South Africa has more than 20 well-managed national parks, more than 90 beaches, and around 100 museums. The sheer number of attractions makes it a great tourist destination. The rich wildlife and cultural diversity add further layers of appeal to this extraordinary country, attracting tourists from all walks of life. There are safaris experiences on offer to all of the Southern African national parks and game reserves. How you get to experience them depends on the type of park, public or private, which also has a cost implication. There is so much choice that every type of explorer with a range of budgets will be able to get out into the wild and spot animals.
While many travelers visit the country for wildlife, there are some who come to experience the culture, other outdoor activities, beaches & relaxation, or the festivals throughout the year. The best time to visit South Africa depends on the region of South Africa you are planning to visit and what you plan to do. To give you an idea of the average weather conditions for each season we have created this handy little table to show you the season-to-season variation.
Seasons in South Africa
|Seasons in South Africa||Months||Average Weather Conditions|
|Summer||December to February||Most regions in South Africa experience some rainfall during the summer season. The temperature is high throughout the summer season.|
|Autumn||March to May||We see a gradual decrease in rainfall during March and April and it is warm. By May it is pretty warm and dry, with chilly evenings.|
|Winter||June to August||June to August is the dry season and is an excellent time for a wildlife safari and sightings on game drives.|
|Spring||September To November||September marks the beginning of spring and an increase in overall temperatures. Rain starts in October and continues through the rest of spring and into the summer season.|
Popular National Parks in South Africa
Now that we have seen the average weather conditions for South Africa, we have listed below the best time to visit the top five national parks in South Africa.
|Popular South African National Parks||Best time to visit National Park|
|Kruger National Park and surrounding national parks||April to September|
|Addo Elephant National Park||May to September|
|Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Park||May to September|
|Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park||March to May|
|Mapungubwe National Park||March to May|
|Marakele National Park||May to September|
Perks of Visiting South Africa
Let’s take a look at the perks of visiting South Africa in both the wet and dry seasons.
Wet Season (October To April)
- You get to observe the amazing lush scenery of South Africa’s national parks right after the rains.
- Apart from some quite heavy rainfall during the summer season, South Africa sees only short bursts of showers in the afternoons for the months of October, November, March, April, and May.
- December to January is school holidays so it will be peak time and parks will be crowded. You can’t get the most out of the safari experience with a huge crowd hanging around. More exclusive private reserves have limited numbers, but higher prices.
Dry Season (May To September)
- May to September is the ideal time to visit a South African national park. With vegetation drying out, it’s easier to spot the wild animals grazing and gathering around the waterholes.
- Visitor numbers are low, which provides a unique opportunity to experience the wildlife without distractions.
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