Climate and Weather in South Africa

Our South Africa weather has a subtropical quality all year round with mild and lovely sunshine conditions – thanks to South African Tours and Travel

The underlying factors which form the foundation for the sunny, warm and pleasant weather conditions that are so characteristic for South Africa, making it a tourist top hit world-wide, are the altitude of the huge interior plateau combined with the stabilizing effects of the Indian and Atlantic oceans surrounding the country.

Compared to New York with its average 6.9 sunshine hours daily, Rome with 6.4 and London with 3.8 hours, South Africa with its average of 8.5 sunshine hours per day is one of the highest in the world.

Do not forget that the seasons on the southern hemisphere are the reverse of those in Europe and the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere. Come and spend Christmas on one of our golden sunshine beaches.

The Seasons,…

Spring

Spring time is flower time - South African Weather, Climate and Weather in South AfricaSpring time is flower time

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During the months September, October and November it is spring in South Africa. When the winter season changes to spring, conditions can be a bit windy for a short period after the winter rains have stopped. Day temperatures rise to an average of between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. Although it cools down at night with occasionally somewhat fresh conditions, it is definitely not cold anymore. With its enjoyable sunny and calm weather conditions, Spring is really an excellent time to visit the country.
With their hot and relatively high humidity weather conditions, the KwaZulu-Natal coastal regions and the Mpumalanga low-veld, show a different climate picture. Differences in temperatures between the spring and winter seasons are considerably smaller than in the rest of the country. Temperatures also rise quite rapidly from mild and enjoyable to hotter and less comfortable when the seasons change from winter, to spring, to summer.

Summer
Afternoon thunderstorm brewing in summer - South Africa Weather, Climate and Weather in South Africa
Afternoon thunderstorm brewing in summer – South Africa weather
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Our summer season is during the months December, January and February. For most of the country this is the rainfall season. South African weather conditions in the interior and especially on the vast interior plateau during the summer are characterized by warm to hot and dry days. Temperatures are ranging on average between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius, often accompanied by heavy afternoon thunder storms which clear quickly. These short but heavy rains help to keep temperatures down at night, often on the cool side, sometimes warm, but not hot.

In the Kwazulu Natal coastal and the Mpumalanga low-veld regions the summers are hot and humid with temperatures sometimes reaching the 40 degrees Celsius mark. The nights can become very soft and soothing.

During the summer period, Cape Town and surrounding regions usually experience sunny and dry weather conditions with little or no rain. To help keep temperatures within enjoyable limits of between 25 and 39 degrees Celsius, there is what the locals call “The Cape Doctor”. This is a system of south easterly winds which prevail in the region at this time of the year. Berg winds coming in down-slope the escarpment, bringing in the heat from the interior, see temperatures sometimes rise well beyond 30 degrees Celsius. The nights in Cape Town are balmy, but not uncomfortable, with a very nice atmosphere.

AutumnAutumn Colours in the Cape - South African Weather, Climate and Weather in South AfricaAutumn colours in the Cape – South Africa weather

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When the trees start shedding their leaves and the green grasslands and savannahs turn dry, brown and yellow, you know it’s autumn time, which is the period March, April and May. The Transition from summer to autumn is quite sudden, which makes the autumn season feel rather short.

Looking at South Africa as a whole, Autumn probably offers the best conditions from a weather and climate point of view. Across the country temperatures are pleasantly warm and not hot, but slowly becoming colder as the season gets on. Nights are cool, but not yet cold.

With the autumn period being less noticeable than in other parts of South Africa, the hot and humid summer conditions In the KwaZulu Natal coastal regions and the Mpumalanga low-veld will gradually change into the lovely and comfortably warm winter weather that these parts of the country are known for. With warm sunny days, balmy nights and not much wind, autumn in Cape Town is just great. In fact autumn and spring are the perfect seasons to visit Cape town.

Winter
Early morning frost in winter - South Africa Weather, Climate and Weather in South Africa
Early morning frost in winter
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June, July and August are the winter months in South Africa. It is a great season with clear blue skies, almost no rain. Sunshine throughout with every so often windy, dry and dusty circumstances. The nights are cold with the possibility of frost in the morning. These conditions occur in most of the country during winter, especially on the interior plateau.

The average temperatures in the winter vary from as high as 20 to 25 degrees Celsius during the day, to as low as -5 to 10 degrees Celsius at night time, which is quite an extraordinary drop. Snowfall in South Africa is quite rare and is only to be expected on the summits of the Drakensberg and the Cape Region mountain ranges above the 1500 meters mark.

Winter along the KwaZulu Natal coastal area and in the Mpumalanga Low-veld means that humidity levels have fallen to practically zero with hardly any wind. Nighttime and daytime temperatures are just right, enjoyable enough for that swim in the sea or perhaps a barbeque or “braai” outdoors.

Cape Town and the south western part of the Western Cape province is a different story. With its Mediterranean climate it gets most of its rain during the winter. There are a considerable number of cold, grey, cloudy and rainy days. But then again, these are interspersed with beautiful days that can be compared with the best that a British summer has to offer.

Best time of the year ?…

Flowering Jacaranda trees in Pretoria - South Africa Weather, Climate and Weather in South Africa
Flowering Jacaranda trees in Pretoria
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There is no easy answer to that question, because the seasons in South Africa all have their positive and negative elements. It all depends on what you are looking for and what you want to do. If it is game watching then Winter and Spring are the best seasons, that would be from May until about mid October. From mid June to end of October would be the best time to go whale watching around our coast. For diving and surfing the winter period from April to September is the best choice for most of the coastal areas, except maybe for the Western cape coast.

Like most other parts in the world, Spring time throughout the months August, September and October is the best time to enjoy our indigenous wild flowers. Cape Town in the last part of the winter would be the best choice for river rafting. For KwaZulu Natal that would be the summer period from November to February. Beach conditions are tops in KwaZulu Natal throughout the year, with warm and sunny conditions even in mid winter

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