South Africa - Climate

Generally, South Africa's climate allows for a sunny holiday at any time of the year. However, your dress requirements may vary according to your particular destination, so rather be prepared! If you intend spending a lot of time outdoors and definitely in summer, bring a hat for protection against the rather scorching sun. In the summer, lightweight cotton clothing is advised because daytime temperatures generally hover around 25-30 degrees Celsius.

For the brief period of January until Mid-March, temperatures sometimes reach 35 degrees. During this period, the nights might be just as hot. In the Cape, with its Mediterranean climate, there is no rain to cool down the air. You may or you may not want to bring a costume to swim in. There are a few topless and nude beaches in South Africa, but generally nudity is still frowned upon. Further inland there is often an afternoon or evening thunderstorm. In fact, the rain may become quite heavy, so a raincoat is advisable. In the summer evenings, the heat usually lessens and only a light jacket is required.

In the winter months (May to October) the sun shines almost every day. Daytime temperatures hover around 17 to 22 degrees Celsius. The evenings can get very cold. Temperatures have been known to plummet to below zero in most parts of the country. The greater South Africa experience semi-arid temperatures. Hot days with cooler (summer), to very cold (winter) nights.

Many visitors, who come to view game in the parks and game farms, prefer to visit these places in the drier winter months. With little rainfall at this time of the year, you are more likely to see animals congregating around the waterholes. The grass is shorter in winter, so spotting the game is easier. But the parks are busier in the winter. The game is just as prolific, but perhaps harder to see in summer. Summer can be unbearably hot specifically in the most northern parts of the game parks. The vegetation in the game parks of Natal, remain the same all year round, as does the weather generally.

Visitors coming to enjoy the unique spring flowerings of the west coast from September to November, usually experience very pleasant weather conditions. The veld is literally covered in carpets of the most beautiful, bright flowers.

There are sharks in the seas around South Africa, even where there are colder currents. The public beaches are well protected by shark nets, but be alert of the unprotected beaches. Some beaches can have rather strong and unpredictable ocean currents.

Visitors arriving in Johannesburg may feel a little drowsy at first because of the high altitude of 1800 metres above sea level.