13 Dec THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO SOUTHERN AFRICA
Our guidelines are mostly determined by the weather and related seasonal activities.
Important to note:
- Climate change is making these seasons less definitive.
- There are always “out of season” adventures!
- Most Southern African locations exhibit Tropical or Temperate climates but Cape Town is sometimes singled out due to its Mediterranean climate that deeply influences seasonal activities.
NOVEMBER TO FEBRUARY
The summer is hot, but invites a wide range of outdoor holiday fun. Most of Southern Africa experiences a wet summer, but this is Cape Town’s dry season. Pack sunscreen and stay hydrated!
- Beach holidays
- Birdwatching in the Caprivi Strip (Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
- Scuba diving and snorkeling in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
- Whale sharks and turtle spotting
- Music festivals
- Road trips on the Garden Route (Cape Town)
- Game viewing – Lush foliage, tall grass, and good water supplies make animal tracking and spotting difficult
- Hiking – Avoid hikes in the heat of the day or when it’s raining
- Camping – Avoid areas that experience high rainfall and may be at risk of flooding
MARCH TO MAY
The milder weather in the fall makes it a favorite for visitors and locals alike. This fringe season may offer reduced rates for select destinations.
- Scuba diving in the Indian Ocean
- Viewing the Victoria Falls at their peak (and enjoy low season rates!)
- Mana Pools (Zimbabwe) reopens in April, looking lush after the rains
- Endurance events: Cape Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathon
- Cape Town Jazz Festival
- Cape Winelands – It’s not all about the wine or harvest festivals! This is South Africa’s Cuisine Capital, with magnificent landscapes and plenty of artisanal markets..
- Surfing and less crowded beaches
- Low/green season rates for the Okavango Delta (Botswana)
JUNE TO OCTOBER
The dry winters are ideal for safaris across Southern Africa. The mild daytime temperatures are a pleasure (especially in the desert areas), but be prepared for very cold nights and mornings. Low season rates are available in many regions.
- Game viewing and wildlife photography – Wildlife is easy to spot around waterholes and within sparse vegetation
- Mokoro boat rides on the Okavango Delta – The rains would have stopped but the water levels will be high making the area teem with wildlife
- Mozambiquan beach experiences
- Exploring the desert dunes, Etosha salt pan, and the Kalahari bushveld of Namibia
- Whale watching
- Shark spotting and cage diving
- Hiking in the Drakensberg
- Better visibility of Victoria Falls (especially between August – September)
BEST FROM AUGUST
- White water rafting on the Zambezi
- Spring wildflowers along the Cape West Coast
- Victoria Falls activities like water rafting and the Devil’s Pool swim are often closed between May and July
- Some hiking trails in the Western Cape may be closed due to the rains