If there is one destination that has everything from vibrant wildlife to breathtaking scenery and rich culture, South Africa is it. The nature and terrain of the country makes it a photographer’s haven; the beaches, national parks, exquisite hotels, sights and sounds make it the perfect destination for honeymooners and holidaymakers alike.
You can visit South Africa all year round, but here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding the best time to go on South Africa safari.
Seasons in South Africa
South Africa experiences the four seasons, albeit in different months compared to the northern hemisphere of the globe. Winter in South Africa comes from June to August, spring from September to November, summer from December to March, and fall from April to May. South African winters usually have dry, sunny days and cold nights, so carry some warm clothing for your trip.
Springtime can be a bit windy, but it becomes comfortably warm and calm in most regions; however, the coasts and low-veldt areas can get quite humid.
Rain and thunderstorms are to be expected during the South African summer, and when they come after a day of heat and sun, be prepared to savor the fresh, earthy smell in the air. Only the Western Cape does not receive any rainfall in the summer months, but it pours during the winter.
Autumn offers arguably the best weather of all, particularly in Cape Town where the hot days are followed by warm nights, so you can spend some lovely, romantic evenings in outdoor cafés.
Regions and the Seasons
Most travelers will agree that the winter is perfect for watching wildlife in South Africa, but it is also ideal for enjoying the beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal coast, which is warm, sunny, and with nearly no rain or wind. For some spectacular landscape photographs, do visit the mountains of the Cape to capture the fresh snowfall in the winter.
The Cape provinces are spectacular in the spring, when the desert flowers of Namaqualand in the west and north all come into their bloom and carpet the vast plains with beautiful colors. Apart from the bloom, many agree that the major attraction for the flower season in South Africa is serenity: you will revel in the peace, calmness and beauty of the gorgeous flowers in bloom.
If you’re looking to go hiking, visit South Africa in the spring and fall seasons when the temperature and humidity are perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Water sports enthusiasts can also have a fantastic time diving and surfing; white water rafting can be done in the Cape at the end of winter (August-September), or in KwaZulu-Natal in the peak of the summer (November to mid-February).
Birdwatchers should ideally visit South Africa between November and October, when the migrating birds arrive from the Arctic and other regions of Africa. If you’d love to catch the southern right whales just off the coast, plan your trip between mid-June and the end of October- plenty of time to enjoy all that the beautiful land of South Africa has to offer.