What to expect when you travel to SA in Jan

The first half of January is summer holiday time in South Africa. It’s the hottest month across the country and beaches and seaside towns are at their busiest. In the south and west, January is also the driest month of the year, but up towards Durban, and inland, the hot days almost always end in spectacular thunderstorms. This is especially true in Gauteng where January is Johannesburg’s wettest month.



Image by: Sharon Ang

Schools resume in the middle of January causing a huge increase in traffic on the national roads. It’s best not to travel on the weekend before schools return, but once the rush dies down, late January is a great time to explore the coast. Fewer people also means more accommodation options and prices are generally lower outside of the holiday period.

In the Western Cape, the sun sets after 9:00pm for most of January, with sunset in Johannesburg an hour earlier on average. The long evenings are ideal for beach picnics and evening barbecues (or braais) and the smoke and smell of cooking fires drifts from back gardens and braai areas everywhere.

The west coast and central regions can be particularly hot at this time of year. Hot summer evenings in the semi-desert Karoo are spectacular, but daytime temperatures can easily exceed 40°C.

The Kruger National Park and the other inland national parks are always an option, but while January’s lush vegetation is beautiful, it also makes the animals harder to spot. On the plus side, park gates operate from dawn to dusk so there’s as much as 2.5 hours’ more time for game drives in summer.

If you would like to inquire about our car hire options, one of our consultants will readily assist with any questions you may have.