When is the best safari season to visit South Africa?
South Africa’s weather varies widely across the country depending on elevation, landscape and time of year, but generally the country has a moderate climate with long sunny days, and with the exception of the arid north, daytime summer temperatures rarely reach over 35° Centigrade (95° Fahrenheit) and winter temperatures seldom below 0° Centigrade (32° Fahrenheit)
When contemplating a visit to South Africa, it is important to note that the summer months of December and January are the busiest months for tourism and therefore when reservations should be made well in advance for the popular areas. Many of the other shoulder travel periods offer fantastic weather, reduced rates and less crowds and should also be strongly considered when deciding when to travel in South Africa.
Most of the nine provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape, which experiences winter rainfall. The high-lying areas of the interior can be chilly in winter, but not comparable to the cold winters of the northern hemisphere.
South Africa is as big as it is diverse. Due to this, the weather may vary depending on the region you'll be visiting. For your convenience, here is our regional breakdown of weather in South Africa and when we consider it the best time to visit.
Cape Town: weather and climate advice
Cape Town’s winter is rather wet compared to the rest of the country. This usually runs from June to August and temperatures range anywhere between 7-20° C (44-68° F). Most visitors opt to travel in the warmer months of between November and March where temperatures average 25° C (77° F).
Johannesburg: weather and climate advice
Johannesburg remains sunny year round making it ideal for travel throughout the year. Winters experience sunny, cool days and cold nights and temperatures usually average around 16° C (60° F). However, for vacationing, we highly recommend travel between September to April when temperatures average 21° C (69° F).
KwaZulu Natal: weather and climate advice
KwaZulu Natal is the sunshine province and beach goers’ paradise. Thanks to its year round sunshine, travelers can enjoy almost 365 beach days. Actually, a popular time to visit would be between June and August in the winter when temperatures average around 20° C (68° F). However, do be warned that summers are quite warm and humid with averages around 28° C (82° F) excluding humidity.
Kruger National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve: weather and climate advice
For those wanting to safari in Kruger National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve, the drier May to October months are most ideal. Although the weather in these South African parks remain warm throughout the year (some days reaching over 25° C and 77° F), winter means that the vegetation has thinned out slightly making game viewing easy to do. Also, due to the lack of rain in these months, large herds are often congregated around the watering holes.
Does the weather in South Africa have you dreaming of sunny skies and thunder showers? Contact us today to book a vacation that combines the best time to visit this remarkable country.