South Africa > When to Travel & Seasons

South Africa

  • Roger and Jean from California, USA travelled to South Africa, Botswana and ZambiaHello Michele, we want to thank you for organising our extraordinary safari adventure in Southern Africa. Everything that we had planned worked seamlessly and efficiently in all three countries, including eleven airplanes (+helicopter), multiple lodges and hotels over nearly three weeks. We saw and experienced everything we could imagine for Africa and came home exhilarated (and healthy). A special delight were the staff at all the lodges in Botswana, who seemed so happy to meet with us, spend personal time with us, and treated us like honoured family guests. Our game viewing drives covered all manner of terrain and close up encounters with so many animals and birds in their natural surroundings, that we took over 900 photographs combined. The expert and knowledgeable guides soon became new friends. The food and accommodations were first class and individually special everywhere. We were busy the whole time, and the places you chose presented an exotic variety of experiences.
    Some additional comments that did not detract from our delightful safari:
    * Night game drives with searchlights were OK, but somehow seemed intrusive and not too productive.

    * Nights and predawn drives were indeed cold despite hot water bottles, lush bedcovers, and vehicle blankets so we were happy to be there in June not August. We came well prepared with warm clothes, scarves and gloves and needed them on highway game drives – we were surprised how cold those cottages with screens, Kanana and Okuti, were at night and early morning. The low temperature was 0 degrees Centigrade one morning and no higher than 10 degrees on other days.

    * Victoria falls was extraordinary but so full of mist that a later date would have been better (my error). The helicopter ride provided an expanded view, but seemed rather expensive.
    Again, we congratulate Safari Consultants, for a complex network of arrangements between camps and transport operations that works flawlessly without delays across countries, rivers, airports etc.
    We have recommended Safari consultants to all our friends here, and to our families in the UK.Roger and Jean from California, USA travelled to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia

    Roger and Jean from California, USA travelled to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia
Franschhoek views, Cape Winelands, South AfricaKaroo Desert at Samara, South AfricaNamaqualand flowers, South AfricaSpotted eagle owl, South AfricaSpringbok sunset, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South AfricaWalking safari, northern Kruger, South AfricaWhale-watching in Hermanus, South AfricaWinelands view, Franschhoek, South Africa

South Africa

When to Travel & Seasons

South Africa is split into two main climatic zones.

The north of the country, including Johannesburg, the Kruger National Park, Limpopo Province, Kalahari Desert, Durban and northern KwaZulu Natal, is influenced by a sub-tropical climate and receives most rainfall during the warmer summer months from November to March. Temperatures can soar to 40C at this time, especially in the ‘lowveld’ areas of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu/Natal, and it can also be very humid near the coast.

It is usually ‘dry’ from April through to October, and the main winter period runs from May to August. During this time, altitude plays an important factor with temperatures. Along the coast, days are usually warm, but nights can be quite cool. On the ‘highveld’ areas (the Kalahari, areas around Gauteng, and some of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces), whilst daytime temperatures can reach the high ‘teens’, night temperatures can drop well below freezing and snow can fall on the mountains. September and October see a rapid increase in temperatures as summer approaches.

The south of the country, including Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, Cederberg Mountains, Hermanus, the Karoo Desert, Garden Route, Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape, has a more temperate climate and receives most rainfall during the winter months, from April to October. Weather can be extremely varied during this time, swinging from beautifully crisp sunny days to miserable wet and windy conditions. Temperatures are not usually too cold, but snow does often fall on the mountains and on freezing temperatures are recorded. During the summer months, from November to March, there is little rain and day time temperatures can reach 40C, particularly away from the coast in the Karoo.

The best time to visit Cape Town and the south of the country is therefore November to March, when you can expect warm, dry weather. In the north of the country, it rather depends on your interests and priorities, but the best safari season is technically during the dry season from May to October, when game-viewing conditions are really good. However, the quality of game-viewing in the private reserves of northern South Africa is much less affected by season and weather conditions than in much of the rest of Africa, and therefore it is possible to enjoy a very successful safari all year round.