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South Africa Weather

When is the best time to visit South Africa? It is good to visit South Africa year round. The climate varies from region to region. South Africa a diverse climate that varies significantly across its regions and lies in the Southern Hemisphere, so its seasons are the exact opposite to the Northern Hemisphere: summer is from mid December to mid March; autumn is from mid March to mid June; winter is from mid June to mid September; spring is from mid September to mid December.

Chart with month by month weather information focused on South Africa and when is the best time to visit

Western Cape: Cape Town’s maritime climate means there is only a 10% difference between summer and winter temperatures. The south-western Cape records a range of 7 to 15°C (44 to 59°F) in July and 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F) in January.

Hot spells do occur in summer when the temperature can reach over 40°C (104°F) but the cooling south-easterly winds generally keep the summer mercury down. Conversely, the warming influence of an ocean on either side of the Cape Peninsula means winters in Cape Town are never that cold. Table Mountain and the mountains of the Cape Peninsula are largely free of frost although the higher mountains of the Cape Winelands may have a coating of snow in winter, delivered by south-westerly winds bringing freezing air from deep down in the Southern Atlantic. Wind is an unavoidable fact of life in Cape Town and the south-western Cape. It also has a crucial ecological role: the South-Easter creates the famous Table Cloth that pours over the top of Table Mountain in summer, providing 25% of the mountain’s annual moisture. Without it, few plants and animals could survive summer’s desiccating drought on the mountain.

Gauteng: The mild climate in Johannesburg is never humid and is never uncomfortably hot either. Summer months average a minimum temperature of 17 degrees and a maximum of approximately 28. Only mid winter, the months of July and August, have the coldest weather. Winter days have been known to reach temperatures of 25 degrees but generally the winter months averages a low of 5 degrees and a maximum of 19 degrees. Pretoria experiences the same weather conditions as Johannesburg, but is the known rainfall region. Both Johannesburg and Pretoria experience summer thunderstorms in the late afternoon. These thunderstorms are accompanied by thunder and lightning, but are very brief. Hail is usually experienced during these thunderstorms and snow is almost never found within this area. Summer in this region runs from October to March.

KwaZulu Natal: With hot, humid summers and dry, mild winters Kwa Zulu Natal offers warmth throughout most of the year. The average water temperature is 23 degrees. Due to less rain, the best time for traveling is from May to August. The most rainy days occur from October to January. In warm months, there is also a higher absolute humidity almost everywhere. At a temperature of 25°C, air can absorb up to 23 grams of water per cubic meter. At 20°C, it is only 17.3 grams. A relative humidity of 40% at 25°C thus corresponds to an absolute humidity of 9.2 grams of water. From a proportion of approx. 13.5 grams, humans perceive the air as muggy. 

Mpumalanga and Limpopo: Based on annual weather averages for Mpumalanga, the best month to go for holiday is June and July. The temperature hovers around 20°c. The capital of the Mpumalanga province is Nelspruit, and together with the Kruger National both fall in the Lowveld area. The Lowveld has a tropical climate, with warm subtropical temperatures and experiences high summer rainfalls. Between the months of September and March this area receives an approximate rainfall of 620 mm. Due to the moist climate, the Lowveld is a perfect home for mosquitoes to thrive in, and it is therefore advised to see your doctor or pharmacist in regard to anti-malaria treatments before traveling through this area. Although malaria is mostly under control, standard precautions should be taken, such as the correct medication, mosquito coils, insect repellent and wearing long sleeve shirts in the evenings.

The Highveld is a grassland savannah and has an extremely varied climate and is situated on the western side of Mpumalanga. This high lying escarpment also experiences a summer rainfall during the months of October to February, and has contrasting temperatures of 8 degrees to 26 degrees during this time. Winter temperatures average in the range of 19 degrees during the months of April to August. Due to the Highveld climate this area is the driest, and has the highest and lowest temperatures, of any other area in the Mpumalanga province.

Due to the entire Mpumalanga area averaging a total rainfall of 1,000 mm a year, it will come as no surprise that Mpumalanga climate supports the picturesque landscapes consisting of waterfalls, panoramic mountains, stunning valleys and breathtaking forests. With a population of approximately three million people, and home to some of the best Game and Nature Reserves in South Africa, Mpumalanga remains a top travel destination, no matter how varied or unpredictable the weather might be.

BONUS:

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe & Zambia: From the end of August the temperatures start rising, and as we get into September and through to November it is very hot and dry – 32-34°C . The typical African landscape turns very brown and can feel a bit harsh. Although malaria is mostly under control, standard precautions should be taken, such as the correct medication, mosquito coils, insect repellent and wearing long sleeve shirts in the evenings.

September is notoriously the best game viewing month as not only does the sparse vegetation make sighting of game much easier, but there is also less water inland so the animals congregate at the river.

Winter starts in June through to mid-August and the daytime temperatures drop from the 30’s into the mid 20’s. The rains have now stopped and generally, the skies are cloudless and beautifully blue, making this a very pleasant time of year. Evenings and early mornings can be very cool and it is always advisable to pack some long pants and a sweater – especially if you plan to do some early morning game viewing (the best time to see most animals – especially lions).

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