Do you have the luxury of planning not only where you will vacation, but when? Sometimes, we have to grab opportunity as it comes, and other times, we can plan that opportunity. This is what makes South Africa such an ideal destination; while certain times of the year are considered “peak,” you can always find much worth exploring all year round. If opportunity knocks in the summer, wonderful. If you find time in the South African winter, you will also find ample fun, adventure, and natural beauty to enjoy. When is the best time to visit South Africa? Whenever you can!
South Africa’s climate is considered “subtropical.” The temperature is moderated by both the altitude and the ocean on three sides, making it much milder than other parts of the continent. Sunshine abounds, making it a wonderful winter escape for those from frosty climes. The hot sunny summer months are from mid-October to mid-February (except in the Western Cape, which is rainy during this time). Autumn offers a perfect blend of weather, with balmy days and crisp nights.
May to July are the winter months; the days are usually brisk and sunny with cold nights. Again, the Western Cape is a bit wetter during this time, but offers breaks of fabulous weather. Spring brings warmer temperatures and gorgeous wildflowers to the Cape provinces.
The peak travel season is typically during the South African summer. Travelers and residents alike take advantage of the hot days and lazy, sandy beaches. The problem, of course, is that the beaches are crowded and accommodations can cost as much as 70 percent more. Other peak times include the Easter holiday, when South Africans traditionally have a ten-day holiday. A great time to enjoy South Africa, if you don’t mind other revelers who flock to the area for kayaking, canoeing, rafting, diving, hiking, and other pursuits.
Going a bit earlier in the spring will relieve the crowds and give you prime wildlife viewing, and if you dislike intense heat, you may find that winter is the best time to go. During July to November, for instance, you can spot Southern Right whales and enjoy the Cape’s “green season” when flowers and shrubbery explode over the landscape. The fall brings excellent birding, rafting, and other great outdoor adventures.
There is no wrong time to go to South Africa. Its beauty never fades; it only changes to the astonishment of visitors.