South Africa is a large and diverse country with a climate that varies from region to region: Cape Town and the Western Cape experiences winter rainfall (June to August) and a largely bone-dry hot summer while much of the rest of the country, including the Kruger Park area, have heavy summer thundershowers (December to March) and a dry winter period from May to October. The Garden Route and Eastern Cape on the other hand can experience rain at any time of year.
Our “when to go” guidelines are based on the best time to visit South Africa’s top attractions:
The drier winter months between May and October is the best time for superb game viewing on a South Africa safari in Kruger, Madikwe, Pilanesberg and KwaZulu-Natal as animals are concentrated around water sources and are easier to spot in the thinned-out bush.
For a Cape Town beach holiday you simply can’t beat the hot summer months between November and March – although book your accommodation early if you want to visit over Christmas or New Year.
The KwaZulu-Natal coast has year-round sunshine, a beautifully mild winter and warm ocean temperatures so any time is a good time.
If you want to see whales in the south-western Cape on the aptly named Whale Coast then visit between June and November, although numbers are at their peak in September.
For more information on when to go on a South Africa holiday, use our detailed climate guide below.