South Africa Weather and Climate
The Republic of South Africa is located on the southern tip of the African continent. The country between the Atlantic in the west and the Indian Ocean on the south and south-east coast is home to around 55 million inhabitants.
South Africa’s immediate neighbors are Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The independent Kingdom of Lesotho is completely enclosed as an enclave by South African territory.
The Republic of South Africa is around three and a half times the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and almost 30 times larger than Switzerland. Since large areas in the interior of the country are only sparsely populated, the population density is only around 42 inhabitants per square kilometer (Germany: 228 inhabitants / km²).
The status of a “capital” of South Africa is shared by three cities: The seat of government is in Pretoria (executive), the parliament in Cape Town (legislative) and the Supreme Court (judiciary) in Bloemfontein.
The largest city in the Rainbow Nation is Johannesburg, with around 4.45 million people living in its metropolitan area.
Climate in South Africa
South Africa is often given a concise slogan by the tourism industry: “The world is united in one country.” Indeed, the cultural, ethnic and scenic diversity is almost immeasurable. So it’s no wonder that there are also climatic differences between deserts, high mountains, coastal towns, savannas and rainforests.
Basically, you should be aware that the seasons in South Africa are always exactly the opposite of Germany. The South African winter is from June to August and can definitely offer night frosts and individual snowfalls in the mountains.
Most of the coastal regions and also the larger cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria inland have temperatures of around 20 degrees during the day and around 10 degrees at night in winter. In the Cape region and the Boland around Cape Town, winter is the rainy season, with a fairly cool climate and regular drizzle.
In general, the west coast is cooler and rather humid in winter due to the cooler Benguela Current, while the summer months around Cape Town are dry and very warm. The east coast (e.g. Durban, Port Elizabeth) is slightly more humid all year round than the higher inland areas in the west.
When to go to South Africa
Basically, South Africa is not a holiday destination for a classic beach holiday, it is rather a real travel destination, where the word “travel” should be emphasized. The variety of landscapes is so inspiring that it would be a shame to experience the South African magic in just one place.
Accordingly, it is difficult to give a blanket answer to the best travel time in South Africa. Thanks to the very mild temperatures, South Africa can be visited all year round, but the high tourist season is between November and mid- April (in the South African summer).
The peripheral months of October and November as well as April and May are particularly pleasant. The region around Cape Town is also at its most beautiful in summer. Safaris in the national parks are excellent all year round, but the best travel time (see Kruger National Park) is in the dry season between May and October.
Optimal travel time for the regions
In the following overview you can see the best travel time depending on the region (South Africa).
|Place||Best travel time|
|Cape Town||January, February, March, November and December|
|Pretoria||April, May, June, July, August, September and October|
|Durban||April, May, June, July, August, September and October|
|Port Elizabe||January, February, March, April and December|
|Skukuza||May, June, July, August, September and October|
|Johannesburg||April, May, August, September and October|
|Knysna||January, February, March, April, November and December|
|Oudtshoorn||January, February, March, April, October, November and December|
|Hluhluwe||April, May, June, July, August, September and October|
|Madikwe||April, May, June, July, August, September and October|
|Stellenbosch||January, February, March, April, October, November and December|
|Addo||all except May, June, July and August|
|Sabi Sands||April, May, June, July, August, September and October|
|Rovaniemi||May, June, July, August and September|
|Pilanesberg||April, May, June, July, August, September and October|
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Cape Town (South Africa)
|Daytime temperature||26 ° C||26 ° C||25 ° C||23 ° C||20 ° C||18 ° C||17 ° C||18 ° C||19 ° C||21 ° C||24 ° C||25 ° C|
|Night temperature||16 ° C||16 ° C||14 ° C||12 ° C||9 ° C||8 ° C||7 ° C||8 ° C||9 ° C||11 ° C||13 ° C||15 ° C|
|Water temperature||18 ° C||19 ° C||19 ° C||18 ° C||17 ° C||16 ° C||15 ° C||14 ° C||15 ° C||16 ° C||17 ° C||18 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||14||16||21st||41||68||93||83||77||41||33||16||17|
|Hours of sunshine||11||11||9||8||7||6||6||7||8||9||10||11|
The annual average temperature in Cape Town is 16.2 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is January (20.4 ° C), coldest month of July with averages of 11.9 ° C. The maximum water temperature in Cape Town is 19 ° C. Pleasant bathing is possible from temperatures of around 21 ° C. The months of January, February, March, April, May, November and December have a water temperature of at least 17 ° C. Bathing is then possible to a limited extent.
The annual precipitation is 520 mm on 69 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. You cannot expect snow in any month in Cape Town.
As our climate table shows, January is the sunniest month with an average of 10.9 hours of sunshine per day. On average over the year, the sun shines for 8.5 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: City of Cape Town and Paarl.
Sights and highlights
The most common types of travel in South Africa are individual round trips by rental car or as a group tour with a tour guide in a bus. The picturesque Garden Route with highlights such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and the Tsitsikamma National Park is extremely popular.
Cape Town with the world-famous Table Mountain, the legendary prison island Robben Island, the neighboring Cape of Good Hope and the surrounding wine regions should not be missing on any trip to South Africa. The Drakensberg Mountains are also a scenic highlight, as is the Kalahari Desert on the Northern Cape.
In addition to the Kruger National Park and neighboring private reserves such as the highly recommended Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the most popular safari areas are mainly Pilanesberg, Balule, Madikwe, Timbavati, Hluhluwe and the Addo Elephant National Park. The largest national park is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park on the border with Botswana.