Season Guide To South Africa: When Is It Best To Check The Top Sights?

The rugged land of South Africa with its incredible diversity brings you back to the most primal forms of nature. Wilderness that runs free, scenery that rises from dramatic backdrops, vineyards, snow-peaked mountains and much more await you.

Quite simply, South Africa is incredible. A country that so effortlessly caters to all types of travelers is on top of almost every traveler’s bucket li list. With its beautiful beaches, enticing safaris, primal jungles, and golden savannahs – South Africa is perfect for everyone. From the adventure seeker to the luxury traveler! Adrenaline-inducing activities? Check. Sipping wine in a vineyard? Check. Following the footsteps of a lion in a savannah? Check! Lazing by a beach? Yup, check too!

Whether you want to jump off a bridge or get lost in Cape Town’s wonderfully colorful streets – there’s always something to do. With the world of adventure at your disposal, it may be quite overwhelming trying to figure out the best time to visit South Africa and that’s completely understandable. South Africa is a piece of this great continent that you can enjoy almost any time of the year.

South Africa is also a year round destination, so no mater when you decide to travel, you’re always bound to find something to do. In this article I will talk about when you will enjoy which SA activity the most; from visiting national parks, to eating, to safaris and etc. Of course, the best time to visit completely depends on what you want to do.

Best Time to Visit

What is the climate like?

South Africa has two main regions – the northern and the southern region, and both have differing weathers. The winter months are different from what you’d be used to if you live in the U.S or Europe, for example, as the winter months are May-August and the summer months are from November to March.

This makes it the ultimate “winter vacation” where you can enjoy hot weather mid-January if you’re looking for an escape from the freezing cold.

In winter:

The winter months are mild and are superb times to fit in some wild-life watching in your schedule. South Africa is known for its incredible game-viewing experiences, from Kruger Park to Kgalagadi. For the best time possible, visit from August to October.

Spring and autumn:

Both seasons enjoy sunny weather, and warm atmospheres, and are great shoulder months to visit in. The crowds are a lot smaller, and the rates are not as expensive as the peak seasons.

Summer:

Of course, there is no doubt that the best time to visit is during the summer. You can watch whales, enjoy the beaches, and do all the activities without having to worry about the weather.

Main Activities and When to go for each.

Best time to go on a safari!

A lot of people go to South Africa for the sole purpose of enjoying some of the best game-viewing experiences in the world. There is something about being surrounded by miles of endless bush, and knowing you’re right there in the wild. The national parks are some of the best in the world, with animals roaming freely, striking backdrops of limitless savannahs and much more.

The best time to go on a safari is definitely during the dry season. This season runs from May to October. The weather is generally and most importantly does not experience any rain. You’ll be met with clear skies, and even clearer game-viewing. This is due to the fact that there’s generally less greenery and bush, so game-spotting is made a lot easier.

You’ll also find that this is not the wet season for South Africa, so you’ll be experiencing more dry weather and more comfortable and convenient safari rides, along with safer driving conditions. There will be less insects, less heat, less rain, and more wildlife to view – an overall win-win situation!

Best time to visit Cape Town

The best thing about Cape Town, South Africa’s most famous and definitely most vibrant city, is that it’s a year-round destination. There are endless things to do and seasons don’t really differ in terms of things you can do.

The best time to go is definitely during November to February. This is the peak tourist season with the best, warmest weather. You’ll have the chance to explore the outdoors, hike up Table Mountain, explore the city on foot, revel in the vibrant colors of the buildings or even go to a beach!

The best thing about Cape Town is that it’s near so many of the other attractions – so you can ether take road trips to wine lands or fly with flysafair to nearby cities.

Needless to say, however, this is also the most expensive season so if you’re trying to save money, try to avoid the peak tourist season.

Best time to visit the wine lands

Apart from South Africa’s ravishing scenery, its natural attractions, its safaris and its bustling towns, the country is blessed with the ultimate wine lands. Bright sunshine coupled with a glass of wine and being surrounded by striking mountain backdrops sounds like a dream – but South Africa is blessed with dozens of those wine lands!

The two best times to visit the pinelands are:

  • Between March and May due to the autumn harvest in the southern hemisphere.
  • The summer months from November until January.

Visiting in winter may not be as rewarding as you want it to be, as the weather is usually cool and wet.

Best time to for wildflower blooms

You don’t need to be a flower lover or a flora-enthusiast to enjoy the wildflower blooms in South Africa. An almost magical phenomena; you will be able to see an unreal explosion of colors as the blooms roll over vast swaths. The best time to see the sea of colors and the blooming of thousands of flowers is between July and September. The blooms are dependent on rain, however, so make sure you check the weather forecast before you book your trip.

Best time for whale watching

If you want to watch whales in their natural habitat and get enamored with their majestic presence in South Africa, then go in winter or spring.

To watch the southern right whale: go from June to November
For the humpback whale: Go from May to December.
For the Bryde whale: you can go anytime of the year.

If you want to swim with a shark, make sure you go when the water is warm, so time your trip from December to April.

To witness the unbelievable Sardine Run and witness one of the most magical underwater events – go from June to August!

The best thing about South Africa is the fact that it’s a year-round destination with plenty of things to do all year. No matter the time you decide to travel in, you’ll always find something to do. Whether it be diving with sharks or relaxing with a glass of wine – South Africa caters to all your travel needs.

Shelia