Find the cheapest and most pleasant time to discover South Africa’s wildlife and beaches.
We looked up the weather, crowds and wildlife activities of South Africa to bring you the best months to travel to the country.
Best time to visit South Africa
April to October.
April to October is winter in South Africa, which is characterised by dry weather and also coincides with the low-season, making it an optimal time to visit weather-wise.
If you’re searching for specific activities, the winter months between June and September are ideal for outdoor pursuits as the weather is cool and dry.
As the vegetation is less leafy during these months, animals often gather around rivers and watering holes, so it’s also a good time to see wildlife.
To see the Northern cape plains covered in wildflowers, travel during spring (mid-September to October).
South Africa enjoys a temperate climate compared to most African countries and is magnificent at any time of the year. However, depending on what you plan to do, it’s worthwhile to follow the seasons.
The climate is characterised by four main seasons: spring (September – October), summer (November – March), autumn (April – May) and winter (June – August). April to October are the dry months of the year and the wet months begin in November and last till March.
In addition to the weather, you have to take into account school holidays. From mid-December to January, hordes of local vacationers flee from the cities to the national parks. The busiest time is Christmas, followed by the Holy Week in mid-January. During these holidays, accommodations in tourist areas and national parks are booked well in advance and prices can more than double.
Weather and prices
Best time to visit South Africa, weather-wise. April to October are the dry months in South Africa, but since winters are moderate, every season, except the wet season, offers comfortable temperatures and dry weather.
Cheapest time to visit South Africa. Prices are almost same throughout the year except for the holiday seasons of Christmas and Holy Week, which is also the time for school holidays. During this period, there is a surge in prices for accommodation, activities and flights.
Best time to visit South Africa for...
- Safari. South African animals stroll through nature reserves throughout the year, so any season is good to enjoy a safari. It may be easier to see the wildlife in the winter when less vegetation makes it harder for them to go unnoticed in the undergrowth. From mid-June to December you can observe southern right whales surrounding the South African coast.
- Beaches. If you are visiting South Africa to enjoy the pleasures of the sea, the weather is the opposite of the national parks. You have to avoid the winter (April to October) since the weather is too cold to dip into the water. However, from November to March, the Cape coast is a paradise.
- Bird-watching: Paleo-arctic migratory species arrive in November and intra-African flocks usually come in mid-October. Most species of birds return by February or March.
- Honeymoon: April to October is an ideal time for honeymooners due to smaller crowds, a pleasant climate and better opportunities to see the wildlife.