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The best time to visit Cape Town – locals’ tips

The best time to visit Cape Town – locals’ tips

The best time to visit Cape Town – locals’ tips

When is the best time to visit Cape Town? It depends on what your want to do and to see in the Mother City. For a beach holiday, the hot summer months are the best time. If you want to enjoy fields of flowers and trees in blossom then spring is the best season to visit. Whenever you decide to come you’ll find plenty of exciting activities to do and interesting places to visit in Cape Town.

Spring blossom in Cape Town, best time to visit the city
Jacaranda trees blossom in November, our favorite time to visit Cape Town

Best weather months to visit Cape Town

Month Av. day temperature Daylight hours Rainy days Av.wind speed
January 25°C 10,6 2 23 km/h
February 26°C 10 2 22 km/h
March 24°C 8,8 3 19 km/h
April 22°C 8 4 15 km/h
May 19°C 6,7 7 13 km/h
June 16°C 6,4 8 13 km/h
July 16°C 6,6 7 14 km/h
August 16°C 6,8 7 15 km/h
September 18°C 7,7 6 17 km/h
October 20°C 9 5 19 km/h
November 22°C 10 4 21 km/h
December 24°C 10,8 3 22 km/h
Average temperature, rainfalls, and wind in Cape Town throughout the year, month by month

You can check the current weather in Cape Town HERE.

Visiting Cape Town in spring

Pros

  • Pleasant weather 
  • Not too busy and crowded
  • Accommodation prices are lower than during the summer season
  • No need to plan and book everything long ahead
  • Spring blossom; beautiful jacaranda trees, flowers

Cons (not many here)

  • It might still be rainy and chilly (mostly in September)

Spring is our favorite time of the year in Cape Town. It’s the best time for a honeymoon in South Africa. September is still a rainy and chilly month but it’s the best time to see the flower fields of the Namaqualand. The region looks desert-like for the most part of the year but after heavy winter rains, it turns into a colorful flower carpet with orange and yellow dominating the landscape. 

From mid-October, it gets warm and sunny in Cape Town. It’s too late to see the flower fields but in time for some outdoor activities. September and October are good months to see Southern Right whales in Hermanus, a town a couple of hours drive from Cape Town.

November is a great pretty much summer month in the city. It’s one of our favorite months to spend in Cape Town. We usually come back in November after months of traveling. Why is November great? For several reasons. First of all, the weather; it’s warm but not too hot and not as windy as it gets in the summer months. Second, it’s before the December holiday when everything starts getting crazy busy with both international and local travelers. In November you can enjoy all benefits of summer without crowds. Third, it’s when you can see Cape Town its parks and gardens at their best; green, in blossom, and covered in flowers.

Best spring activities

  • Watching flowers in the Namaqualand (September)
  • Hiking, there are many amazing hiking trails in Cape Town to explore.
  • Watching whales in Hermanus (September)
  • Doing scenic drives around Cape Town
Spring blossom in Cape Town
Fields covered in spring flowers in the Namaqualand near Cape Town

Visiting Cape Town in summer

Pros

  • It’s hot and sunny
  • It’s a great summer escape from winter (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere)
  • Instead of cold Christmas, you can have a beach December holiday

Cons

  • It gets very windy so windy that sometimes you can even go to the beach
  • It’s extremely busy especially during December – January when it’s summer vacation in South Africa
  • Some days are very hot and windy not the best weather for outdoor activities like hiking.

Summer months December, January, and February is the hottest time in Cape Town. Day temperatures can go over 30°C but thanks to the strong south-east wind, it doesn’t feel that hot. 

December is the craziest month in Cape Town, especially the second half. It gets really busy once the school summer holidays start which is usually from 16th December. If you do decide to come at that time consider booking accommodation and activities in advance. Be ready to spend a lot of time queueing to access some of the must-visit places in Cape Town e.g. the Cable Car up Table Mountain. Buying your cable car ticket in advance will reduce the waiting time.

Keep in mind the traffic not in Cape Town itself but on the roads out of the city. A drive from Cape Town along the East Coast to Hermanus or a road trip on the Garden Route might be spoiled by getting stuck for hours in the hectic traffic. Wine estates around Cape Town are getting very busy too. If you want to do wine tasting in Stellenbosch be prepared for lining up. 

In January things start calming down. After 10th January kids go back to school and their parents go back to work. There are still a lot of international tourists but overall it’s far less busy than December. So January is a good month to come if you want to enjoy hot summer weather. January is the windiest month in Cape Town. 

February is the hottest month in cape Town. The wind finally starts calming down a bit. February is our favorite summer month to do scenic drives around Cape Town e.g. Chapman’s Peak Drive, Clearance Drive.

Best summer activities

V&A Waterfront in Cape Town decorated for Christmas
Christmas vibes at the Waterfront in Cape Town. December is the busiest time in the city

Cape Town in autumn

Pros

  • No wind
  • Good weather for outdoor activities (March, April)
  • Fewer tourists than in the summer
  • Winelands look beautiful in the autumn colors (March, April)

Cons

  • It starts getting chilly and rainy (April, May)
  • It gets dark early (May)

Autumn can be a great time to visit Cape Town it all depends on the month.

March can be pretty much considered a summer month; it’s still warm and sunny with no rain and no wind. It’s not too hot for hiking, cycling, running, etc. You don’t have to do all these very early in the morning like during the summer. There are many great activities and tours in Cape Town that can be done in March.

April is somewhere in between summer and winter. Nights and early mornings are chilly but during the day it’s still warm and sunny. We love doing winetasting in Constantia in autumn. You can sit in the tranquility of the vineyards in front of a fireplace wrapped in a blanket, enjoying great red wines. 

In May it starts getting cold, wet, and dark. To be honest we always leave Cape Town before winter. May is a great month for staying indoors and enjoying comfort food and red wines. There are plenty of great restaurants and wine estates in and around Cape Town to do that.

Top autumn activities

  • Hiking (March, April)
  • Winetasting
  • Diving
  • Surfing
Vineyards near Cape Town in autumn
Autumn colors in the vineyards around Cape Town

Winter in Cape Town

Pros

  • Flower season in the Namaqualand (August)
  • Very few tourists
  • Cheaper accommodation and tours

Cons

  • The weather is the main drawback; it’s cold and rainy
  • Reduced daylight hours; late sunrise and early sunset

Winter is not our favorite season. In fact, in the last 10 years, we haven’t spent one winter in Cape Town. We usually take off somewhere in April. All three winter months (June, July, and August) and pretty chilly and rainy, and it gets dark early like anywhere else in winter. If you drive out of the city towards the mountains e.g. to Ceres you can even see snow. On the bride side, surfing is better in winter than in summer. Diving in Cape Town itself (False Bay) during winter is quite good as well. Just remember, the water around Cape Town is always cold, about 15°C in False Bay and 12°C on the Atlantic side.

If you decide to visit Cape Town in winter make sure to bring enough warm clothing to wear indoors. There is no central heating and not all places have ACs that you can use for warming up. It’s pretty much as cold inside as outside. My advice try to rent a house with a fireplace inside.

June and July are usually rainy months with some sunny days in between. These are the coldest and the rainiest months in Cape Town. The whale-watching season in Hermanus starts in June. Southern Right whales migrate to the cold waters around Cape Town for mating and giving birth. Besides Southern Right whales during the peak whale watching season, you can see Bryd’s whales and Humpback whales as well as seals, sharks, dolphins, African penguins, and many marine birds.

August is still quite chilly and rainy. After heavy winter rains, you can start seeing fields of wildflowers on the West Coast which is a couple of hours’ drive from Cape Town. The famous Namaqualand offers a great flower spectacular. August is a good month to do a whale watching tour in Hermanus.

Best winter activities

  • Surfing 
  • Diving inside False Bay in Cape Town
  • Wild flowers in the Namaqualand (August)
  • Whale watching
Whales in the waters near Cape Town
Southern Right whales near Hermanus. The winter months are the best time for whale watching in Cape Town

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