June marks the start of the whale-watching season along the Cape south coast. June to September is the best time to see whales, although they can be spotted as late as December. The whales are wonderful, but expect the roads and seaside towns to be busier, particularly from mid-June to mid-July, which is South Africa’s winter school break.

Cape Town itself is quieter in winter and you’re more likely to find good deals, even during the school holidays. Cape winters are unpredictable. In just a few days, it can flip from wild storm to bright sunshine and back again. Cool weather and rain are more likely, but pack for every season – you could experience them all.

The Cape experiences extreme weather during the winter months. Image by Andy Nixon

As you journey up the coast the chance of rain decreases, with the west coast generally cool and clear and the east warming significantly towards Durban. Early June and late July are the best times to visit the Wild Coast. From June, the weather is dry and mild, and outside the holiday period you’ll have the wide, sandy beaches almost to yourself.

 

June in the north means cold nights and crisp, sunny days. After months of little rain, the vegetation in Kruger National Park thins out completely and wildlife spotting is at its best as the animals congregate around the waterholes and rivers. Daytime temperatures can be high, but can drop below freezing overnight. Pack warm clothing, especially if you’re planning any early morning game drives.

Game drives in the Kruger National Park are a pleasure during the dry season

The same is true if you’re driving through the interior. The cold winter nights are ideal for stargazing, but some areas do see snow, in particular the central Karoo, Cederberg and all along the Drakensberg.