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Weather & climate

South Africa: Weather & climate

The best time to visit South Africa's Cape

We're often asked “When is the best time to go to South Africa's Cape?", and the answer is often complex. It will depend on many things including your interests, exactly where you want to visit and why you're travelling. One person's best time can be another's worst!

However, often a concern about the weather underlies the question of 'the best time to go'.

So below is a broad guide to the climate of the Cape of South Africa. Please remember that this is a completely different pattern to the weather of the rest of South Africa – and that it comes from records and our experience, not from a crystal ball. Weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable, probably due to global warming; we're seeing downpours in the middle of deserts and damaging droughts when rains should be falling.

The southern Cape has its own weather pattern that's totally different from anywhere else in Africa – and indeed this explains why the Cape's flora is so unique! From around November to March, whilst it rains in the rest of southern Africa, the Cape is hot, sunny, dry, and generally perfect for a holiday. Christmas and New Year are lovely in the Cape, although as the result it gets exceedingly busy with South Africans spending their holidays here.

From around April to August it cools down and there's some rain. During these months it can be beautiful and dry one moment, but blustery and wet the next. Rainfall peaks around June and July but the Cape's weather is notoriously changeable; locals say that you can have 'four seasons in one day'. Despite this, the Cape is still pleasant to visit, just as long as you aren't expecting to sunbathe all day.

By September and October, the rain becomes a less common event; the sun comes out more and the temperatures rise again. September is the start of the Cape's 'spring', when vast swathes of the open fynbos bursts into flower in Namaqualand (north of Cape Town).

Note that the northern Cape, including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, follows Botswana's weather pattern similar: it's very different from the southern Cape.

Weather in other African countries

For comparison, see similar climate charts and information for our other African destinations:

Botswana climate – Completely different weather pattern from the Cape’s.
Kenya climate – Completely different weather pattern from the Cape’s.
Malawi climate – Very different weather pattern to the Cape’s.
Mozambique climate – In some ways an ‘opposite’ weather pattern than the Cape’s.
Namibia climate – Completely ‘opposite’ weather pattern from Seychelles.
Rwanda climate – Very different weather pattern than the Cape’s.
Seychelles climate – Very different weather pattern than the Cape’s.
Tanzania climate – Different weather pattern from the Cape’s.
Zambia climate – Completely different weather pattern from the Cape’s.
Zanzibar climate – Very different weather pattern from the Cape’s.
Zimbabwe climate – Complete ‘opposite’ weather pattern to the Cape’s.
<b>January</b>: nice and hot month.
<b>February</b>: the hottest month of the year.
<b>March</b>: the last hot and relatively dry month.
<b>April</b>: temperature cools down and the rain level increases.
<b>May</b>: a wet month with temperature  dropping.
<b>June</b>: the wettest month of the year.
<b>July</b>: a rainy month; nights can be cold.
<b>August</b>: can be beautiful and dry one moment, but blustery and wet the next.
<b>September</b>: is the start of the Cape's 'spring'; rain becomes a less common event.
<b>October</b>: temperature rises again and the rain gets less.
<b>November</b>: the best time to visit starts.
<b>December</b>:  a very fresh, green month; some rain but also lots of clear weather.

January: nice and hot month.

February: the hottest month of the year.

March: the last hot and relatively dry month.

April: temperature cools down and the rain level increases.

May: a wet month with temperature dropping.

June: the wettest month of the year.

July: a rainy month; nights can be cold.

August: can be beautiful and dry one moment, but blustery and wet the next.

September: is the start of the Cape's 'spring'; rain becomes a less common event.

October: temperature rises again and the rain gets less.

November: the best time to visit starts.

December: a very fresh, green month; some rain but also lots of clear weather.

Our top picks for holidays to South Africa

We'll always tailor-make your trip for you. Here are some of our favourites to inspire you.


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Cape Genet Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Enjoy fine-dining in Cape Town, whale-watching in Hermanus, and a range of walking and water-based activities throughout De Hoop’s Nature Reserve, the Klein Karoo and Plettenberg. This relaxed self-driven safari concludes with stays in The Winelands and Namaqualand.

US$3,010 - US$3,960 per person

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Cape Grysbok Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Explore Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Namaqualand, amongst other memorable destinations, during this leisurely self-driven safari. Fine dining, varied activities and impressively comfortable lodges, estates and country houses await.

US$3,960 - US$6,560 per person

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Bontebok Self-drive Safari

12 days • 5 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

This varied and great-value self-drive trip visits Cape Town, the Winelands and diverse sections of the Garden Route, staying at great places with real local character. It’s ideal for active couples and families who want to explore the Cape’s stunning locations.

US$1,430 - US$1,760 per person

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Waterbuck self-drive

12 days • 6 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

A classic Cape and Garden Route self-drive taken at a leisurely pace and staying in charming boutique hotels. Great food and wine paired with spectacular scenery and an exciting array of activities.

US$2,460 - US$3,060 per person

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Cape Mountain Zebra Self-drive Safari

12 days • 4 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a wide of range of leisurely activities make this a superbly comfortable self-driven safari. Visit the cosmopolitan Cape Town, tranquil coastal retreats, stylish wine farms and spectacularly peaceful nature reserves.

US$3,730 - US$6,910 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,350 - US$3,850 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$14,370 - US$18,240 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$12,260 - US$18,050 per person

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Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations
PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the "Big 5" during exploration of the Eastern Cape.

US$2,880 - US$4,490 per person

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

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