At a glance
South Africa is marked by two seasons: a hot and humid summer (November to March) and a dry cooler winter (April to October). The Western Cape region has winter rainfall from June to August. The good thing is that South Africa has something to offer for each season.
Safari season is from April to October. From November to March, the beaches of the Western Cape are idyllic. If you come between June and September there is a fair chance you will see whales… And then there is the Kwazulu-Natal coast, perfect for bathing all year round.
To enjoy the beaches
If you come to South Africa for the sea and the beaches, the best time to come is the opposite to that for the national parks in the main beach area, the Western Cape. You should avoid winter
(from April to October) as the temperatures are too cold for bathing. However, from November to March, the Cape coast is a paradise. Beware of the crowds in December: it is the local holiday season, and obviously attracts the New Year crowds. In winter consider going to the Kwazulu-Natal coast
, less well-known and less crowded but with a warmer climate. It is ideal for bathing all year round, particularly during the coolest months: it won't be too hot and the sea temperature is warm enough!
To visit the national parks
South Africa's big national parks such as Kruger or Madikwe
, can be visited at any time of year. But if you visit during the dry season
, between April and October, you will get a better view of the African wildlife - the big five - as the trees are more sparsely covered, allowing greater visibility. Outside the school holidays in South Africa, the parks are also less crowded, so you have everything to gain! In the rainy season, the rain itself is not really a problem as it is only intermittent showers. However, December, January and February are very hot; in December, there are school holidays and the tourist areas become very crowded.