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Best Time to Visit South Africa

If you want to know when to visit South Africa, then you've come to the right place! The beauty of this country is there's plenty going on throughout the year, but depending on what you want to experience, there's a time and place for everything. From the weather to what's happening every month, here's the best time to visit South Africa.
 

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When to visit South Africa


Whether you love wildlife or wine, or both, the truth is you can visit South Africa at any time of the year and have an incredible time. The winter is perfect for an African safari, but during the summer you can hit the beach. For mild pleasant weather, the best time to visit South Africa is from May to October, when the days are warm and you can throw on a layer or two in the evening.
 

  • For wildlife lovers - Want to hear a lion roar? Discover the best time to go on a safari in South Africa by reading more
  • For wine lovers - Vineyards are an adventure for the tastebuds. Find out when to go by reading more
  • For beach lovers - Discover the perfect time for a dreamy escape along the South African coast by reading more

South Africa is a great holiday destination for families, especially parents who are travelling with young kids and even teens. It's fairly cheap, and when visiting the southern part of the country, you won't need extra vaccinations or malaria pills. However, it's still important to talk to your doctor or travel clinic prior to travelling!

Pro tips

For budget travellers
If you're travelling on a budget, understandably certain months of the year are better for flying than others. July, December and January tend to be pricier, whereas airfares in May are the cheapest and October and November also offer much more affordable flights.  

Best month to visit South Africa

Best time to visit

Best time to go on safari in South Africa

South Africa's dry season lasts from May to October, and this time of year is prime for game viewing. As the dry weather persists, animals flock to the limited water supplies and because the vegetation is bare, it's easier to see wildlife. It can get a little chilly at night, but nothing a layer or two can't solve. 

The wet season is also a great time for a safari! Between December and March, although hot, the rain falls in short bursts. The landscape becomes lush and green and the bird watching is remarkable. The bonus of taking a safari during this season is that it's when many animals give birth, so you have a rare chance to spot baby animals on game drives! If you can tear yourself away from the wilderness of the rolling plains, the coast has another treat in store for wildlife enthusiasts. From mid-June to November you can observe southern right whales along the South African coast.

Best months for a wildlife tour
  1. To see the Big Five, it's best to visit during the dry season (April to October). Check out some Big Five safaris in South Africa.
  2. To see birds, visit from mid-October to February. From November onwards, many migratory birds arrive in the region and the bird watching is spectacular. 
  3. To see whales the best time is from mid-June to November. In June and July, you can catch whales calve and mate. 
South Africa safari tours

Best time for wine lovers

Every season in South Africa's wineries has something to offer, so whichever time of year you decide to visit, it's an experience. Summer is the perfect time to drink chilled wine as you tuck into lunch in the warm weather outside. During the winter you can sip a delicious red wine snuggled up in front of the fire. Discover autumn colours or a spring bloom, it doesn't matter when you go to South Africa's vineyards, they are a year-round destination.

 
South Africa wine tours

Best time for a beach holiday

While the national parks are a dream during the winter, if you're planning to visit South Africa for a beach getaway, you'll want to avoid April to October. The rest of the year (November to March) is perfect for a coastal vacation. Simply soak up the atmosphere, go for a swim, or try something more adventurous like surfing. With good food and plenty to see and do, South Africa, is one of the best places for some sea and sand. 

Best months to visit the beaches
  1. November, February and March: These months are ideal for travellers on a budget! Expect good deals and beach weather. 
  2. December and January: This is peak season for travel to South Africa and prices rise due to Christmas and New Year. 
South Africa beach tours

Best time to visit Kruger and other national parks

Climate in South Africa

  1. Dry Season

    MAY TO SEPTEMBER

    If you're travelling to South Africa during the dry season here's what to expect! The dry season usually falls during winter, and during these months rainfall is limited and the weather is mild. For those hoping to go on a safari, this is a great time of year, and while the nights can get a little chilly, the weather is gorgeous. 
     

  2. Rainy Season

    OCTOBER TO APRIL

    The wet season can be hot and humid but offers its own delights. The rain falls hard in short bursts, and South Africa's national parks are transformed into a lush green bird watching paradise. The weather doesn't seem to put anyone off either, these months tend to be peak travel season for South Africa, especially December and January.

Temperatures and rainfall in South Africa

In the table below you'll find average temperatures from month to month, day and night for Kruger National Park. However, bear in mind that the weather for Cape Town will be very different from this, so just use this as an overview for your safari trip.

JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
High°C Day32° C32° C31° C29° C28° C26° C26° C27° C29° C30° C30° C32° C
Min °C Night21° C20° C19° C16° C11° C6° C7° C9° C13° C16° C18° C20° C
Max °F Day90°F90°F88°F84°F82°F79°F79°F81°F84°F86°F86°F90°F
Min °F Night70°F68°F66°F61°F52°F43°F45°F48°F55°F61°F64°F68°F
Chances of rainMediumMediumMediumMediumLowLowLowLowLowMediumMediumMedium

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