When to Go to South Africa

Show me...

As with all Southern Hemisphere countries, the seasons in South Africa are in reverse, which means you can escape winter in the UK for a summer holiday in South Africa. Having said that, even in winter South Africa promises a fantastic holiday experienceas it's one of the best times to go on a safari. With warm weather never far off, when to go to South Africa depends on the type of experience you want to have. From wildlife watching to beach sunbathing, see our recommendations below.

shutterstock_154176377.jpg

Colourful bathing boxes on St James Beach in Cape Town

Summer: December to February

Warm and sunny, summer is a fantastic time to visit South Africa, particularly Cape Town and the eastern coastline. With temperatures in this part of the country averaging around 20°C (with the potential to heat up to 40°C), this is the best time to enjoy the beaches in South Africa. In terms of a safari, this is considered the wet season with afternoon storms a common occurrence and temperatures unbearably hot in the north and west of the country.

Best places to visit in summer:

  • Cape Town
  • Port Elizabeth

shutterstock_109767494.jpg

A vineyard in the Franschhoek wineland area

Autumn: March to May

If you’d like to experience both the coastline and the countryside in one trip, then autumn is a fantastic time to do so. Offering warm temperatures without the summer crowds along the coastline, temperatures average around 16°C in Cape Town. It’s also a good time to explore the winelands as the foliage changes colour and days are relatively free of rain.

Best places to visit in summer:

  • Northern Cape
  • Stellenbosch
  • The Garden Route

shutterstock_240229663.jpg

Giraffes and zebras by a water hole in Kruger National Park

Winter: June to August

Winter marks the beginning of the dry season for north and central South Africa. While temperatures during this time are cool, they are also dry and thus one of the best times to go on a safari in parks like Kruger National Park. Dry conditions mean local wildlife is more likely to congregate around the water holes, making them much easier to spot. While winter is a great time to go on safari, it’s not the best time to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape with bursts of rain and gusts of wind quite common.

Best places to visit in summer:

  • Kruger National Park
  • Johannesburg
  • Cape Town and Western Cape to see whales

shutterstock_121520044.jpg

Springbok and fawn in wildflowers in South Africa

Spring: September to November

Much like autumn, spring is a great time to visit South Africa to enjoy both the coastline and the national parks. During this time temperatures are mild, which means the conditions are perfect for hiking and seeing wild flowers, particularly in the Northern Cape. Going on a safari is also ideal at this time of year with temperatures reaching up to 29 degrees in Kruger National Park and sightings of new born wildlife common.

Best places to visit in summer:

  • The national parks to see baby animals
  • Northern Cape
  • Cape Town and Western Cape to see whales

For more advice on when to book a South Africa holiday, talk to our Experts today.