South Africa Weather Guide

With a sub-tropical location and lapped by 2 different oceans, South Africa enjoys a generally warm and temperate climate. Although it lies at a similar latitude to Australia, the climate tends to be cooler due to the higher elevation. The country is relatively dry and known for its abundance of sunshine with rain on the west coast during winter and during the summer months for the rest of South Africa. Generally, the coastal areas tend to be warmer than the interior.

Season and Clothing

Summer: Mid-October to Mid-February

During the long, hot summer season, thunderstorms can roll through in the afternoon although these clear quickly, except for Cape Town and the Western Cape where the rainfall happens during winter. Average temps range from around 16 to 26 degrees Celsius in both Johannesburg and Cape Town although the mercury can rise above 35 degrees Celsius. Summer is when locals get out of the cities and hit the beach, ride the waves and enjoy watersports in the sunshine.

Autumn: Mid-February to April

The relatively short autumn season is considered the ideal time to visit South Africa with little rain, warm temperatures without the heat of summer and cooler nights. Autumn is particularly pleasant in Cape Town where you can enjoy hot, sunny days and balmy nights outdoors. The more comfortable temperatures in the interior and the cape areas provide the perfect climate to get outdoors and tackle the national parks and hiking trails or enjoy a dive in the ocean.

Winter: May to July

A South African winter in the interior areas like Johannesburg can expect average temperatures of between 4 and 17 degrees Celsius, so it’s a good idea to bring layering clothes to combat the cold nights and accommodate the dry, crisp and sunny daytime with clear skies. Over on the Western Cape, the climate can be cloudy and rainy for days before clearing to sunny weather with average temps of 7 to 18 degrees Celsius. This is the season to see snow on the mountains.

Spring: August to Mid-October

In spring, South Africa really comes into bloom, literally. The Western Cape and Northern Cape is particularly beautiful where the Cape Floral Region is carpeted with colourful flowers across the plains, a sight that draws many South Africans yearly. September and October are also the optimal months for game viewing, hiking and whale watching off the coasts. The South African spring is generally characterised by calm, sunny days and cooler nights.