Dec 28th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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2 part question:

What is the weather like in South Africa around May/June?

When would be the ideal time to go there climate-wise?
njf is offline  
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Dec 28th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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>>>>>>What is the weather like in South Africa around May/June?<<<<<<

South Africa is a large enough country that it has different weather in different parts of the country.

Most of South Africa falls into a summer rainfall zone. The exception is the SW corner of the country, around Cape Town, which has a mediterranean climate, and gets winter rainfall. Another exception is the Garden Route, the southern stretch of coastline from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. Much of the Garden Route is in a transitional zone between the summer and winter rainfall areas, and it receives both summer and winter rainfall.

The other thing to know about South Africa is that a large chunk of the interior is occupied by a high plateau. The inland city of Johannesburg, for example, is about 6,000 feet above sea level. This helps to keep summer temperatures more moderate than they otherwise would be for a place at that latitude.

The two areas that are most popular with tourists are the bushveld zones in the provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, to the east and SE of Johannesburg. That's where most people go on safari. The bushveld regions are low lying and hotter than Johannesburg.

At Skukuza, in the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, for example, the average daily high in January is 91 deg F. The highest temperature recorded in January between 1961 and 1990 was 109 deg F. Those temperatures are accompanied by a rather high level of humidity. By May the level of humidity will have fallen off considerably. In May the average daily high is 82 deg F, and in June it's 79 deg F. In May the average low is 50 deg F and in June it's 43 deg F. The figures for July are the same as those for June. June, July and August nights occasionally see the temperature dipping as low as 25 deg F.

The other South African destination that is popular with tourists is Cape Town. The average daily high in January is 79 deg F. In May the average high is 68 deg F, and in June it's 64 deg F. The average lows for May and June are 48 deg F and 46 deg F respectively. June, July and August nights occasionally go down as low as 30 deg F.

Statistically May, June, July and August are the rainiest months in Cape Town. However, in the last few years winter has been arriving later, so that May and early June have tended to be pleasant.

>>>>>>When would be the ideal time to go there climate-wise?<<<<<<

There is no single time when the whole of South Africa is at its best from a weather point of view. I prefer the safari areas in winter, but then Cape Town is not at its best.

Cape Town is nice in the southern hemisphere summer, but then the safari areas are more hot and humid than many people find comfortable. Also, South African families flock to the ocean and to the game reserves during the summer school holidays (all of December and the first half of January).

I think Cape Town is at its best in the southern hemisphere autumn (around April). Autumn weather tends to be more stable than spring weather. April / May would represent a good compromise. If you're going to be visiting Cape Town and the game reserves in autumn, start in the south and move northwards.

Here's the website of the South African Weather Service. If you navigate around this site a bit, you can find historical information for a given town:

Here's a website where you can convert metric units to imperial units (in case you're in the U.S. and are accustomed to imperial units):
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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Dec 29th, 2004, 02:20 AM
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I've found that the best site for S.A. weather is "". It draws on data from the SA Weather Service, but is much more comprehensive and better designed. It was started by a South African who (when I exchanged e-mails a couple of years ago) was doing a Doctorate in the U.S. and running the site from there.

For historical rainfall and temperature data, I've bookmarked the best place to start as Then go to the SA REGIONAL menu and "Data archives".
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