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The climate of South Africa
South Africa has several climate zones. The northern part, western part and large parts of central South Africa have relatively warm climate zones. The north western part has a warm desert climate. The northern part has a warm steppe climate. The western part and parts of central South Africa have a cold desert climate. The southern inland has a cold steppe climate. According to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification South Africa has types BWh, BWk, BSh and BSk. The eastern part and the coastline mostly have a land climate and a sea climate. Such as a moderate savannah climate (type Cwa), a moderate china climate (Type Cwb) and in some areas a cool china climate (Type Cwc). Along the coastline there is a sea climate Type Cfa (warm) and type Cfb (moderate). Many internet sites describe South Africa as subtropical. This is not entirely correct. During the winter large areas inland are too cold to have this type of classification.


Climate information of places and areas in South Africa
The climate information on this page is only brief. Specific information about weather and climate can be found on the climate pages per area or town. As for South Africa the following climate information is available:

Cape Town
East London
Polokwane / Pietersburg
Port Elizabeth
Somerset West
Sun City

Opposite seasons
South Africa is located in the southern hemisphere therefore it has opposite seasons to ours. When it is summer here it is winter in South Africa. When it is autumn here it is spring in South Africa and the other way around. During our cold winter months South Africa enjoys its summer. South Africa is a good destination to escape the cold. Who wants to go on a safari needs to bear in mind that local summer months are wetter and thus greener in most national parks. Trees and bushes flourish and the grasses stand tall. This makes animals hard to spot.

South Africa’s winter lasts from June to August. These are the coldest and driest months with the exception of the south western part (Cape). During the night and especially in the higher regions subzero temperatures and even snow are not uncommon. During the day temperatures rise to a mere 20 degrees Celsius. The warmest place during the winter is the north eastern part. During the coldest months Krugerpark still has maximum temperatures of 26-27 degrees Celsius on average. During the night temperatures may drop to a few degrees Celsius above zero. Whoever wants to enjoy a beach holiday during the winter has to go to the coastal places in the region of Kwazulu/Natal. Because of the warm Gulf Stream seawater remains pleasant with temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius. Outside temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius in combination with many hours of sunshine make for a pleasant stay during South Africa’s winter.

In South Africa the summer season lasts from December to February. In the north western part climate is hot during the summer. In the desert area on the eastern side of Namibia temperatures can reach 34 degrees Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius during the daytime. Temperatures are very warm in the most northern part near Zimbabwe as well. During this period Krugerpark is very warm (over 30 degrees Celsius) as well. There also is a fair chance of rain and humidity figures can get high. In the eastern part of South Africa the anopheles is active during this period. Malaria season lasts from October to May. The anopheles (malarial mosquito) is active in the eastern part from the borders of Botswana-Zimbabwe-South Africa to half way the coastal area between Swaziland and Durban. Krugerpark is included in this area and is the only national park in South Africa where you have the chance to get infected with this parasite.

Hurricanes hardly ever hit South Africa. Tropical storms and depressions lose too much strength when they go ashore in Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania. However, tornadoes are a real possibility. During the summer months of November, December and January the regions of Kwazulu/Natal and Gauteng there is a chance of these destructive winds.

Gulf Stream
South Africa’s west coast has a cold Gulf Stream that comes from the south west and is called the Benguela Current. The supply of cold sea water from the colder areas in the Atlantic Ocean is responsible for moderate temperatures along Cape South’s coast. There also is a higher chance of precipitation during the winter months. Along the coast a warm Gulf Stream comes from the north. The Agulhas Current supplies warm sea water along the coast via Mozambique to South Africa. Because of this the Kwazulu/Natal region is still pleasantly warm during the winter months.


Climate figures
The figures below are based on long term weather and climate records and are an average for South Africa. Note that local deviations may occur. Especially the amount of precipitation may vary. For climate information on specific regions and places please visit the pages on individual climate information for other places in South Africa.

temperature (°C)


temperature (°C)
hours of sunshine

average days with precipitation
per month
per month
temperature (°C)
January 30 18 9 10 23
February 29 17 8 9 23
March 26 15 8 9 22
April 23 13 8 8 21
May 21 10 7 7 20
June 20 8 7 5 19
July 19 5 8 4 18
August 20 6 8 5 18
September 22 9 8 8 19
October 23 12 8 9 19
November 26 14 9 11 21
December 29 17 9 11 22
= 0-5 mm ● = 6-30 mm ● = 31-60 mm ● = 61-100 mm ● = 101-200 mm ● = over 200 mm
= 0-0.2 inches ● = 0.2-1.2 inches ● = 1.2-2.4 inches ● = 2.5-4 inches ● = 4.1-8 inches ● = over 8 inches

More climate information
Climate figures are very useful but don’t present a general impression of the climate and the eventual weather circumstances within a certain period. The figures don’t always reflect the chance of wintry weather, extreme heat or hurricanes. That is why we monthly offer useful extra climate information. The information below is an average for South Africa, but it should be noted that local deviations may occur. Deviations are determined by the location you are in. North-south, inland-along the coast and your altitude.

chance of
(very) hot


chance of
(very) cool
chance of

chance of
chance of
sunny days


click here for the explanation of the symbols


The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. “More climate info” is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, it’s up to the reader to use it to it’s benefit.


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