South Africa’s climate makes it possible to enjoy a sunny holiday at any time of the year. However, your dress requirements may vary depending on your particular destination, so be prepared!
If you intend to spend a lot of time outdoors and definitely in the summer, bring a hat to protect yourself from the scorching sun. In the summer, light cotton clothing is recommended because daytime temperatures generally hover around 25-30 degrees Celsius.
During the brief period from January to mid-March, temperatures sometimes reach 35 degrees. During this period, the nights can be just as hot. On the Cape, with its Mediterranean climate, it doesn’t rain to freshen the air. There are some nude and topless beaches in South Africa, but in general, nudity is still frowned upon.
Further inland, there is often an afternoon or evening thunderstorm. In fact, the rain can get quite heavy, so a raincoat is recommended. On summer evenings, the heat often subsides and only a light jacket is required.
In the winter months (May to October) the sun shines almost every day. Daytime temperatures range between 17 and 22 degrees Celsius. The nights can be very cold. Temperatures have been known to plummet to below freezing in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
Early morning and late afternoon temperatures are also quite cool. Still, South Africa is not a country where fir trees are used. Usually, on most sunny winter days, all you need is a pair of pants and a t-shirt. In the Mediterranean stretch along the southwestern Cape, winters are wet.
Because winter temperatures do not justify central heating in buildings and homes, European tourists may find the winters harsher than South Africans. We’ve gotten used to the cold around us and just layer up if necessary. Only in recent years have some houses installed underfloor heating. In Johannesburg sometimes during the winter, and in the Cape in the afternoon there is quite a cold wind, so bring windproof clothing.
The first month of the year is characterized by the lush vegetation that has been generated by the first summer rains. The grass is usually very long, especially along the riparian vegetation. Larger herbivores such as Kudu, Zebra and Waterbuck give birth at this time, the thick vegetation allowing them to hide their young as they graze nearby. Temperatures can rise into the late eighties, but torrential rains in the late afternoon often bring welcome relief from the heat. The game is distributed by the abundance of water and good grazing.
February, considered one of the warmest months of the summer in the wooded savannah, is characterized by the fact that the animals move only when it is cold enough. We start safaris later and often wake up earlier to avoid the formidable rays of the sun. The chances of torrential rain are not as high as in January and the heat is drier this time of year. The general color of the reserve remains green and the vegetation remains thick
The heat subsides slightly towards the end of March and the chances of rain are less at this time of year. The young of the different animals born in early summer now have sturdy legs and are better equipped to escape predators. The flow of the Sand River is still good and normally the natural water in the pan is still readily available to the animals.
April brings with it the changes of the year and is often when the very short bushveld autumn takes place. The water in the pan dries up a bit and most animals will start to rely more on the Sand River for water. Temperatures are quite pleasant, but can vary between very hot during the day and cold at night. Roundleaf teak and combretums begin to change their colors from green to yellow and brown.
This month is the turning point of the year and is the most definitive in the transformation from summer to winter. The difference in temperature between day and night is more pronounced, the afternoons require warmer clothing, but the days are usually very pleasant. The ground water is starting to dry up now and the game is starting to concentrate closer to the river. This results in predators moving to favorite water points in the hope of anticipating a successful ambush. Deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves and the bush feels more open. Visibility is improving and one can see further into the bush from the road.
Winter is upon us now; when going out in the morning it is better to “dress to undress”. The temperature will rise at least ten degrees Celsius from the time you leave your trip to the time you return. At night, you should take with you the extra clothing necessary to protect yourself from low temperatures. The flow of the Sand River begins to slow down and most of the animals congregate around the deeper pools of the river to quench their thirst. Predator viewing is best this time of year, the lack of vegetation and established water points make it easy to track and search for the big cats.
Cooler days often cause cats to move during the day in search of prey, and many kills have been witnessed in broad daylight.
In many ways, July is similar to June, the only difference being that it is drier and animals such as white rhinos and Cape buffalo make daily trips to the river to drink. The elephants only leave the river bed at night when it is cooler, spending the day feeding on the remaining lush vegetation.
Towards the end of the month it starts to get a little warm during the day, but the nights are still cold.
August is by far the driest of the months, the temperature rises during the day and although the nights are still cool the days are very pleasant. There are many repeat visitors to MalaMala who rate August as the best time of year to come to see the animals. The grass is now a golden to brown color and tends to thin out a lot.
September is a month of great contrasts, the mountain is still dry, but many of the trees are beginning to bloom; the bright red of Weeping Boer-bean, the yellow of Knobthorn trees or the combination of white and yellow of Transvaal Gardenia. All of these cast a glow on what is now a very dry month for Mt. The last chills of winter pass and the days can be hot again. Viewing continues to be exceptional due to lack of water and sparse ground cover.
The savannah now looks forward to rain, the days getting hot enough to create thunderstorms in the afternoons. Storms don’t usually bring a lot of rain, but certainly enough to start the bush’s early growth and turn it a fresh green. Most of the trees have lost their flowers and are sprouting new green leaves. satisfying Giraffe, Kudu and other browsers.
The days are now getting warmer and the chances of afternoon showers are higher. The general appearance of the bush is now green and the grass is beginning to sprout, this will attract herbivores such as zebra, wildebeest and buffalo. The flow of the Sand River will also increase and become more constant.
Many migratory birds will arrive to take advantage of the summer conditions, some of them would have come from further north in Africa and others would fly from Europe.
The end of the month would see the arrival of the first Impala lambs.
In fact, this is a very busy time on the reserve, as impala calving and wildebeest calving are in full swing. Predators take full advantage of the abundance of young and the nights are full of action. The characteristic kingfisher of the forest arrives and its trill as a call joins the melody of the songs while many of the birds begin to make their nests. Welcome thunderstorms are followed by insect hatches that birds and mammals take full advantage of.
Long, hot days result in a lot of movement on cooler nights, as animals seem to be making the most of this time of abundance.