Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

The "real feel" weather for South Africa/Lesotho in the winter?

The "real feel" weather for South Africa/Lesotho in the winter?

Old Apr 19th, 2009, 01:07 PM
  #1  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,821
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The "real feel" weather for South Africa/Lesotho in the winter?

I'm booked to leave July 10th for a 17 day trip to South Africa, arriving in Johannesburg and taking in Kruger National Park and Capetown, along with stops in Lesotho and Swaziland. (yes, I know, a bit crowded of an itinerary.)

My question is, do you think I'll find an insulated jacket necessary? (It's suggested by the tour company, but on my only previous trip with them I found that I didn't need the raincoat suggested for the Amazon rainforest.) I realize you can't know how I feel about weather, but let's just say that Mid Atlantic US in October I'm usually fine with a sweater. I've looked at the historical data for the locations, but 50 degrees in one place can certainly "feel" quite different that somewhere else. I'd rather not have to buy (and pack!) a jacket if I could get by with some cashmere pullovers or something similar; my coats tend to be long and either woolen or velvet, not really the thing for this type of travel.

If you think the jacket is a good idea, any suggestions on one that packs up easily?

Many thanks!
Amy is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2009, 07:29 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Amy

For the gamedrives in Kruger for early morning and late afternoon/evening you would certainly need something very warm - a sweater will not be anywhere near enough. The chill factor in an open vehicle is high and being bone cold is very uncomfortable. Not coming from the States I don't know your weather, but at home in Australia in winter I can easily get away with one layer. In winter is Sth Africa on a gamedrive I would easily have 4 or 5 layers, then a jacket with scarf, beanie and of course, gloves. The jacket I wear I get from a hiking store, it is not insulated but is surprisingly warm - like a bit fleecy.

Just keep in mind that the temperatures during the day do not translate into the temperatures in an open vehicle!

Hope that helps.

Kind regards

Kaye
KayeN is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2009, 07:33 PM
  #3  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,821
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Kaye! That's just what I was looking for...some real-world experience. I hadn't calculated on the effect of the open air vehicles, but I can certainly see where that would be a big factor. Guess I'll go check out Sierra Trading Post or REI for something warm--and not forget my scarf!
Amy is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2009, 05:08 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 987
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'll agree with Kaye regarding game drives. In Johannesburg and in Lesotho you're at high altitude, so it feels pretty cold. When I lived in Jo'burg I needed a real winter coat -- not as heavy as I need here in Illinois, but a real coat nevertheless.

Celia
Celia is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2009, 06:41 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Amy! I am hearty Canadian and I still bundle up for those morning game drives in Kruger (in winter - July/August). I wear shorts and a T-shirt with wind (nylon) pants over top, a heavy, long-sleeved fleece with a high zip-up collar, a fleece vest over that and a nylon wind-proof/water-proof jacket with a hood over all. I also wear a wool hat and warm mitts and drape the blanket the camps provide over my legs. That just keeps me warm - those open vehicles at dawn are a killer! By 10am, it's warm, and I am usually down to my shorts and T-shirt - layers are good! Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2009, 11:58 AM
  #6  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,821
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks to Celia and canadian_robin, for reinforcing! If a former resident and a hearty Canadian needed layers, I'd better get my warm stuff together--only 80 some days 'til the trip! (Can you tell I'm looking forward to my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa?)
Amy is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2009, 12:15 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 378
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As canadian_robin has implied, layering is your friend during those cold morning game drives. I don't pack a thick winter jacket, but bring lots of long-sleeved layers and the thickest windbreaker I've got.

Send some details about Lesotho when you get back--I've been thinking about going there and about curious about others' experiences.
Gritty is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2009, 07:19 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 93
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In Lesotho it snows and gets real cold. That is where the whole of South Africas cold comes from in winter.

I live close to the Kruger... In winter I will have a long sleeved T-shirt on, and maybe a light jacket. On exreme cold windy days, something with polar fleece as well in the mornings or evening. I hardly where a jersey and a jacket together. Normally I walk aroung just in the T-shirt by 10 o'clock.

Cape Town always have wind, so you will need a jacket, and winter time is cape town's rainy season, last year there was floods, so I would suggest a versitile jacket, perhaps the kind with removable polar fleece on the inside, with a cap for the rain. Our camping shops like Cape Union Mart and Trappers Trading hace such jackets

Take a blanket for your legs for the game drives. Here the lowest temp we had the last couple of years were 5 degrees celsius and it even goes up to over 30 degrees celsius in the day... But mostly our lowest temp is 14 degrees celsius.

Hope this helps!
girl_from_africa is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2009, 01:10 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 93
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry about the spelling mistakes... had a baby on the lap, guys you would understand!
girl_from_africa is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2009, 05:03 PM
  #10  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,821
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Babies do tend to interfere with the typing! Thanks again to all for the help; I've ordered a Merrell insulated jacket and I'm going to bring my big warm pashmina for wrapping purposes, and then layer, layer, layer.

Actually, I'm kinda looking forward to some cold weather in July; here in Philadelphia it's usually just plain stinkin' hot at that point, and very humid as well.
Amy is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 218
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
amy.....im doing a 16 day trip in august to the same places.......very excited......i see you've been to the amazon rain forest and thats my next trip which i havent even researched yet.........would love your input.......what tour company did you use? are you using the same company for south africa? im in new york and i heard its cold in south africa in august......would really like to hear about the amazon......when did you go? whats the best time to go?
nicolino is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2009, 05:57 PM
  #12  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,821
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oddly enough, I am using the same tour company for both--and it's the only time I've used them! It's OAT, (Overseas Adventure Travel) and I like them fine, but it's just that I usually travel on my own. But after doing three weeks solo and on my own in India last year, I opted for the easy way and let OAT do the legwork on this one.

On your other posts I have links to my two Amazon trips; once was August, once July, as I'm one of those unfortunate creatures who can only travel in the summer. But I loved it then, really.
Amy is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:03 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 136
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a South African who formerly lived around DC, I can tell you it will be cold. Aside from the previously mentioned open air game drives, you also need to remember that most South African properties do not have central heating. We tend to use gas or electric heaters in each room.

I remember a family friend visiting us in Jo'burg, from Canada, and her saying that it was one of the coldest nights she'd ever experienced. Although our temperatures don't drop as low as the US or Canada, we haven't designed our buildings to cope as well either.

The benefit here, is that it actually warms up very nicely during the day. And finding a protected spot in the sun actually warms you up! So like all the other posters have said - layers are the key!

Lesotho has recorded snow on every single day of the year. We were there on New Years Eve (the height of summer) and nearly froze, so I would suggest layers there too.
Binkieloo is offline  
Old May 14th, 2009, 12:18 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,698
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DD is heading to Lesotho for 8 week internship on June 8. What would be a useful "bon voyage" present she will be able to use there. Not sure how primitive her facilities will be. She is taking all her winter clothes, they are already gone from stores here in Ohio, but presumably could order something (quick) from the Internet. Thanks!
aliska is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2009, 04:00 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How is the weather in late October?
wlbox is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
E_M
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
10
Oct 13th, 2010 03:22 PM
wkwb42a
Africa & the Middle East
6
Mar 4th, 2009 11:56 AM
spiegelcjs
Africa & the Middle East
10
May 6th, 2007 04:33 PM
Dinadream
Africa & the Middle East
6
Apr 17th, 2007 07:37 AM
cattery
Africa & the Middle East
5
Feb 12th, 2005 08:13 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information