January and February offer contrasting fortunes depending on where you’re travelling in South Africa with maximum rain and heat in the Drakensberg Mountains and Kruger National Park but a much drier (and windier!) alternative on the Western Cape.
March is pretty much the end of high season with a few migratory birds starting to return and thunderstorms in the northeast, around Kruger, generally confined to afternoon cloud bursts.
April and May are the best months to visit South Africa in terms of temperatures and game viewing as well as ideal conditions for hiking in the Drakensberg.
By June and July South Africa is well into the dry season in the north and east of the country although take your brolly if you’re heading for Cape Town as well as the Garden Route.
August and September are still quite chilly on the Western Cape, especially at night, although wildlife watching is at a peak in the northern game reserves thanks to the lack of vegetation and little or no rain. Top tip: head to Hermanus for the start of whale watching festivities in September.
October is the start of the rainy season outside of the Western Cape, although afternoon showers rarely bother a safari experience.
Temperatures and rainfall continue to rise into November with more greenery making it harder to spot animals although birdwatchers and fans of wildflowers will find plenty to keep themselves occupied.
December can be a hectic month with school holidays, crowded parks and ferocious heat; although you may still find some humpback whales heading along the coast from Hermanus.