From the dynamic Cape Town to the cosmopolitan atmospheres of Johannesburg to spaces such as Namakwa, Kalahari and Kara, South Africa remains an attractive destination for all types of travelers.
The diverse terrain of the country and the impressive landscapes provide a great opportunity to visit it all year round. Here is our guide to the best time to visit South Africa.
Editor’s Note: During COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government medical guidelines.
Peak of the season: November – March
The best time for music festivals
South Africa is always summer time, and if you want to visit them during peak times, you should plan everything in advance. Coastal and national parks are booked a month in advance, and in popular resorts accommodation prices increase by 50% or more.
But if you are willing to spend money, you will find many festivals and events, such as the parade on Cape Town Street (Carnival of Cape Menstrel). AFROPUNK, a massive international music concert attended by artists from around the world, begins in December. A cycling tour in Cape Town in March attracts cycling enthusiasts from all over the world.
Neutral season: from April to May and from September to October
The best time to observe wildlife and whales
The neutral season offers less crowds and more wildlife. April-May provides optimal conditions for wildlife observation, while September-October is the best time to observe whales. The wildflower season lasts from late August to early September.
Low season: from June to August
The best time for budget travelers
Winter brings lower prices and less crowds, but Cape Town and Western Cape have a rainy season. Northern areas, such as Kara, are a bit drier and sunnier at this time. Among the best winter festivals is an incredible 10-day oyster festival in July.
South Africans descend on tourist areas, including the coast and large parks, during the summer school holidays (early December to mid-January). Book accommodation and transport in advance. The peak season for living is November-March.
Summer continues, smiles on the beaches, cable cars twice as low as the Eastern Sunset Mountain and dramatic thunderstorms in Jo’burg. Elephants chew lettuce trees, and antelopes, zebras and giraffes roam the parks.
For something a little different, there is the Up the Creek festival. Scheduled as the second longest-running open-air music festival in South Africa, Up the Creek takes place on the banks of the River Brid.
Summer rolls until autumn, although the days remain sunny, Lovevel soars, and the scenery is green. Good for hiking and beach bamboo in the Western Cape. Cultural and music festivals take place in Cape Town and Joburg.
There is a two-week school holiday around Easter, which is usually considered the beginning of autumn. The temperature is dropping, and wildlife watching in Bushveld is starting to look more appealing than a beach riot. The wildlife destruction season lasts until May.
Winter brings rain to the cape, and clouds – to Table Mountain. In the northern areas there are fresh sunny days and clear night skies. Low season – from June to September, except mid-June and mid-July school holidays.
Winter is beginning to give way to spring. The cherries bloom in the Eastern Free State Highlands in September and October, which are also the last dry months for wildlife viewing. School holidays last from late September to early October.
Great month to visit, offering mostly sunny weather without the worst summer crowds and prices. A 10-day school holiday is held in South Africa at the beginning of the month.
Spring turns to summer: wildflowers in Drakensberg, the beach potential before the worst humidity hits KwaZulu-Natal, and all of the above in Cape Town and Western Cape. Rain in Lowelda. The peak season begins.
Hot dry days are gaining strength, summer is officially preparing. The AFROPUNK Music Festival in Johannesburg is the perfect big start to the season of the city’s music festival.
Source: Travel site lonelyplanet.com