Secret Cape Town, Cape Town Seasons

The gorgeous city of Cape Town is one of the most interesting places to visit in South Africa. Alongside the amazing scenery and fun activities, it is also well known for its unpredictable weather. Locals will jokingly warn you to expect all four seasons in one day.

Even during high summer, an icy breeze can pick up in the afternoon, making you grab a jacket by the evening. Or after days of rain in the winter, a beautiful wind-still sunny day will surprise you with the prospect of a beach outing. The rule of thumb for a Cape Town holiday is be prepared for anything!

Here’s a little insight into the seasons, their temperatures, and unique qualities to help you prepare for your Cape Town holiday.

Weather Conditions and Seasons in Cape Town

Cape Town naturally has a warm and temperate Mediterranean style climate. During the peak of summer temperature can reach up to 35°C. And in the winter it can drop below 10°C in the mornings and evenings, hovering around 15°C midday.

Cape Town Weather

Spring and autumn are usually filled with just the right temperatures to visit the natural scenery around the city. Summer time is perfect for appreciating the icy ocean. And the rainy winters are perfect for snuggling up in front of a fire with a glass of wine.

Your choice of holiday time in Cape Town will greatly depend on what kind of trip you are planning. If you intend to make the most of the Mother City’s wide variety of outdoor activities, peak summer or winter time will not be ideal.

Summer in Cape Town

In Cape Town the locals refer to the months of November till February simply as “season”. This is the time of year the most tourists ascend on the city. The peak season is during December when the local tourists from across South Africa also visit the beloved city.

Weather Conditions and Seasons in Cape Town

On average, the temperature can reach up to 30°C, with the warmest months being January and February. The maximum summer temperatures can reach up to 35°C. Evening temperatures drop to around 14°C, but the wind factor can add an icy chill to the air. Try to carry a light jersey or jacket in your bag.

Summertime is the best time to enjoy the beautiful Cape Town beaches. But beware, you won’t be the only one who jumps at the opportunity to head over to the beach on a lovely wind-still day. If you head over to popular beaches such as Camps Bay or the Clifton beaches, you will have contend with big crowds. Especially during local summer school holidays (beginning-December to mid-January), and significant public holidays.

Related: Best Secret Beaches in the Cape

The ideal time to visit, is mid-March when the busy tourist season starts to fade and the weather is still pleasantly warm. Keep in mind that when traveling to Cape Town during peak season you will not only be joined by higher volumes of tourists, your flights and accommodation rates will also be more expensive. Make sure that you book everything in advance to avoid disappointment and snatch up special prices.

Autumn and Spring in Cape Town

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Cape Town if you are looking for cheaper accommodation rates and flights. The autumn temperatures start dropping from late-March. In the mornings the temperature hovers around 15°C and by mid afternoon it ascend to the low 20’s. Evenings become chillier. This is a great time to visit the historic wine farms in the area surrounding Cape Town. It’s also perfect weather for hiking and biking.

Spring arrives by late August, early September with temperatures inching closer to the mid-teens during the morning. During the day the peak temperatures are in the low 20’s. Evenings can still be chilly. It’s the perfect time to explore the outdoor scenes of Cape Town, without worrying about being too hot and bothered. Read our post Where to see The Wildflowers in the Cape for one of the most spectacular moments of the Western Cape’s nature.

As mentioned, traveling to Cape Town during these seasons will give you cheaper rates for air travel and accommodation, except for late March to early April when the Easter weekend takes place and the school holiday.

Winter in Cape Town

Winter arrives by late June and lasts till August, sometimes hovering into early September. The cold fronts start rolling across the Atlantic Ocean, bringing strong winds and rain. In the mornings temperatures drop below 10°C and only climb to the high teens during the middle of the day. The evenings can be icy cold.

Cape Town weather, winter

Mostly this is the least popular season in Cape Town because of the rainy weather. Which means you can grab the best flight and accommodation deals. But winter in Cape Town has its own charms. The countryside turns a luscious green and you can also enjoy the whale season before the area becomes too crowded. Read our post 5 of the Best Ways to See Whales around Cape Town for a few tips.

The other big treat, is that during the peak of winter, you can go snow hunting on the outskirts of the city. Read our post Where to See the Snow in Winter in Cape Town and consider booking a few nights outside of Cape Town to appreciate the rugged beauty of the Western Cape. And make sure you look out for accommodation that offers a fireplace in the room or dining area to complete your winter getaway.

Where To See The Wild Flowers In Cape Town West Coast

Each spring the Western Cape is transformed into a wildflower wonderland. For a few weeks from about mid-August till end-September the landscape is scattered with beautifully coloured blooms. They last until the deadly summer heat descends and turn the hills into plain brown fields.

On a clear, sunny day you can drive a short distance out of Cape Town to be mesmerized by nature’s own art gallery. The following are a few of the best spots around the city to go hunt the natural beauty. On an overcast day the flowers will hide their pretty faces, so best to travel when the sun is out.

#1 Kirstenbosch

Distance: about 20 minutes from the city centre

This is the easiest option to see the flowers. Nestled against the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this amazing botanical garden will take your breath away. The 36-hectare garden is the first in the world that is specifically dedicated to indigenous flora.

It is also ranked no. 6 on National Geographic’s list of Top 10 Picnic Spots in the world. Take in the splendour of pincushion proteas, Daisies, and of course the famous fynbos. Hike up to the Boomslang to view the spring display from a higher vantage point.

Kirstenbosch

Entry fee: R65 (adults) | R35 (South African students with valid student card)

R15 (children, 6 – 17 years) | Free (children, 0 – 6 years; BotSoc members on presentation of membership card)

Free on Tuesdays (South African senior citizens with valid ID, except on public holidays)

#2 Postberg And West Coast National Park

Distance: about 1 hour and 50 minutes

The West Coast National Park is a popular destination every year for flower hunters. During the peak flower months of August and September, the Postberg area is open for the most amazing undisturbed floral display. You will be greeted by magriets, sporries, and Daisies.

While driving through the park, look out for tortoises and snakes crossing the road, plus zebra and buck lazily grazing. You can explore the area by car, on foot, or with a mountain bike.

Where to see The Wildflowers in the Cape

Fun fact: walk in the footsteps of Eve, a young woman reported to have lived in the area 117 000 years ago. The Eve’s Trail is a special two-and-a-half-day hike meandering through the park.

Entry fee: During flower season, August – September.

R76 (SA citizens and residents with ID) | R38 (children)

#3 The Renosterveld Reserve

Distance: Around 1 hour

This area you can explore for free. It is located above the Darling Primary School. The 20-hectare flower reserve offers you endless fields of spring flowers including vygies, kapokbos, bellendini, and renosterbos. Keep an eye out for the cute little red-bellied tortoises. It’s also a great spot for bird-watching.

Where to see The Wildflowers in the Cape

There is a circular hiking route that you can follow around the reserve.

Fun fact: The Versveld family donated the land to the community in 1958.

#4 Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve

Distance: about 1 hour and 10 minutes

You can also stop at this reserve for free. It’s located on the R315 on the way to Darling. The varying topography makes it perfect for a wide range of flowers. You can see about 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom in one go here. Enjoy the beautiful chincherinchee, lachenalia, and Butterfly lilies.

Where to see The Wildflowers in the Cape

The area is also great for game-spotting, bird-watching, hiking, and picnics.

Fun fact: the reserve was named after Oom Tienie or Marthinus Versveld who donated a part of his farm to create the reserve.

#5 Harold Porter Botanical Garden

Distance: about 1 hour and 30 minutes

This one is located on the side of the Cape Town coastline, towards Hermanus. Travel on the N2 and take the R44 to find this mesmerizing garden. Tucked away between mountains and the beach, it has stunning little waterfalls and pools to explore. Perfect for a leisurely Saturday or Sunday outing!

Fun zigzag paths were created by the garden’s namesake, Harold Porter. The expansive garden has all things indigenous to marvel at including orchids, daisies, and stunning proteas. While you’re in the area, stop at the penguin colony close by. If you’re lucky you might also spot a whale.

Where to see The Wildflowers in the Cape

Entry fee: R25 (adults) | R15 (seniors and students with a valid student card)

R10 (children, 7 – 17 years) | Free (children, 0 – 6 and BotSoc members)

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