About South Africa
Sara and John say...
The climate across South Africa can’t really be summed up in a word or two. From dazzling sunny beaches to humid savannah; from arid desert to snowy mountains. Its variety suits the diversity of this magnificent Rainbow Nation!
Let’s start in the south. Cape Town enjoys a ‘Mediterranean’ style climate. Summers are sunny and warm, often with a refreshing breeze off the cool sea. From November to March, daytime temperatures typically reach the mid to high 20s Celsius - perfect for sightseeing. And the nights are not too humid. Rainfall is rare. Spring and autumn are also comfortable times to visit and enjoy the flora and fauna on the Garden Route. It’s not until winter when the weather is more markedly cooler and unsettled. More cloud and occasional rain restrict temperatures to the teens most days - especially from June to September. It’s a great time for whale-watching, but nights can get quite chilly.
Heading east along the coast, and the climate gets progressively warmer and more humid. By the time we reach Durban, in KwaZulu Natal, rainfall is much more abundant. But unlike the southern Cape, the wettest period is the summer. Steamy days lift temperatures towards 30 Celsius, culminating in occasional afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Winter, by contrast, is cooler, drier and sunnier. But with temperatures still reaching the low to mid 20s Celsius by day, this can be preferable time to visit for many.
Inland, from the Drakensburg Mountains to the HighVeld, the vast eastern interior of the country enjoys plentiful sunshine through the year, especially through autumn, winter and spring. Most of the rainfall occurs during summer showers and thunderstorms. The altitude means temperatures are lower than one might expect. In Johannesburg, daytime values range from the high 20s Celsius in summer to the high teens in winter, when overnight frost is quite common. And winter snow occurs over the southern mountains.
Journeying north to Kruger National Park? It’s hotter, especially in summer, when high humidity and cloudier skies lead to regular showers, especially from November to March. June to August is the more comfortable time of year. Days are pleasantly warm, but layers will be needed for wildlife-watching in the evening and early mornings.
West across South Africa and the climate turns progressively drier and more arid. Across portions of the Kalahari and Namib deserts, it rarely rains, except for a few summer thunderstorms. Summer heat is intense and dangerous, so visitors will need adequate protection. But the western coast often sees less intense heat, with the cool Benguela current drawing mist in from the sea.
See what we mean by variety? Choose your destination and enjoy!