South Africa has a diverse climate, with rainfall spread throughout the year and extreme temperatures in different regions. The country experiences two distinct seasons: a summer rainy season from October to March, and a winter dry season from May to September.

The coastal areas of South Africa face a Mediterranean climate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The country’s interior experiences a more continental climate, with cooler winters and hotter summers. The average temperature in January (summer) is 30°C and in July (winter) is 17°C. However, temperatures can range from below freezing point at night to over 40°C during the day.

If you’ve decided to visit South Africa, it means you’re now wondering which month to book to enjoy good weather conditions. Let’s take a look at what the weather is like in South Africa month by month:

South Africa in January and February

The weather in South Africa is typically warm and sunny in January and February, making it a great time to visit the country. January is the hottest month, with temperatures averaging 30°C. February is still hot and humid, but it has lesser rainfall. Both months are a great time to visit if you want to experience the heat without too much humidity. The days are long and sunny, making it perfect for exploring the outdoors. Many events and festivals are happening around this time, so there’s always something to do.

Here are things you can do when you visit South Africa in January and February:

  • Visit Durban and enjoy the warm Indian Ocean. Durban is located on the east coast of South Africa and is known for its local resorts and beautiful beaches. The city experiences super hot summers, averaging around 30°C in January. Durban’s Golden Mile and uShaka Marine World are must-see attractions, showing off the city’s world-class surf spots and vibrant underwater world.
  • Hike in the Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg is a range of mountains that stretch across the eastern part of South Africa. It’s a popular destination for hiking, and January is a great time to go as the summer weather is perfect for outdoor activities.
  • Experience the safari in Kruger National Park. Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The park is teeming with wildlife and is home to a wide variety of animals including lions, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo. January is a great time to visit as the animals are active and the vegetation is lush due to the rains. You can go on game drives, safari walks, and night drives to see the animals in their natural habitat. Also, January is quieter because many people visit during the summer holidays.
  • Appreciate classic and modern arts in Cape Town’s Art Fair. The annual event showcases the creativity of South African artists from local and international galleries. This is the perfect opportunity for art collectors to find an elusive piece to add to their collection.
  • Indulge in the Franschhoek Uncorked Festival for a day of wine tasting and picnicking. With over 30 participating wineries and food stalls, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The Franschhoek Uncorked Festival takes place over the first weekend of February and is open to all wine lovers.
  • Try cage-diving with great white sharks in Gansbaai. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, why not try cage diving with great white sharks? Gansbaai is one of the best places in the world to see these majestic creatures up close. The water during February is still warm enough for swimming so you can enjoy the experience to the fullest. Just remember to take all safety precautions before entering the water.
A great white shark follows a kayaker - The Weather in South Africa
A great white shark following a kayaker near Cape Town | @thomaspeschak

South Africa in March and April

The weather in South Africa during March and April is just right if you want to enjoy all the country has to offer. March is typically the transition from summer to autumn, which means the days are warm and the nights are starting to cool down. This is an ideal time to visit South Africa and take advantage of the beautiful weather before the winter crowds arrive. April temperatures in South Africa can vary depending on what region you’re visiting, but overall it’s a great month to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and touring safaris.

Here are some of the best things to do in South Africa during March and April:

  • Visit Cape Town. From the world-famous Table Mountain to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Town is a must-see destination. March and April are the perfect months to visit because the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds than during peak season.
  • Join the harvest at Winelands. South Africa is renowned for its wine, and the Winelands region is the exact place to sample some of the best vintages in the country. The harvest typically takes place in March and April, so this is an ideal month to visit if you want to learn about the wine-making process and taste some newly-released wines. You can also visit the newly-established Elgin Region, which is becoming known for its cool-climate wines.
  • Explore Kruger National Park. One of the best safari destinations in Africa, Kruger National Park is sufficient with wildlife. April is an ideal month to visit because the weather is warm but not too hot, and the animals are active and easier to spot as they congregate around water sources and search for food before the dry season sets in. The park is inhabited by lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo, among other animals.
A lone elephant walks through a forest in Kruger National Park - The Weather in South Africa
A lone elephant walks through a forest in Kruger National Park | @dylanroyalwildlife