mid-April (in the South African summer).

The months of October and November as well as April and May are particularly pleasant. The region around Cape Town is also the most beautiful in summer. Safaris in the national parks are excellent all year round, but this is the best time to travel (see Kruger National Park) in the dry season between May and October.

Best Time to Visit the Regions

Find the best time to visit the regions (South Africa) in the following overview.

LocationBest Time to Travel
Cape TownJanuary, February, March, November, and December
PretoriaApril, May, June, July, August, September, and October
DurbanApril, May, June, July, August, September, and October
Port ElizabethJanuary, February, March, April, and December
SkukuzaMay, June, July, August, September, and October
JohannesburgApril, May, August, September, and October

Climate Charts South Africa

In the following, you will find climate charts for the regions.

Furthermore, there are some charts you can use for quick comparison of climate between the regions.

Show Climate Chart for    

Cape Town

Climate Chart Cape Town
Show temperatures in degree

Pretoria

Climate Chart Pretoria
Show temperatures in degree

Durban

Climate Chart Durban
Show temperatures in degree

Port Elizabeth

Climate Chart Port Elizabeth
Show temperatures in degree

Day Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Night Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Average Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Water Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Precipitation

Hours of Sunshine per Day

Source of Data: German Weather Service (Offenbach) and Wikipedia

Climate Tables South Africa

In the following, you will find some climate tables for South Africa, containing information about Temperatures, Precipitation, Water Temperatures, and Hours of Sunshine.
Show climate table for    

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Cape Town (South Africa)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature26°26°25°23°20°18°17°18°19°21°24°25°
Night Temperature16°16°14°12°11°13°15°
Water Temperature18°19°19°18°17°16°15°14°15°16°17°18°
Precipitation (inch)0.550.630.831.612.683.663.273.031.611.30.630.67
Rainy days3336810997533
Hours of Sunshine1111987667891011
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Cape Town is 16.2 °C.

For comparison: London 11 °C, NYC 12 °C, LA 17.9 °C

Warmest month: January (20.4 °C)
Coldest month: July (11.9 °C)

The maximum water temperature in Cape Town is 19 °C. Comfortable bathing is possible at water temperatures of about 21 °C.

Months with water temperature of at least 17 °C (Limited bathing is possible):
January, February, March, April, May, November, and December

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 20.47 inch on 69 rainy days

For comparison: London 24.06 in, NYC 41.57 in, LA 12.01 in

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

You cannot expect snow in any month in Cape Town.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, January is the sunniest month with an average of 10.9 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 8.5 hours of sunshine per day on average. For comparison: London has 4.1, NYC has 7 and LA has 8.9 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Pretoria (South Africa)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature29°28°27°24°22°19°20°22°26°27°27°28°
Night Temperature18°17°16°13°12°14°16°17°
Precipitation (inch)5.312.993.112.130.510.280.120.20.792.873.944.25
Rainy days11885211126911
Hours of Sunshine88889991010999
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Pretoria is 18.2 °C.

Warmest month: January (22.6 °C)
Coldest month: June (11.5 °C)

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 26.5 inch on 65 rainy days

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

Months that have possible snowfall: June

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, August is the sunniest month with an average of 9.5 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 8.8 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Durban (South Africa)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature28°28°28°26°25°23°23°23°23°24°25°27°
Night Temperature21°21°20°17°14°11°11°13°15°17°18°20°
Water Temperature24°24°24°23°22°21°21°20°21°21°22°23°
Precipitation (inch)5.284.454.962.872.321.11.542.442.873.864.254.02
Hours of Sunshine666778876566
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Durban is 20.6 °C.

Warmest month: February (24.3 °C)
Coldest month: July (16.5 °C)

The maximum water temperature in Durban is 24 °C. You can take a bath at these temperatures.

Months with water temperature of at least 17 °C (Limited bathing is possible):
all months

Months with water temperature of at least 21 °C (adequate for beach vacation):
all except August

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 39.96 inch

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

You cannot expect snow in any month in Durban.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, June is the sunniest month with an average of 7.6 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 6.5 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Port Elizabeth (South Africa)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature25°25°25°23°22°20°20°20°20°21°22°24°
Night Temperature18°18°17°14°12°10°11°13°15°16°
Water Temperature22°22°22°20°19°19°18°18°18°19°20°21°
Precipitation (inch)1.421.572.132.282.322.441.852.522.482.321.931.34
Rainy days557655576775
Hours of Sunshine987777787889
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Port Elizabeth is 17.5 °C.

Warmest month: January (21.3 °C)
Coldest month: July (13.9 °C)

The maximum water temperature in Port Elizabeth is 22 °C. You can take a bath at these temperatures.

Months with water temperature of at least 17 °C (Limited bathing is possible):
all months

Months with water temperature of at least 21 °C (adequate for beach vacation):
January, February, March, and December

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 24.61 inch on 70 rainy days

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

You cannot expect snow in any month in Port Elizabeth.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, December is the sunniest month with an average of 9 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 7.7 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Sights and Highlights


The most frequent types of travel in South Africa are individual round trips by rental car or group trips with tour guides in a bus. The picturesque Garden Route is extremely popular with highlights such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma National Park.

Cape Town with the world-famous Table Mountain, the legendary prison island Robben Island, the neighbouring Cape of Good Hope and the surrounding wine regions should not be missing on any South Africa trip. The Drakensberg Mountains are also a scenic highlight, as is the Kalahari Desert at the Northern Cape.

The most popular safari areas are Kruger National Park and neighbouring private reserves such as the highly recommended Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Pilanesberg, Balule, Madikwe, Timbavati, Hluhluwe and Addo Elephant National Park. The largest national park is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park on the Botswana border.

More information about the best things to do: South Africa | Cape Town

Popular Activities

More attractions

Cape Point and Penguin Explorer Full-Day Tour from Cape Town | Cape Peninsula: Private Full-Day Tour from Cape Town | Table Mountain Cable Car Ticket & Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Combo | South African Winelands Full Day Tour & Tasting | Cape Town: Sunset Catamaran Cruise | South African Winelands Half Day Tour and Tasting | Cape Town: Full-Day Shared Wine Tasting Tour |

Current Weather and Forecast

Current Weather in Pretoria (Station Lynnwood)
few clouds     few clouds, 32.1 °C
Clouds: 20 %       Wind: 9 mph WNW
Air Pressure: 1017 hPa       Humidity: 29 %
Last updated: 19th Dec 2018, 01:00 pm
The next days …
20th Dec 201821st Dec 201822nd Dec 201823rd Dec 201824th Dec 201825th Dec 2018
light rain17 °C to 33 °Clight rain18 °C to 29 °Clight rain18 °C to 31 °Cheavy intensity rain16 °C to 27 °Cheavy intensity rain16 °C to 21 °Cvery heavy rain14 °C to 19 °C
17 °C to 33 °C18 °C to 29 °C18 °C to 31 °C16 °C to 27 °C16 °C to 21 °C14 °C to 19 °C
Clouds: 0 %Clouds: 20 %Clouds: 0 %Clouds: 5 %Clouds: 52 %Clouds: 42 %
0.09 in of rain0.07 in of rain0.03 in of rain0.55 in of rain0.84 in of rain2.81 in of rain
Weather information provided by OpenWeatherMap. (CC BY-SA)
Show temperatures in degree

Important Regions and Cities

We have extended climate information for the following regions:

South Africa: Experiences of our Visitors

There are 16 reviews for South Africa holiday already. Average rating is 4.4 of 5 stars.
  1. Avatar Preview
    Linda, 55 years old was there in March

    Were 14 days in the wine country, on the Garden Route, in the Addo and in the Drakensberg mountains: Mostly sunny and warm, in 2 weeks 3 rainy days, but then continuous rain: Between Wilderness and St. Francis: 1 day of continuous rain. In the middle Drakenberge mountains: 2 days and 3 nights of continuous rain.

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  2. Avatar Preview
    Johan, 55 years old was there in January

    in the north very mild, around 25-28 degrees, a little cooler at night. Gardensroute was also pleasant, except in Oudshoorn. There it was with 44 degrees clearly too hot.

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  3. Avatar Preview
    Annette, 50 years old was there in February

    Great weather, no rain, pleasantly warm.
    South Africa in February/March is recommended!

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  4. Avatar Preview
    Josie, 26 years old was there in February

    The weather was great, we had two rainy days but also very very hot days up to 35 degrees. By rain I mean rather light to medium drizzle. Occasionally it was cloudy.

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  5. Avatar Preview
    Katharina, 28 years old was there in March

    We were at the Cape from the end of February to the beginning of March. It was warm to hot. Had a stormy rainy day at Mossel Bay, otherwise the weather was great.

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  6. Avatar Preview
    Robin, 38 years old was there in November

    We had great weather along the Garden Route in November and especially in the Cape region it was fantastic.

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  7. Avatar Preview
    Kristina , 27 years old was there in November

    Simply super! Just right, maybe a bit too hot for some of us, but it was perfect!

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  8. Avatar Preview
    Rena, 58 years old was there in October

    We had 3 short, soft showers during 3 weeks (until 6.nov). That was in Pretoria, the Hluhluwe and the De Hoop. Otherwise cloudy from time to time, but mostly sunny and warm. In the Klein Karoo a good 35 degrees, also around St.Lucia. The 4 days we spent in Cape Town were dry, sunny and around 25 degrees.

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  9. Avatar Preview
    Kerstin Hütter, 24 years old was there in May

    Probably one should look at Africa in every season, so that one really gets every weather 🙂
    I was from the beginning of May to the beginning of July and even saw a lot of heat, cold, rain and storm and not only from the weather 🙂
    Especially in May you have summery days and in the evening it has pleasant temperatures to sit outside and when it gets cold, you just make a campfire 🙂
    You just have to make the best of every situation and enjoy being in this beautiful country! 🙂

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  10. Avatar Preview
    Ulla , 54 years old was there in October

    Weather in Cape Town and Wine Country was great,
    Wild Coast beautiful, but with single showers

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  11. Avatar Preview
    Olaf, 50 years old was there in October

    1, sunny, dreamlike, not too cold, suitable, everything blossomed. Couldn’t have been better

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  12. Avatar Preview
    Hans Herberg , 65 years old was there in November

    The weather corresponded to the respective geographical location. In the East there was a great drought

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

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South Africa: A thrilling experience

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