South Africa

Best time to visit South Africa

South Africa's.

arrow pointing down

An all year round destination.

South Africa stands out as a genuine year-round travel with incredible experiences on offer across the country from January to December. Being such a large country, with weather patterns dictated by both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the mighty Drakensberg Mountains and the Kalahari Desert, where to go and when is greatly influenced by the experiences that you are looking for.

When planning, it is worth bearing in mind that South Africa is in the southern hemisphere so if you are planning your trip from the UK or USA, their seasons are the opposite of ours with summer falling between Dec-Feb.

Below is a broad guide of where to visit when

  • The Western Cape, which includes Cape Town, The Winelands and The Garden Route is best visited in the South African summer between October and March when its Mediterranean climate is at its best.
  • The beautiful province of KwaZulu Natal, home to the Drakensberg Mountains, a stunning coastline and historic battlefields such as Rorke’s Drift and Spioenkop is better in the cooler winter and spring months.
  • The mighty Kruger National Park is superb all year round, but can experience high temperatures and rain in the summer (the UK's winter) so this is worth bearing in mind. The game-viewing is excellent in the cooler winter months (May to September).

Ultimately, whilst these seasonal variations in weather are something to bear in mind, they aren’t ever something to put you off visiting South Africa at any point of the year. Visiting certain areas, especially Cape Town, out of their “busy season” can mean greatly reduced prices, as well as far easier access to attractions and restaurants that are booked out many months in advance during the summer.

Whether you have a specific plan of what to do in South Africa and need help on when is best to enjoy it, or are looking to make the most of a defined time when you can travel, our expert team are here to help and put the perfect trip together. Our month-to-month guide should help as a starting point, giving you an idea of what you can enjoy throughout the year in the Rainbow Nation.

Scroll down for our full month by month guide.

Speak to a South Africa expert today

Start planning your dream holiday

  • Alistair

    Alistair

    South Africa Specialist

  • Peter

    Peter

    South Africa Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715

Paternoster Beach In The Western Cape

January

The start of the year sees amazing celebrations throughout the country, not least in Cape Town which is usually hosting some international cricket at the iconic Newlands Cricket Ground. The Western Cape is warm and generally dry, although beaches around Cape Town and along The Garden Route are very busy with South African holiday makers enjoying some sunshine in the first week of the month before heading back to work. Visitors in the know love to head up to the beautiful Cape West Coast for slightly quieter beaches and amazing weather. Although rainy at this time, the Kruger Park is a spectacular sea of green and especially popular with birders.

Winelands South Africa

Feburary

Summer extends deep into February and it is arguably the best month for weather across the country. The Winelands towns of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch enjoy their annual wine harvest in February which makes it a wonderful time to visit, especially if you are lucky enough to get access to the fabled Cape Wine Auction. This is the perfect time for enjoying the beaches of KwaZulu Natal, whilst the easing of the summer heat means visitors to The Battlefields can enjoy some amazing days out and hikers can have an easier experience of the Drakensberg Mountains and KwaZulu Natal Safaris are also hugely enjoyable.

16 Timeless Southern Africa

March

The noticeable drop in visitor numbers doesn’t quite get matched by a drop off in the weather and Cape Town becomes a much calmer place, so day trips down to Cape Town, through the Constantia Valley and up the West Coast are altogether a more laid-back experience.

The easing of the summer rains makes this a great time to be up in the Kruger Region, with the grasses still lush and green from the summer rains and the plains game tending to their newborn making for amazing predator sightings as they search for easy meals. For anyone looking to combine South Africa with some time on the beach, Mauritius and Mozambique start to become great spots to visit from March onwards.

Penguins Cape Town

April

April heralds a distinct changing of the seasons across South Africa, with temperatures dropping and the threat of summer rain subsiding dramatically across the country. Of course, there are still warm and sunny days to enjoy, especially on the beaches around Cape Town which makes it a popular Easter holiday retreat for visitors from around the world. The Garden Route becomes much quieter than in preceding months so perfect for those who want to explore and escape the crowds. Likewise, the dropping temperatures make it a great time to visit the Drakensberg Mountains.

Drakensberg

May

There is definitely a feel winter is in the air once May arrives, although the Cape still has amazingly warm and sunny days, albeit with some rainy ones and the Winelands are a genuine pleasure to visit with wineries more accessible having recovered from the busy summer months. The Kruger Park is also a delight, with the dry conditions starting to thin the bush out meaning better animal sightings. Keen walkers and hikers will revel in the cool, dry conditions in the Drakensberg Mountains whilst the beaches around Durban remain warm and a blessing for sun-seekers looking to relax at the end of a trip.

Drakensberg

June

One of South Africa’s most celebrated sporting events, the Comrades Marathon, takes place in June each year. Covering a 90km route between Durban on the coast and Pietermaritzburg in the foothills of the Drakensberg, it is the ultimate celebration of endurance running and attracts entrants from all over the world. Alternating between uphill and downhill each year it is definitely one for the bucket list. Elsewhere the onset of winter means cool conditions across the country and dry ones away from the coast, although visitors to the coastal areas should expect more rainy than sunny days. This is the start of the safari season in neighbouring Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Leopard In Kruger

July

Undoubtedly the quietest month for visits to South Africa, July means generally low prices, a lack of queues and some amazing experiences for those who don’t mind things being a little quieter. You can enjoy some incredible safari experiences in the Kruger in July, with the dry conditions meaning wildlife congregates around waterholes and remaining active throughout the day owing to the lack of stifling heat. The evening and mornings are however chilly! Although not a premium time to visit Cape Town, it can be very worthwhile, especially if you are looking to be active and explore away from the city centre.

Babylonstoren Landscape

August

Springtime in South Africa is heralded by the Western Cape being blanketed in a dazzling array of wild flowers, especially around the Cape West Coast and in the breathtaking Cederberg Mountains. Definitely an experience to book well in advance as accommodation space is limited and it is a hugely popular spot with international visitors and locals alike. More intrepid visitors may wish to venture up to the Northern Cape, towards the borders with Namibia and Botswana, where you can spot desert wildlife, enjoy amazing sunrises and sunsets, as well as enjoying incredible sightings of the mighty Augrabies Falls.

Leopard  Kruger

September

As spring moves on the days get warmer, but it remains an amazing time for wildlife viewing in the Kruger, KwaZulu Natal and in the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province. The legacy of the long, dry winter in these areas is a lack of vegetation, meaning animals are much easier to spot, whilst the absence of water means wildlife is driven to particular areas where they know there is surface water meaning amazing sightings ensue. Hikers can enjoy warmer temperatures as they explore the mighty Drakensberg Mountains with the dramatic backdrop of white-capped tall peaks, a legacy of the winter snows.

One Only Cape Town Location

October

One of our favourite months to be in Cape Town as temperatures rise dramatically and the city gears itself up for summer and the locals enjoy the last few weeks of having the city to themselves until autumn. The same goes for The Winelands which are spectacular at this time of year, with alfresco lunches beneath shady trees followed by lazy afternoons at the swimming pool a hugely popular past time. This is the last month of the year when it you get reliable dry weather up in the Kruger, as well as being the best time for KwaZulu Natal exploration and safaris. All-in-all, October may be the best all-around month for visiting South Africa, although this is of course a matter of opinion.

Luxury Food Wine Tour Cape Town Winelands And Safari 2

November

The whole country is gearing up towards peak season and hotels, guesthouses and lodges are noticeably busier as the month draws on. Cape Town basks in the summer sunshine and the winds don’t tend to get up too much in November, which is a big attraction, although further north on the Cape West Coast they do making it a great time for wind sport enthusiasts. Elsewhere Johannesburg starts to become quieter as locals depart for their summer holidays, meaning it is a great time visit if you want to explore the city without traffic, busy hotels and restaurants. Safari-goers in the Kruger enjoy lower visitors numbers with the pay off of a bit of rain every now and then, but nothing that should trouble an ardent wildlife watcher.

Sunset Over Table Mountain

December

An undoubtedly popular time to be in South Africa as summer reaches its nadir. Those in the know avoid the busy Christmas and New Year period, opting instead for the first two weeks of December when visitors seem to stay away and the amazing weather is complemented by quiet hotels and attractions, making it a great time visit. The second half of the month is incredibly popular and busy wherever you go, so if you do want a special trip over Christmas it is worth booking well in advance (we recommend over a year) and being prepared for higher hotel, lodge and flight prices as operators seek to cash in on the seemingly endless demand for Christmas in South Africa, especially in the Cape.

Far & Wild Customer Reviews

Find out what our customers think of their adventures!

Read all reviews

A real trip of making memories

Heidi & Family travelled to Malawi in July 2018 on a trip organised by .

A Family Selfie In  Majete

Excellent service from start to finish

Sam & Nick travelled to Kenya in February 2019 on a trip organised by Ben.

Sam And Nick On Honeymoon In Kenya

First class travel company

Kathy & Family travelled to Kenya and Mauritius in July 2018 on a trip organised by .

On Holiday At  Il  Moran

An amazing experience showcasing the sights in India

Karen, Judy & Rachel travelled to India in August 2019 on a trip organised by .

Our brief was 'Unknown Adventure' and they delivered!

Michael & Teresa travelled to São Tomé and Príncipe in December 2018 on a trip organised by .

Michael Foster Bom Bom Bridge

Even in the middle of the Serengeti our Travel Co-ordinator was on hand to sort any hiccups.

June & Steven travelled to Tanzania in February 2019 on a trip organised by Alistair.

Call you South Africa experts today.

Start planning your ideal holiday.

  • Alistair

    Alistair

    South Africa Specialist

  • Peter

    Peter

    South Africa Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715