Thinking about heading to South Africa soon but worried it won’t be the same during the winter months? You don’t need hot temperatures over here to enjoy what this country has got to offer so if you’re planning a trip, here’s what you’ve got to look forward to…
#1 The weather is still good
First things first, let’s address the biggie – is it too cold to visit South Africa in winter? To give you the short answer: definitely not. While the temperatures do drop, it’s not nearly as cold as winter in Europe or the US.
In Joburg, it may not be as warm but there’s very little rainfall so you can expect plenty of bright winter days – perfect for getting out and exploring the city with us.
But if you really want to escape the winter, then you gotta head to Durban. The city has a year-round tropical climate which means hot humid summers and warm, dry winters. We’re talking blue skies, golden beaches and warm ocean temperatures, even in the height of the winter months. This means you can still enjoy all the must-dos of a Durban visit, from cycling along the promenade to relaxing on the Golden Mile.
#2 It’s prime time for a game drive
If you’re coming to South Africa, you’re going to want to take a safari, right? Well, winter is the best time to plan a game drive as it gives you the best chance of spotting the Big 5. The animals prefer the cooler weather and are much more active during the day than they would be in summer. Also, winter is South Africa’s dry season meaning that the animals congregate around the water holes.
Whether you choose to spend a day at Pilanesberg National Park or take a few days and head to the infamous Kruger, the journey is well worth it. Just be sure to pack some warm clothes – early mornings and open vehicles mean you’ll need to wrap up a little more out here.
#3 Your experience will be all the more authentic
By visiting South Africa at a less typical time of year, you’ll avoid the tourist crowds and get the chance to mix with more locals. We think one of the best ways to truly get to know a place is by chatting with the people who know the most about these cities – and that’s those who live here. Whether you hit up The HideOut Bar at our place in Maboneng or head out to artsy local hotspot Station Drive in Durban, you will find that South Africans are super friendly and are the warmest people who are more than happy to give you an insight into what their home city is really like.
#4 It’s the best time to surf and shark dive
For keen surfers, winter is the best season to catch some waves. Dubbed as one of the best surf spots in the world with great off-shore winds for both beginners and more experienced surfers, we can’t think of a better place to head than Durban. Our top tip? Get up and into the water early to catch one of the city’s famous sunrises.
If surfing isn’t enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then why not take a shark dive? South Africa is the shark capital of the world and winter is the best time to go diving. With better visibility during the cooler season, you’ve got way more chance of coming face to face with a Great White or three – just be glad you’re on the other side of the cage, hey…
#5 The nightlife doesn’t slow down
Whatever the weather, you can count on the nightlife here to never slow down. Once you’re done sightseeing for the day, cities in South Africa get lit up with the doors opening to some of the best bars and clubs on the continent. Whether you’re up for dancing the night away over the road from us at Shakers in Maboneng or want to hit up the classiest bar in Durban for cocktails, there’s something for all kinds of night owls in South Africa’s cities. If you’re up for exploring some of the local’s favourite bars in Joburg and Durban’s, head out on one of our pub crawls every Friday.
#6 You can still see all the main attractions
The cooler weather doesn’t stop the main attractions being open to visit – if anything, there will be fewer crowds and entry fees will probably be cheaper. Both Joburg and Durban are home to plenty of museums, art galleries and other cultural attractions. The Apartheid Museum in Joburg is unmissable during your time here to learn about the country’s history – take part in our full day Soweto tour and you’ll visit the museum with a guide. Durban’s Natural Science Museum is another highlight which you can see on our Inner City walking tour.
For those who dig the outdoors, locals say that the winter months are actually the best for heading out on some of the famous hiking trails across the country. For something different, try Hennops Trail just 40mins from Joburg or visit Langermanns Koppie as part of our Sportspitality mornings to get one of the best views of Jozi’s cityscape.
#7 You’ll save a tonne of money
We know how it is – you’ve got a long list of places you want to head to but your bank balance is saying otherwise. South Africa offers great value for money at any time of the year but in winter, you’re bound to get more bang for your buck with airfares, accommodation and attraction entry fees all at a much lower price. As a bonus, you’re way more likely to find some hella good specials from restaurants and extended happy hours from bars – we’ll cheers to that…