Each season in South Africa has its own unique charm. If you are traveling to the northern part of Southern Africa, including the Kruger National Park, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, the winter months are best. The dry season offers the finest game viewing, but the wet season sees the birth of the young and an environment which is lush and green. In the southern part, you will experience the region at its finest between September and April (spring, summer and autumn). These two months are generally regarded to be the best time to visit Southern Africa, if you will be traveling to both the northern as well as the southern countries and regions.
The countries of Southern Africa experience very hot summers and mild winters. In order to obtain detailed information about the country’s weather, please visit the website of the South African Weather Service. Here you will find the most comprehensive source on the weather of South Africa.
The link to Weathersa is: http://www.weathersa.co.za
The Cape Peninsula, including Cape Town, the Winelands and the Garden Route experience a Mediterranean climate, therefore experience less rain in summer and temperatures are milder with less humidity than other parts of the country, although it is very common to experience "four seasons in a day" in this region. It is also very common to experience mild to extreme windy conditions in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape regions.
During summer, temperatures will range from 15 to as high as 40 degrees Celsius (50 - 104 F). In the Northern and Central areas of the country, including the Kruger National Park, the Free State and the Little Karoo and Pilanesberg Game Reserve, are characterized by a dry heat and commonly include magnificent late afternoon thunder showers with dazzling lightning storms, which bring much relief after a hot day in the sun. Towards the coastal regions of Southern Africa, such as KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique, Swaziland and parts of the Eastern Cape, humidity increases and you can expect a higher rainfall.
During the summer months, we recommend shorts and t-shirts, comfortable sandals and a cap/hat if you are sensitive to the sun. Always come prepared for any weather, so bring a fleece or jacket with you, even in summer. Sunglasses are also recommended throughout the year. Lodges are generally informal and do not expect you to arrive for dinner in full formal wear. Collared shirts, in conjunction with jeans and closed shoes will be accepted at every establishment. Generally speaking, the higher the standard of the lodgings the more ‘formal’ your attire is expected to be. Breakfasts are generally casual affairs and clothing in accordance with the day’s activities will be appropriate.
In autumn, the landscape is very often transformed into rich, golden brown hues, providing some great photographic opportunities. Some of the best weather conditions can be found throughout South Africa in autumn. The Cape region, most notably Cape Town, offers a very moderate and pleasant climate during this season. Elsewhere, temperatures are not as extreme as winter or summer and are mild and warm with generally less rainfall in all regions.
Winters in South Africa range from mild, summer-like days in Mpumalanga to very cold conditions in the Free State and the Karoo, including occasional snow on the peaks of the Drakensberg and Southern Cape Mountains. During winter it is almost guaranteed not to rain and skies will be bright blue and clear. Early mornings and evenings can be cold, with the days being pleasantly mild. During winter in the Cape Province, however, which experiences rainfall during this season, it is not uncommon to experience very cold and wet weather in this region.
Temperatures during this period will range from 0 - 25 Celsius (32 - 77 F) and it will be pleasant in the low-lying eastern parts with little humidity.
We recommend that you dress in layers during winter. Mornings will be very cold but as soon as the sun breaks the horizon temperatures will begin to rise steadily. It is advisable to have warm clothing readily available at all times during winter as temperatures are known to suddenly drop overnight from mild to very cold. Please be aware that central heating is not common in South Africa, therefore in winter it might be colder indoors than you expect it to be.
During winter through to Spring, whales can be seen breaching the waters of the Western Cape and Garden Route, particularly in towns such as Hermanus , known as the whale capital.
Generally winter is known as the "dry season" in South Africa and game viewing is generally much better in places such as the Kruger National Park, due to the thin brush and milder temperatures which draw the animals out into the winter sun.
The arrival of spring brings with it a magical transformation of the country and landscapes. The Cape floral regions, such as Namaqualand and notably Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, are covered with a kaleidoscope of hundreds of thousands of colourful wild flowers. By now, temperatures have risen, so mild to hot conditions can generally be expected. It is not uncommon for the occasional cold snap to occur before winter finally comes to an end.