Climate South Africa

South Africa's climate, just as the country itself, can be desribed as being very diverse. South Africa receives lots of sunshine hours throughout the year, which makes it an ideal holiday destination. On this page you will find all relevant information about South Africa's climate and the best time for travelling.

climate information south africa

Due to its location south of the equator South Africa's summer starts in December and winter in June. Altough the country is huge in size, its climate is relatively uniform and temperate. This especially applies for temperatures inland, mainly due to the fact that on lower latitude areas the average height is more than in the south of the country. Average temperatures in Cape Town measure about 16.5 dregrees centigrade, whereas an everage temperature of 16.2 degrees centigrade is recorded for Johannesburg.

The warmest area is the eastern coast with an average temperatur of 20.6 degrees centrigrade in Durban. During the day average summer temperatures in Durban rise to about 27 degrees centigrade, in winter to about 22 degrees centigrade. Temperatures on the west coast are kept lower by the cold current that originates from the South Pole. Average temperatures on the east coast are kept higher by the warm Agulhas current. The hottest month inland is January whereas the hottest month on the coast in February. Even in winter it still is around 20 degrees centigrade is in most places. In the northern parth of the country October and November are the hottest months due to summer rains. In the northern part of the interior frost occurs frequently, in the mountainous southeast even more than 100 nights annually. Due to low low humidity levels there is often no more than a thin layer of snow.

Two thirds of South Afrifa receives less than 500 mm rainfall per year. Most rain comes down in South African summer when moist air from the Indian Ocean flows inland. In contrast, Cape Town receives most of its rain between June and September. Rainshowers come in the form of short bursts after which the sun shows itself quickly again. The area west of the eastern mountain ranges receives the least rain, the rest of the country receives a pretty a steady rainfall at about 1000 mm per annum. An exception is the southern part of the country where most rain falls in winter and results in a temperate rainy climate. The southern eastcoast has very dry winters. Towards the west the country becomes drier and in the central part of the country a steppe (or semi-arid) climate dominates (with approximatly 100 mm of rain the Kalahari Desert). In cities like Bloemfontein and Kimberley -in the centre of South Africa- temperatures of 30 dregrees centigraden and more are very common.

The average number of hours of sunshine is very high and is comparable to the number of hours on the Iberian Peninsula. Madrid receives an avarage of 2910 sunshine hours per annum and Lisbon about 2740 hours. In South Africa, Cape Town and Pretoria record an average of 2980 and 3240 sunshine hours per year respectively. Coastal cities in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces receive 300 hours of sunshine more than the Canary Islands.

Beste Reistijd Zuid Afrika

South Africa typically is a holiday destination that can be visited throughout the year. You will encounter the most pleasant temperatures in late spring and early autumn when it is not uncomfortably hot. South Africa's winter months (our summer) are still very pleasant for travelling. The northeastern part of the country (around Kruger National Park) can get quite cold during the nights and early mornings, but daytime temperatures quickly climb to an ideal 20 degrees centigrade. As additional advantage of travelling in winter is that the vegetation in the national parks and game reserves is less dense, somthing that makes game viewing a whole lot easier. The Western Cape can be rather rainy during the winter months and as such this doesn't make a very good period when you're looking for a beach holiday. In South African summer the Western Cape is perfect for these purposes: temperatures will climb to about 30 degrees centigrade. The northeastern part of South African can become very hot in summer. We do advise to book a rentar car and rooms equipped with air conditioning. The coast of KwaZulu Natal (Durban and around St Lucia) has a subtropical climate: temperatures roughly show the same values year round.

Back to previous page or read more about our suggested luxury South Africa holidays

South Africa Chic! video

View our inspirational video

Did you know?

South Africa's highest recorded temperature touched the 50 degrees centigrade mark? This temperature was recorded in Dunbrody (near Addo Elephant National Park) in the Eastern Cape, on 3 July 1918. The all time lowest temperature was also recorded in the Eastern Cape: on 28 June 1996 a temperature of minus 18.6 degrees centigrade was indicated on thermometers in the town of Molteno.

Share this page: