About South Africa - Climate

Climate

The Garden Route

The Garden Route enjoy moderately hot summers (December-February), and mild winters (June-August) with chilly evenings.  Spring tends to be mixed and autumn a slow cool-down but very pleasant.  The area receives lots of rainfall compared to other regions, particularly in the winter evenings.  This keeps the area perennially green.

Eastern Cape Reserves

Most of the Eastern Cape’s premier spots, like Addo Elephant Park, are in its coastal reaches, which also experience moderately hot summers (December-February) and mild, wet winters (June-August) with very cool evenings.  Further north, the Karoo Heartland is much balmier on average, while up towards Free State, the altitude rises, temperatures drop and winters can deliver snow.

Cape Town & The Winelands

Cape Town and the surrounding vineyards rotate scorching summers (December-February) with changeable winters (June-August).  The former sees towns like Stellenbosch reach 100°F (38°C), while their reverse bring heavy rains, strong winds and snows scenically dusting the Helderberg Mountains – making hotels lovely and cosy.  Spring and early autumn are particularly ideal for European visitors: not overly hot, not overly cold.

Kalahari

As a desert, the Kalahari specialises in extremes. Rainfall is rare, usually arriving only in brief summer thunderstorms.  The mercury then routinely tops 100°F (38°C), but can drop below as 43°F (6°C) during winter evenings.  Still, May (the start of winter) is perhaps the best time, though, with nice daytime temperatures and parched animals crowding – conveniently – around the last-remaining waterholes.

Kruger & Mpumalanga

This area has two distinct seasons.  The dry winter (May–October) is most popular for safaris to Kruger due to sparse vegetation and game congregations around waterholes.  It’s easiest of all between September-October, but you’ll have to contend with rising humidity; June–August is much gentler, with fewer mosquitoes.  November–April is summer and ‘Green Season’: sporadically rainy, over 86°F (30°C), very lush and best for birdwatching.

North West Province

Extending east from the Kalahari Desert, North West offers virtually year-round sunshine.  The western areas, including Pilanesberg National Park, are balmiest of all, with sun lotion a requisite.  Summer (September–February) temperatures average 82ºF (28ºC), interrupted only by brief afternoon thunderstorms.  During dry winter (May-July) the median is still 61ºF (16ºC), but nights are often much chillier, dropping to just 36ºF (2ºC) .

KwaZulu Natal

KZN’s subtropical, coastal climate brings lots of sunshine, and ample humidity and light rainfall. Sultry summer (November-February) brings temperatures over 86°F (30°C) and daily afternoon showers, while mild winters (averaging above 68ºF (20ºC)) are much drier and stabler, with a pullover needed after sunset. The sea temperature stays warm all year, so Indian Ocean swimming is always a pleasure.

 

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