Best & Worst Times to Visit South Africa 2024/2025 for Safaris, Beaches...

By Cindy | Updated Jul. 6, 2023

South Africa is a popular tourist destination featuring an array of stunning landscapes, wildlife, and cultures. With diverse seasons throughout the year, the best time to visit South Africa can vary depending on your travel preferences.

While May to September is ideal for thrilling safaris, it might not be the optimal season for sun-soaked beach getaways.

Don't let unfavorable weather affect your annual or milestone trips. Join us as we dive into the nuances of timing your visit to South Africa, ensuring you make the most of its wildlife wonders, picturesque coastlines, and others you are interested in.

Content Preview

Quick Facts about South Africa's Weather and Climate

South Africa, situated in the southern hemisphere, boasts a climate that is diametrically opposed to that of the northern hemisphere. Furthermore, thanks to its rich diversity in geography, different parts of South Africa can display contrasting climatic conditions simultaneously, adding to the unique allure of the country. Have a quick look at South Africa's weather and climate.

  • Summer: November to March
  • Winter: June to August
  • Rainy season in Cape Town: May to September
  • Rainy season in Kruger: November to April
  • High season in Kruger: July to October

Best Times to Visit South Africa for a Safari

south africa safari

One of the top reasons people visit South Africa is to experience its incredible wildlife. The best season to go on safari in South Africa is May to September when it's dry and animals congregate around water sources, making them easy to spot. Clear skies and no need to shelter from the rain (for animals or visitors) are of course helpful factors too.

Kruger National Park is a top destination for safaris, and, as the dry season draws on, vegetation becomes sparser and sparser, and so animals become more visible. You'll have better chances of spotting lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards, buffalos, and zebras in the middle and end of the dry season.

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Trip Advisor 2024 certificate Tour Review

Best Times to Visit South Africa for Whale Watching

south africa whale watching

To witness the spectacular southern right whales in South Africa, plan your trip from June to October. However, it's optimal to visit between August to October when whale sightings are at their peak. The Hermanus Whale Festival also takes place during this season, usually in late September or early October.

During this time, these whales migrate from the Antarctic to the coast of South Africa to mate and calf. Besides Hermanus, False Bay, and Plettenberg Bay are the best places to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Best Times to Visit South Africa for Beach Holidays

south africa beach

The best times to visit South Africa for enjoying its beaches are during the summer months of December to February. During this time, you can enjoy the warm and sunny weather, perfect for relaxing on the beautiful beaches along the coastline.

This period is also the peak season when many travelers choose to travel to South Africa, resulting in increased costs and crowds. Contact us for an early booking to ensure availability and a competitive price.

Best Times for Smaller Crowds and Pleasant Weather

south africa

The peak tourist season in South Africa is from November to March, coinciding with the summer months, which are perfect for many (northern hemisphere) travelers who seek the warmer climes of the African continent for a winter respite. December and January get really busy since many local and school holidays happen during these months.

The South African winter, from June to August, is the travel off-season, bringing the lowest prices (except for safaris) and least crowds.

If you want to avoid the crowds and still enjoy pleasant weather, the best time to visit is in the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).

Worst Times to Visit South Africa

The worst times for you to visit South Africa largely depend on your interests and preferences. Generally, the months of January and February can be uncomfortably hot and humid, especially in the northern parts of the country.

Additionally, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal regions are susceptible to heavy rainfall during the summer months. If you're planning on visiting the Cape Peninsula, the winter months (June to August) can also be quite rainy and cold.

Taking a private tour would make your trip easier and more worry-free at any time, but is especially helpful in the bad weather months.

Month-by-Month Guidance for Travelling in South Africa

Click the sign of each month to check the travel guide information.

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

South Africa Weather in January: Hot and Dry

January is an ideal time for beach holidays anywhere along the South African coast. Cape Town and the Western Cape are hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30°C (77 to 86°F).

Kruger National Park experiences high temperatures, typically from 30 to 35°C (86 to 95°F), but be prepared for occasional rainstorms. Game viewing in the park can be a bit challenging, but it's a quieter time with lush greenery and adorable baby animals.

Weather in South Africa Tourism Areas

  • Cape Town
  • Johannesburg
  • Durban
  • Knysna
  • Kruger
  • Plettenberg Bay
  • Stellenbosch
  • The Battlefields
  • The Drakensberg
  • The Kalahari

Cape Town Monthly Weather

Month High Low Rainfall
January 26ºC /79ºF 16°C / 61°F 15 mm / 1 in
February 26ºC /79ºF 16ºC /61ºF 17 mm / 1 in
March 25ºC /77ºF 15ºC /59ºF 20 mm / 1 in
April 23ºC /73ºF 13ºC /55ºF 41 mm / 2 in
May 20ºC /68ºF 11ºC /52ºF 69 mm / 3 in
June 18ºC /64ºF 9ºC /48ºF 93 mm / 4 in
July 18ºC /64ºF 8ºC /46ºF 82 mm / 3 in
August 18ºC /64ºF 9ºC /48ºF 73 mm / 3 in
September 19ºC /66ºF 10ºC /50ºF 47 mm / 2 in
October 20ºC /68ºF 11ºC /52ºF 31 mm / 1 in
November 22ºC /72ºF 13ºC /55ºF 14 mm / 1 in
December 25ºC /77ºF 15ºC /59ºF 17 mm / 1 in

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

9-Day Tanzania Family Safari with Serengeti 12-Day Kenya Best Safari Tour with Amboseli 9-Day Kenya Active Family Private Safari Tour 12-Day Kenya and Tanzania Best Safari Tour

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

10 Days in South Africa: 5 Incredible Itineraries for First-Timers 2024 How to Plan a Safari in South Africa: 5 Easy Steps How to Choose the Right Safari Destination in South Africa 2024/2025 How Long Should You Spend in South Africa? - Itinerary Ideas from 1-2 Weeks
We are here to help you...
start planning your tailor-made trip with 1-1 help from our travel advisors.
Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Where Can We Take You Today?

Global Highlights logo
tour review Rated 4.6 out of 5 | Excellence
China Highlights International
Travel Service Co., LTD
Featured on
Global Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China