South Africa is an exhilarating and complex country. With its post-apartheid identity still in the process of definition, there is undoubtedly an abundance of energy and a sense of progress about the place. Travellers are returning to a remarkable land that has been off the trail for way too long.
The infrastructure is constantly improving, the climate is kind and there are few better places to see Africa's wildlife. But if you want to understand South Africa, you'll have to deal with the full spectrum; poverty, the AIDS pandemic and violence remain a problem..
When To Go
South Africa can be visited comfortably any time. Winter (June to September) is cooler, drier and ideal for hiking and outdoor pursuits. This is also the best time for wildlife-watching. Spring is the best time to see vast expanses of Northern Cape carpeted with wildflowers.
More of a consideration than weather are school holidays when waves of vacation-hungry South Africans stream out of the cities, with visitors from Europe and North America adding to the crush. Accommodation is heavily booked, and prices can more than double. It's essential to book in advance. On the plus side, the high summer months offer some great festivals, including the Cape Town New Year Karnaval, and Swaziland's Incwala ceremony.
Climate,Since South Africa lies south of the equator, its seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. Midwinter occurs in June and July; midsummer occurs in December and January. The Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate with generally dry summers (October - March) when the temperature averages around 25°C - 30°C. Most of the annual rainfall is during winter (June – September). The Natal coast can be extremely humid in February with temperatures of around 30°C. On the highveld in summer, rain tends to fall in thundershowers. In the winter the nights are cold and crisp with the days warm and dry. In and around Johannesburg winter daytime temperatures average 15°C but the nights are cold and can go down as low as 0°C. Snow may fall over the Drakensberg and the Southern Cape mountains in winter. Overall, the best time to visit is between September and May.