When is a good time to travel to South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is a year-round destination. The best time to visit South Africa will depend on where you want to go and what you want to do. Temperatures vary depending on where you are in the country, with the north seeing warmer temperatures than the south. The Western Cape is well-known for its wet seasons in winter, while the KwaZulu-Natal shoreline offers warmer, more equatorial conditions.

Between May and October is the best time to go on safari. Winter days are good for wildlife tracking because they are dry and clear. You will need to carry some warm clothing for the cooler nights. During these months, wildlife also prefers to congregate around reliable water sources, making game viewing more predictable.

The rainy season in Cape Town occurs during the winter months, with the wettest days falling between June and August. The rest of the country’s rainy season comes during the summer, with the peak precipitation amounts occurring from November to March.

Planning is essential for travelling to South Africa.

Kruger National Park and surrounding areas

The Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest national parks, covering an area about the size of Wales and boasting an astonishing range of landscapes and species. The Kruger National Park and The Great Kruger area is a year-round destination. Game viewing is often regarded the best during the dry winter months of May to September, when the vegetation thins out and declining quantity of water cause game to be drawn out into the open and any remaining waterholes to be teeming with wildlife.

DRY SEASON –  May to September

Plus SymbolWildlife is easier to spot because there is less vegetation and animals gather around rivers and waterholesMinus SymbolIt gets cold at night and in the mornings
Plus SymbolLittle to no rain and most days are sunny
Plus SymbolLow season and parks are not crowded, except for Kruger during school holidays

WET SEASON – October to April

Plus SymbolAfter the first rains, the scenery turns green and all looks freshMinus SymbolWildlife viewing can be quite slow since the bush is thicker and wildlife is more difficult to spot
Plus SymbolBest time for bird watching, and migratory birds are presentMinus SymbolIt gets very hot in December, January and February, and parks get crowded during the main school holidays in Decembe
Plus SymbolRains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom interfere with your trip

Cape Town and surrounding areas

In contrast to the rest of South Africa, Cape Town and the Western Cape region has a Mediterranean climate, with the winter months being wet and cool, the summer months hot and dry.

DRY SEASON –  May to September

Plus SymbolLow season with few visitors aroundMinus SymbolIt is cold for beach and general holiday activities
Plus SymbolAlthough it is the Wet season, there are many sunny daysGame drives in open vehicles are bitterly cold
Plus SymbolWildlife viewing in the Cape Region parks is good year-round

WET SEASON – October to April

Plus SymbolPleasant warm weather with little rainMinus SymbolIt gets busy in high season
Plus SymbolBest time to enjoy Cape Town and the Garden Route
Plus SymbolWildlife viewing in the Cape Region parks is good throughout the year
Plus SymbolIt is less cold on game drives

When to visit South Africa

Most parks and game reserves provide wildlife watching all year, however game-viewing is better during the dry season when animals is easier to see. The northern parks of South Africa, such as Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park gets quite hot from December to February, therefore it’s best to visit during the colder months.

Green DotOrange DotYellow DotRed DotWhen to go on an African Safari
Kruger National ParkRed Dotdot-red-b94e00dot-red-b94e00Red DotYellow Dotdot-orange-f29f23dot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02Orange DotYellow Dot
Cape TownGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotYellow DotYellow DotYellow DotOrange Dotdot-light-green-388d02Green DotGreen Dot