We describe each season in Cape Town & explain the typical weather/ocean conditions, as well as suitable activities for that time..
When planning your trip to Cape Town, it's important to know the characteristics of the city's different seasons so that you can know which time of the year best suits your travel goals. It really depends on what you would like to be doing during your visit to the Mother City of South Africa.
Cape Town's climate is moderated by the oceans on either side of the country - the Indian Ocean accounting for the warm subtropical east and the Atlantic Ocean accounting for the cool regions of the west. The influences of the ocean temperatures result in the overall warm, temperate climate of South Africa, which attracts many visitors from all over the world.
If you're interested in seeing the lush plant life and waterfalls, we'd recommend spring time, whereas if you're after beach parties and suntanning, we'd recommend summer time. If you'd like to partake in outdoor activities, autumn is a great time, while winter is suitable for a slightly cozier, yet still beautiful, experience.
Tourists tend to flock to Cape Town in the summer months, which generally falls between November and March. The summer temperatures range from 25-30°C. Most of the days are hot and dry (January is the hottest and driest month) with the occasional wind. Water temperatures in False Bay (Indian Ocean) approach the 22°C mark with the SE wind contributing to the warm surface waters. The Atlantic Ocean experiences the opposite, with the SE winds pulling all the warm water away from the coast, resulting in chilly 10-14°C surface water. The beaches on the Atlantic coast are still highly popular, despite the cold water, as the beaches are sheltered from the wind and perfect for suntanning or other fun beach activities. People spend most of these summer days soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches of Cape Town and the city comes alive with festivity, especially at night time.
The months between March and May is arguably the best time to be in Cape Town. The day time temperatures are usually around 20-25°C, sunny and warm, while the mornings and evenings are noticeably chillier, sometimes bringing rains. The heat of summer has died down but has not yet disappeared completely, allowing you to fully enjoy outdoor activities such as going for hikes and picnics. Cape Town's average sea temperature falls at 17°C, higher than summer's average sea temperature. This increase in temperature attracts sharks, making shark cage diving an exciting activity to do during this season.
Winter in Cape Town (June - August) has an average day time temperature between 14-18°C. It is mainly chilly, windy and rainy with the occasional sunny day. June is the wettest month. Compared to other places such as London or Berlin, Cape Town's winter is equivalent to a warm spring day, however, Cape Town's locals will often be snuggled up indoors with beanies and blankets. But don't let this fool you. During the winter months of Cape Town, there are many lovely activities you can do. Examples include taking drives to see the outstanding array of wild flowers that begin to bloom, whale watching in False Bay and shark cage diving (EVEN better than in autumn!). The sea temperature averages 15.3°C and many surfers consider winter the best season to surf in due to the bigger waves and wind conditions.
Whale watching, shark cage diving and the beautiful flowers continue to be a huge attraction between the spring months of September to November. The weather can still be rainy and chilly throughout these months, but the sunny and warmer days become more frequent than in winter. The average day time temperatures are between 16-20°C, while mornings and evenings have lower temperatures. Average sea temperatures slightly increase to 16°C and the wind starts to pick up. Cape Town starts to be visited by the 'Cape Doctor', a powerful SE wind that forcefully clears up pollution from the Cape's air. The Cape Doctor will continue to make appearances into the summer months. Take a trip along the West Coast and see the unbelievable flowers, and be sure to take hikes up the mountains and see the lovely waterfalls.
All in all, Cape Town's climate is temperate. It is typical of a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and chilly, wet winters. Throughout the year, Cape Town is full of beauty, whether it's the spring flowers, the summer sunshine, the golden leaves of autumn, or the stunning showers in winter.
Book your stay with us at Riverlodge and we will make your Cape Town adventure amazing, no matter the season. We have hot showers, a pool table, a bar and satellite TVs for those chilly days you wish to spend indoors. We also have an outside camping area as well as braai facilities for those warm, sunny days you wish to spend outdoors.
Written by Saskia Carelse
All pictures sourced from Google Images
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