Timing for a South Africa trip

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Mar 31st, 2012, 04:44 PM
  #1
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Timing for a South Africa trip

I am just beginning to think about a trip to South Africa. I want to see Cape Town and Johannesburg and included some kind of safari. What is the best time of year weather wise to go to that area. I prefer not the rainy or extreme hot times of the year. Any Advice?
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Mar 31st, 2012, 06:44 PM
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End September/October is a good time. Temps in CT should be ~50ish for a low and ~70ish for a high. Rains should be diminishing. It's also a perfect time to take a day trip (or better stay a night or two) to the Hermanus area for land-based whale watching---whales get pretty close to rocks that jut into bay. It's also a great time for a safari. Temps will range about 60 to mid 80s and the weather should be mostly dry. You should have good to excellent game viewing at that time.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 06:56 PM
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Agree Sep/Oct.
However, rain can happen. My last SA safari (Sep 2009) I asked three guides at the two camps I was at what they thought best month for safari was. They said August - but Aug can be windy. So best overall probably July. But this is winter time in SA which is fine if you don't mind some chilly night/days.

regards - tom
ps - yes in Sep of 2009 I had about 4 rainy days of 12 on safari. Not heavy rain, overcast, light sprinkles.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 08:51 PM
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April/May or September/October are good times to avoid the heat, but beware it can be cold at night. There was frost overnight in JNB in October. On safari in September I've had days with (light) rain and highs in the 50s which feels colder when you're driving around in an open vehicle.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 04:31 AM
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Just occurred to me, funny that on my 2011 safari to Tanzania in Feb we wanted it to rain!!! To bring in the migrating wildebeest herds. No problem with it being cold, it was too hot in the afternoon and some terrible dust (from vehicles).

regards - tom
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Apr 1st, 2012, 05:52 AM
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For visits to SA that include both a safari activity and time around the Western Cape, we try to start in the north (Kruger area) in late August and finish in Cape Town in early September. In August it's still winter around Kruger or the nearby game reserves, so the weather's dry, there's less obstructing foliage (better views) and the water holes/dams make for a more interesting scene.

By early September things are moving toward spring in the Cape, and one of our big target areas in September is the Atlantic coast north of Cape Town, where the wildflowers and coastal scenery knock your eyeballs out, but with much easier access than, say, the Garden Route. (Note I'm not equating the two - very different environments.) But in the city it can still be cool, even rainy - or not - but you can't have it all.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 01:18 PM
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I was in South Africa in October of last year and it was HOT over in the Kruger area (104 degrees F.) Gardyloo's idea sounds nice.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 01:09 PM
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September is great most of the time with the occasional chill if winter runs late, alternatively April/May is also very nice. Spring (September/October) is great for Safari as you have a decent chance of seeing some of the early season baby animals which are always worth seeing.(Although there are more in late spring)

Best time for safari is actually in winter (Jun-Jul) as its not too hot and visibility is good but the weather in Cape Town wont be very nice that time of year.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:10 PM
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Thank you all so much for you replys
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Apr 4th, 2012, 12:55 AM
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April / May is hands down the best time.
September and October can be very dusty and dry.
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Apr 5th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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So glad to see this thread. We are planning to go to SA in October doing this tour which starts in Johannesburg and finishes in Cape Town. We are adding a couple of days extra in Cape Town.

My problem is that there are two dates on offer and I dont know what to do so need a few personal opinions! The first date is flying 6 Oct returning 24th and the second is 20th returning 8 Nov. The later date is badged as 'special offer' and is £200 cheaper so £400 obviously for the two of us.
We only get one full day game drive so I wouldnt probably take the earlier date just for Kruger but main thing is I dont want the trip to be too hot overall. I know you cannot judge exactly what its going to be like as weather is unpredictable but am really chewing my nails over dates. £400 quite a bit extra! (not sure in dollars) Ideally I like early summer weather lovely and warm on skin and can laze in sun but not thinking about how hot you are. And am wondering if the earlier date everything would be greener, brighter and more young animals at Kruger plus wild flowers everywhere. I dont know if they have the offer becuase the second date not so good - I suspect they just have random offers and get a trip filled up that way
What do you all think, please!
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Apr 8th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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The dates are fairly close to each other so you might not have much of a difference in weather. October starts heating up and towards Kruger it will be quite warm at the end of Oct/ end of Nov. But it should be managable as it is still early summer. Spring only seems to last 1,5 months.One day game drive seems to be too little,if possible try to increase it.
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Apr 8th, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Variance in weather will make two adjacent weeks no different. One could be hotter or colder or wetter than the other. If you want for sure warm weather go later, say Nov. And only one game drive? Leaves way too much to chance as to what you will see. Unless of course it is within a fenced game park, a zoo,

regards - tom
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Apr 9th, 2012, 07:56 AM
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Hi hpeabody

The best time for a safari is September when it is at the end of the dry cold season and the rains have not yet arrived so being at waterholes will produce some terrific sightings. For Cape Town it is Feb/March. But Cape Town in Septemeber is Ok, just coming out of that lousy rain period.

Yours on Safari Mark
Live in Africa and do it all the Time
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