When is the best time to travel to South Africa?

There’s no easy answers to the question of when the best time is to visit South Africa, as all seasons have their positive and negative elements. It simply depends on what one is looking for and what one wants to do.


Safari is good all year round, but the best time to travel is during winter and spring, say from May to October. There’s less vegetation, which makes it easier to spot the animals, and because it doesn’t rain, there’s less and less water available for the animals, so they seek out the watering holes.

Along the west coast we are each year treated to a great show, when the first rain of spring falls and transforms this dry and rather barren landscape into a fireworks of bright colours, when the ground is covered in flowers. It’s impossible to say when this annual flower parade will occur, but the safest bet is probably August – September.

South Africa has a long coastline and both the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean offer wonderful adventures. Beach life is perfect in KwaZulu-Natal all through the year with warm and sunny conditions, even in the middle of winter. But if sun and sea is most important to you, you should travel between November and February.

From mid-June to November is the best time for whale watching and for scuba diving the period from April to September is the best choice for most coastal areas, except perhaps for the coast off Western Cape.

Diving with Great White Sharks is something that can be done all throughout the year, but the best time is during the winter months. From when the baby seals are born in November and through to March, there is so much “natural” food for the sharks that it’s more difficult to attract them to the boat, which reduces the chances to experience sharks up close.

And if you don’t want to travel when all South Africans have their vacation you should avoid December and January.

In short – every season has something to offer and there are of course no bad time of the year to travel to South Africa!