What is the Best Month to Visit South Africa?

South Africa has it all. A holiday here promises unrivalled wildlife, sensational scenery, a thriving food culture and plenty of sunshine. South Africa is a beautiful country at any time of the year but there are a few months when it is at its very best. Whether you’re booking specifically for safari or you’re choosing to hit the beach, in this blog post we outline some key considerations before booking your trip. 

Climate Considerations

South Africa’s climate tends to be warmer in the north and cooler in the south. You’ll find the weather also varies from coast to coast – the Indian Ocean coast feels more tropical, while the weather on the western Atlantic coast tends to be mild, exposed to sea mist and dry desert winds. 

During the winter months from May to August, you can expect cool, dry conditions with temperatures ranging between 10-20°C (50-68°F). Unlike the northern hemisphere, here, even winter days are long with lots of sunshine and rainfall is infrequent. 

Climates during the summer months (November to February) vary depending on where you are. The coasts tend to be hot and sunny, almost Mediterranean like while in the north, thunderstorms are common. 

The Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

If you’re looking for an unforgettable wildlife experience, then visiting South Africa in the dry season (May-September) is your best bet. 

During South Africa’s winter period is when animals are most active and visible. As they look for food and water, there’ll be more opportunities for big game spotting. Particularly, in Kruger and Phinda National Parks to the north of the country, where conditions tend to be cooler and the landscape is awash with lush vegetation. 

Elsewhere, the sheltered bays around the Western Cape attract migrating southern right and humpback whales. Hermanus is known as South Africa’s top spot for seeing whales and from here, you can often see these majestic beasts breaching from the shore. In Durban, huge sardine runs from May to June also attract whales, dolphins, sharks and sea birds. 

The Best Time for Beach Holidays

The South African coast stretches for nearly 2,000 miles, so you won’t be stuck for choice when it comes to picking a spot for your beach holiday to South Africa.  

Whether you’re after a sandy stretch for soaking up some sun, eyeing up the surf, or an opportunity to spot wildlife, South Africa’s shores cater to every kind of beach holiday. The best time to visit for guaranteed warmth and consistently sunny weather is November-March. 

The Best Time for City Sightseeing

November to February is known as peak season and for good reason. In Cape Town especially, this is when the city is in full flourish – the surrounding winelands are brimming with ripening grapes, the Garden Route is a verdant shade of green and the beaches attract locals and visitors alike. Do be aware, January can be particularly busy so plan your time city sightseeing carefully to avoid any queues or traffic hold ups. 

Further North, Johannesburg and Durban’s subtropical climates means the best months to visit are during the warm, sunny autumn and winter months between April and September. 

South Africa really is a year-round destination with so much to do and see no matter when you choose to visit. To really make the most of your time in this diverse and dynamic country, we suggest booking a trip between May and September. Even during South Africa’s winter months, you’ll be treated to warm, dry weather as well as captivating wildlife-spotting opportunities. The key, especially if you want to avoid the crowds in Cape Town and Kruger National Park, is to travel outside of the school summer holidays, which tend to fall between December and January. 


Next steps

For more advice on booking your holiday to South Africa, you can contact one of our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678.


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