On the Southernmost tip of the African continent lies a destination that can be enjoyed year-round. South Africa is known to be a country that boasts many hot and sunny days, with comfortably cool nights.
While the country has varying climates throughout, there is no bad month to take in the beauty of South Africa. It simply depends on what you want out of your trip.
Here is our guide to help you plan the perfect time for your South African escape. And to help you travel to all these lovely destinations, if you book your flights during Black Friday Deals, South Africa is right at your fingertips!
The Best Month to Visit South Africa – Is There Only One?
‘When to visit South Africa?’ shouldn’t be a question that’s hard to answer. Each month serves a different purpose and caters to a different experience.
This is because the country has opposing climates, such as the South-Western region inhabiting a Mediterranean Climate. This region comprises of Cape Town and more broadly, the Western Cape.
Because of this climate, the best months to visit South Africa are during December through March. This is when there are humid temperatures that are ideal for beach-goers.
On the complete opposite side of the country’s coast, Durban experiences a sub-tropical climate, meaning humid and wet summers, and dry, warm winters. This makes winter (April – September) the ideal months to visit Durban because of the pleasantly hot temperatures unaccompanied by rainfall.
Far in-land, Johannesburg is not comparable to the same dry summer as Cape Town. It experiences rainfall and thunderstorms from December through February (summer), while its winters are arid. That’s why the best time to visit is from March to May and September to November, when it is still warm but dry.
As you have most likely gathered, there isn’t only one best time of the year to go to South Africa. You can make the most of your time year-round.
Explore Beaches in South Africa in February
South Africa occupies over 3000-kilometers of coastline, which means it has copious amounts of white sand and sub-tropical beaches. On average, February is the hottest month of the year, with the least amount of rain nationally.
This means that you ought to be prepared to get your swimming cozzies out, because this is prime time for beach days! While this month may be uncomfortably hot in Kwazulu-Natal’s coastline around Durban, the Western Cape (with its Mediterranean climate) is a great alternative.
Temperatures may exceed 30°C, but you’ll be able to cool down during the mildly cold nights – and in the chilly ocean. Known for its wineries, the Western Cape’s leading wine-producing region holds two wine festivals in this month. For the young and young-hearted, there is an abundance of music festivals that are synonymous with February.
Another perk of visiting South Africa in February is the fact that peak/high season has subsided, with schools and universities being back in progress. Major cities like Cape Town become the much-favoured holiday destinations among locals from other cities, not only tourists. This means that you’ll have cheaper flights and accommodation options.
Hiking South Africa in September and October
South Africa is a multicultural nation, and the land it inhabits is just as multi-faceted. From desert regions in the Northern Cape to the dramatic basalt peaks and elevations of the colossal Drakensberg Mountain Range.
Located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, this mountain range truly proves that there’s much more to South Africa than extensive beaches and safaris. Breathtaking vistas can be seen from any of the peaks, with the highest one standing at 3,452-meters above sea level; Mafadi. The mountain range extends for 1000-kilometers, making this area a great holiday destination.
September is a good month to go to the Drakensberg Mountains, should you want the best of two seasons – winter and summer. Temperatures are rising from the dry Winter and are becoming more humid in areas like the Drakensberg Garden.
However, it is not summer just yet so the possibility of snow is not guaranteed, but not irregular. So, you could take your chances in the mountains. Or, you could venture to Umhlanga Rocks and Durban by the coast for a warm beach holiday, with maximum temperatures reaching 28°C and minimum being 10°C at night.
September is also the best time of year to go to South Africa for bird-watching. This is because the migratory birds are arriving to the region now.
Best Time for Safari in South Africa
The country is world-famous for providing tourists and locals with intimate and exclusive encounters with protected wildlife. Highlights of the wildlife in South Africa comprise of the ‘Big 5’, a term coined originally by hunters.
The 5 animals included are:
These animals are seen as the most powerful and impressive creatures in South Africa, and indeed the world. There are 12 National Parks that offers visitors the opportunity to view the Big 5, among many other wildlife species within South Africa.
There are no set months when seeing the animals is certain. But, you can plan your safari holiday around seasons where your chances may be higher.
Safari Through South Africa in April
Encounters with the animals of the Big 5 are more promising throughout the dry winter and spring periods. Major game reserves such as the Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi and Madikwe are recommended to be visited around April.
This is because the overt heat has subsided and the risk of Malaria is lower than other months. Of course, you will still need to take the necessary precautions with medication before you enter these parks.
South Africa’s weather in April tends to be cooler than other months, yet still pleasantly warm enough for an adventure. The foliage of the Kruger National Park begins to reduce and the vegetation becomes scattered. This makes for great wildlife sightings because it heightens visibility.
Final Thoughts on the Best Time to go to South Africa
There isn’t one, but many best times to visit South Africa. In general, the country boasts great temperatures all year-round, without any excessive coldness. Yet, you can still find snow on some peaks in the winter, which is also the best time to visit sub-tropical destinations, like Durban. This is because summer is simply too wet and humid.
It all truly depends on what experience you’re after; for beach-combing, the months of December through March are fitting in the Western Cape. Yet, if you want to view the animals and do safaris, your best bet is April through July.