South Africa is a sunny, dry country in southern most point of the African continent. It has a coastline of over 2500km and an inland plateau rising to almost 1600m above sea level. In the interior, mountain ranges dominate and rise to over 3400m high. South Africa has eight biomes or ecological life zones with each its own plant and animal life. Biomes range from desert and savannah, to fynbos and forest. Here is more about South Africa’s weather.
The seasons are the opposite from the Northern Hemisphere, that part of the planet above the equator. So, South Africa’s summer is from December to February and winter is from June to August. When it is cold and dark in Europe, it is beach weather in South Africa. My favourite months are April and September.
This table below might help explain the seasons and temperatures in South Africa.
The hottest month is January (25°C to 35°C) and the coldest month is July (17°C to 26°C).
Summer night time temperatures range from 15°C to 21°C.
In winter, temperatures can drop to as low as -2°C in Bloemfontein and to 12°C on the KwaZulu-Natal’s coast. In all, South Africa is a relatively warm country. Note that the further you are from the sea, the bigger the temperature variation between day and night.
What is the temperature at your destination now? See today’s weather forecast here.
The most rain falls from November to January in the form of summer thunderstorms in the afternoon. Experience spectacular clouds, thunder and fat drops of rain; it will leave you in awe of nature’s power. The Western Cape is the exception and receives most of its moisture from June to August (winter). Rain comes in endless showers, coupled with wind and cold.
See more about rainfall in South Africa here http://www.weathersa.co.za/
Snow and icy bits
Snow falls from June on the Drakensberg Mountains and the higher peaks of the western and southern Cape’s mountain ranges. You will experience frost in the northern regions of the country. Bring a warm jacket for early mornings when you travel during June to August.
The east coast around Durban and further south to Port Elizabeth is perfect for swimming all year round. The warm Indian Ocean’s temperature ranges from 20°C to 25°C and makes the KwaZulu-Natal’s coast an excellent destination during the South African winter.
The seawater along the Western Cape coast is much colder, but offers more opportunities for wind-related water sports such as kite surfing. Western Cape has 27 Blue Flag beaches, the Eastern Cape 10 and KZN has nine. (blue flag beaches in South Africa)
Best months to travel in South Africa?
The best weather is probably in April or October – not too hot, no rain really and there are many options for outdoor activities. See table below for some clues on which season is suitable for what.