The Best Time to Visit Cape Town

Choose the Best Time to Visit Cape Town

When is the best time to visit Cape Town? Truthfully, the Mother City is a great destination all year-round, you just need to choose your ideal experience. This guide is here to help you do just that!

Cape Town is a multi-faceted destination that just begs to be explored. This coastal gem lies in the shadow of Table Mountain (one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World) and is a region where wine flows, penguins waddle, and majestic beasts roam.

It’s no surprise that over 39 000 travellers voted it not just the best city in Africa but also the best city on earth for the 7th year running (Telegraph Travel Awards 2019).

This is because the Mother City can truly fit any mood, from romantic honeymooners to affluent travellers who require the most exquisite accommodation possible. Not to mention it serves up an abundance of those ever-popular million-dollar views!

When is the best time of the year to visit Cape Town? Well, we believe every season has something to offer and you will soon see why we feel that way. Particularly when you’re enjoying one of the many gorgeous beach villas and luxury apartments available along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Aerial view of Cape Town at sunset
Aerial view of Cape Town at sunset

Key facts about Cape Town

South Africa is a large country and depending on where you are it can have a lot of different things to offer holidaymakers. Being based in Cape Town is a convenient way to enjoy cosmopolitan urban attractions and adventures in the Winelands, while also being just a short flight or luxurious overland away from safari attractions like the Karoo Desert and even the Kruger National Park.

When it comes to places to visit in Cape Town, this is a city of mind-boggling cultural diversity, complexity, and intense natural beauty. Fast facts about Cape Town include:

When to visit? The ideal time to visit South Africa depends on what you want to do. Summer (November to March) and Autumn (March to May) are particularly popular periods for national and international visitors.

Where is it? Cape Town is on the southern tip of Africa. It’s a 19-hour flight from New York, 14-hour flight from Perth and only 12 hours from London.

Who visits? There are many types of travellers who choose Cape Town as their destination of choice. From family vacationers to sports enthusiasts and even newlyweds or retirees, the city can cater to almost anyone’s interests and needs. Several celebrities also frequent Cape Town for work, events and holidays. These personalities include Miley Cyrus, Katie Holmes, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Sean Penn, and Oprah. This is because the caliber of accommodation and services is incredibly high here!

Cape Town’s tourism seasons

Peak (or high) season coincides with summer when temperatures tend to climb and there are plenty of outdoor things to do in Cape Town. This is between December and February. These hot summer months also happen to coincide with local school holidays. This is why it’s always a good idea to book your accommodation early if you want to secure the most prime properties for a Christmas or New Year’s visit.

Shoulder seasons tend to be from March to May and September to November. This is when most of the summer holiday crowds have either left or haven’t arrived yet in the Mother City. That being said, the Easter period around April can still get busy for short bursts with local tourism.

Off-peak (or low) season is from around June to August, this is when the Western Cape experiences its winter rainfall. Nevertheless, the city offers a number of stunning attractions and activities for these cosier months too.

Cape Town’s climate & weather

If you ask locals this question, you will probably receive a snide reply about the Mother City serving up four seasons in a day. Even in summer, it’s always a good idea to take a jumper or cardigan out with you for when the sun dips below the horizon and the icy Atlantic Ocean freshens the air.

In general, Cape Town enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate featuring warm, dry conditions from October to April with temperatures peaking between December and February. For those who enjoy sports that require strong winds, the renowned south-easterly (nicknamed the Cape Doctor) blows from December to February but calms down again from March. From June to August, you can expect fireside-friendly activities with the rainy days of winter being dominant.

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Camps Bay beach in summer
Camps Bay beach in summer

Summer in Cape Town

December to February in Cape Town offers up exquisite conditions with both locals and visitors flocking to the city’s Blue Flag beaches. This is also when stronger winds attract kite surfing enthusiasts from around the world. However, you will spot holidaymakers enjoying vibrant nightlife and basking in sunny festive cheer almost anywhere you go during summer. This is also a wonderful time to visit the many Wine Estates sprinkled around Cape Town.

Packing for a summer visit to Cape Town still means preparing for unpredictable weather. We recommend swimming gear, hiking gear, sun hats, sunglasses and, of course, plenty of sunblock. Ensure that you have both light and warm clothes. Even on the balmiest summer days, temperatures can drop when you’re having sundowners next to the ocean.

Visiting Cape Town in December

Visitor rating: Good | Tourist volume: High | Tourist season: Peak

Accommodation prices: Highest | Flight prices: High

Average temperature: ±25°C /77°F | Average rainfall: ±13.9mm/0.5inches (Low)

Average humidity: ±71% | Average wind: ±13.5mph/22kmph

Average sunrise: ±5:30am | Average sunset: ±7:55pm

The festive month is particularly glamorous when it comes to a stay in the Mother City. From picnicking at a Summer Sunset Concert in Kirstenbosch Gardens to sipping on gin at a Twelve Apostles jazz evening, there’s something exciting happening every day when visiting Cape Town in December.

Understandably, this is also the best time of year to visit Cape Town’s beautiful beaches, the weather is simply gorgeous, and this makes the coastline the most popular summertime destination, particularly Clifton and Camps Bay beaches.

Outdoor activities include hiking on Table Mountain and visiting the ever-spectacular Cape Point. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to appreciating sports and nature here. From paragliding to quad biking, horse riding to sailing, there’s an adventure around every corner for enthusiasts. For those who prefer a more laid-back season, you’ll also be able to explore various venues across Cape Town (including the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Winelands), which play host to a summer-long series of popup movie screenings (Galileo Open Air Cinema).

Visiting Cape Town in January

Visitor rating: Good | Tourist volume: High | Tourist season: Peak

Accommodation prices: Highest | Flight prices: High

Average temperature: ±27°C /81°F | Average rainfall: ±15.5mm/0.6inches (Low)

Average humidity: ±65% | Average wind: ±13.9mph/23kmph

Average sunrise: ±5:45am | Average sunset: ±8:01pm

As with most of South Africa, the festive season stretches well into the New Year. You’ll find that many holidaymakers are still revelling along the coastline and enjoying the city’s finest dining well into January. This is a wonderful time of year to explore the love of wines and exotic mixology in and around Cape Town. There are a number of prestigious establishments that attract top local and international talent for the summer holidays.

The month kicks off with the one-of-a-kind Cape Town Minstrel Carnival (Kaapse Klopse), an incredible parade in the city-centre that dates back to the city’s 1800s slave era. January is also when the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival (Africa’s premier horse racing extravaganza) is hosted in Cape Town, attracting local and international celebrities for a weekend of glitz and glamour.

Visiting Cape Town in February

Visitor rating: Good | Tourist volume: High | Tourist season: Peak

Accommodation prices: High | Flight prices: Average

Average temperature: ±29°C /84°F | Average rainfall: ±13.9mm/0.5inches (Low)

Average humidity: ±63% | Average wind: ±13.7mph/23kmph

Average sunrise: ±6:15am | Average sunset: ±7:40pm

Festival February is usually hot and sunny, with occasional windy days, and a jampacked itinerary of fun and exciting events. Wine aficionados have plenty to look forward to as two of the nation’s top wine regions, Franschhoek and Robertson, both host wine festivals during this month. Not to mention, Cape Town’s exclusive wine estates present a grand opportunity to wine and dine someone special for Valentine’s Day!

With the holiday season mostly over, Cape Town’s beaches are less populated, yet the weather is still perfect for a day by the sea. You’ll also find accommodation and flights start to lower. The Up the Creek Music Festival, Cape Town Art Fair, Design Indaba and the vibrant Cape Town Pride Festival are also exciting highlights in the month of love!

Sunrise in the Franschhoek Valley during autumn
Sunrise in the Franschhoek Valley during autumn

Autumn in Cape Town

March to May in Cape Town is a magical time where the slopes of the mountain and countryside transform into gold and scarlet. Some people maintain that the start of Autumn is the best time of the year to visit Cape Town. The temperatures are pleasant and there isn’t much rainfall yet. That’s why some locals even refer to fall as the “secret” season in the Cape.

Autumn is also an important time for the Cape Winelands. After all, harvest time means one thing in this part of South Africa, an abundance of perfectly ripe grapes in the vineyards!

You should pack warmly for Cape Town Autumn months. On cooler days, fireplaces will add cosy warmth. On warmer days, you can picnic and look out over the landscapes under the shade of ancient oaks. Good food, good wine, good vibes!

Visiting Cape Town in March

Visitor rating: Excellent | Tourist volume: Moderate | Tourist season: Shoulder

Accommodation prices: Average | Flight prices: Average

Average temperature: ±27°C /81°F | Average rainfall: ±10mm/0.4inches (Low)

Average humidity: ±63% | Average wind: ±11.7mph/19kmph

Average sunrise: ±6:50am | Average sunset: ±6:58pm

March heralds the start of the first shoulder season in Cape Town when the summer crowds have truly left but the days are still balmy. Sometimes, the weather is even more idyllic than January and February as there is (usually) less wind. Accommodation and flight prices are also lower.

In short, March is the month for cycling and mountain biking fanatics in Cape Town! This is when the Mother City hosts the Cape Cycle Tour and the Cape Epic, which many athletes from around the world fly in to attend or even participate. For those looking for less vigorous festivities, the inner city hosts the majestic Cape Town Carnival, as well as the International Jazz Festival during this time.

Visiting Cape Town in April

Visitor rating: Excellent | Tourist volume: Moderate | Tourist season: Shoulder

Accommodation prices: Average | Flight prices: Average

Average temperature: ±25°C /77°F | Average rainfall: ±25.4mm/1 inch (Moderate)

Average humidity: ±76% | Average wind: ±10.6mph/17kmph

Average sunrise: ±7:10am | Average sunset: ±6:20pm

April is a great time for playing the fool in Cape Town! This is a hotspot in the calendar for locals who love to road trip to the Western Cape for Easter. It’s a time of year when the array of feasting opportunities become endless. From delicacies grilled over hot coals to oyster and champagne festivals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in April.

For avid athletes, April is also when Cape Town hosts the renowned Two Oceans Marathon where runners get to enjoy one of the most beautiful routes in the entire world. It’s also a great time to explore some of the surrounding towns in the Winelands. For example, the Bot River Wine Route certainly comes alive for the Barrels and Beards Harvest Festival. You can join many farmers who all compete for the best chin fluff and the best wine varietals.

Visiting Cape Town in May

Visitor rating: Fair | Tourist volume: Low | Tourist season: Shoulder

Accommodation prices: Average | Flight prices: Low

Average temperature: ±22°C /72°F | Average rainfall: ±43mm/1.7 inches (Moderate)

Average humidity: ±80% | Average wind: ±11.1mph/17.8kmph

Average sunrise: ±7:30am | Average sunset: ±5:55pm

While May might be the start of the cooler, rainier season in Cape Town, it’s also the time of year when the Mother City’s dining and entertainment scene truly heats up. The month kicks off with AfrikaBurn, which attracts keen travellers, wanderlust wanderers, free spirits and creative souls from all corners of the globe.

For anyone who loves all things interior design, creativity, and artistic flair, the Decorex exhibition is the ultimate mecca for trend-setting enthusiasts. For sippers of fine drams, the Whisky and Gin Live Festival is a must! And if you prefer your craft brews instead, don’t miss the Craft Brewers Powwow event.

View of Camps Bay during sunset in winter
View of Camps Bay during sunset in winter

Winter in Cape Town

June to August in Cape Town delivers an entirely different side to the Mother City and the surrounding region. The weather in Cape Town turns cool and crisp, the scenery also becomes luscious with intense greenery, all thanks to the winter rainfall. The cost of accommodation and tours tends to also be lower while the hustle and bustle of crowds almost non-existent.

Packing for a winter adventure to Cape Town means fortifying against cold and also rain. However, you should prepare to dress in layers as Capetonians love entertaining by the cosy fireplace or next to heaters during these colder months. While it is nowhere near as cold as a Canadian or European winter, you’ll find it just as snug and warm inside – with truly wonderful culinary delights around every corner.

Visiting Cape Town in June

Visitor rating: Fair | Tourist volume: Low | Tourist season: Low

Accommodation prices: Low | Flight prices: Low

Average temperature: ±20°C /68°F | Average rainfall: ±66mm/2.6 inches (High)

Average humidity: ±80% | Average wind: ±11.2mph/18kmph

Average sunrise: ±7:50am | Average sunset: ±5:43pm

Many of the city’s restaurants have begun their winter specials by June, and a great number of these immaculate venues will also light up their fireplaces for a warm, cosy atmosphere. Expect to see plenty of places offering soup nights, pie pairings and potjiekos (this is a stew made in the traditional three-legged cast-iron pot over the fire). Some of the local favourite spots for winter warmer meals are La Colombe, La Mouette and Foxcroft.

June is also when the whale watching season starts. You can expect to see these gentle ocean giants migrating north to warmer climates all along the coastline. However, sightings are best in False Bay, Gansbaai and the town of Hermanus, about 1 hour from Cape Town. If you are travelling down the “Garden Route” at this time of the year, be sure to catch the Knysna Oyster Festival at the end of the month.

Visiting Cape Town in July

Visitor rating: Fair | Tourist volume: Low | Tourist season: Low

Accommodation prices: Low | Flight prices: Low

Average temperature: ±20°C /68°F | Average rainfall: ±100mm/3.9 inches (High)

Average humidity: ±82% | Average wind: ±11.5mph/18.5kmph

Average sunrise: ±7:45am | Average sunset: ±5:58pm

While outdoor activities are limited by cold weather in July, Cape Town’s social scene is still ablaze with plenty of indoor events. This is also a good time for lower accommodation and flight prices, as well as minimal crowds. For those who really enjoy snuggling up and getting into the winter feels, the Soetes & Soup Festival is a fun-filled event that’s hosted at the various wineries in the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini, and Breede River areas.

From celebrating at the Franschhoek Bastille Festival to doing good on Mandela Day to hitting up a funny festival or even attending the iconic First Thursdays, July in Cape Town is never boring. The best part? There are almost no crowds and you can get tables at the most prestigious restaurants without even having to worry about booking!

Visiting Cape Town in August

Visitor rating: Fair | Tourist volume: Low | Tourist season: Low

Accommodation prices: Low | Flight prices: Low

Average temperature: ±20°C /68°F | Average rainfall: ±60mm/2.4 inches (High)

Average humidity: ±79% | Average wind: ±11.6mph/18.6kmph

Average sunrise: ±7:30am | Average sunset: ±6:15pm

For nature lovers and photographers, nothing can be as enticing as the crisp sunrise views and red dusty sunsets of a Cape Town August. This is also when the northern parts of South Africa experience a boom in game viewing and safari opportunities. Just a short flight from Cape Town, the Kruger National Park offers up the perfect chance to see all of the Big 5 wild animals that have made this part of Africa so famous.

As the days begin to warm, many locals and visitors also start to tentatively enjoy the outdoors again in Cape Town. This is a good time to try the ever-famous delicacies served for high tea at the exclusive Mount Nelson Hotel.

Spring flowers in West Coast National Park
Spring flowers in West Coast National Park

Spring in Cape Town

September to November months in Cape Town provide visitors with some of the rarest most colourful flora in the whole world. The Cape wildflowers bloom all over the countryside in magnificent shades during Spring here. Even from the city bowl, locals and visitors can gaze upon Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head or Signal Hill to see the brilliant petals carpeting the slopes.

Packing for a Spring visit to Cape Town still means preparing for chilly weather. We recommend both light and warm clothes to accommodate for varying temperatures in Cape Town and also possible rainfall.

Visiting Cape Town in September

Visitor rating: Good | Tourist volume: Moderate | Tourist season: Shoulder

Accommodation prices: Average | Flight prices: Average

Average temperature: ±21°C /70°F | Average rainfall: ±45.7mm/1.8 inches (Moderate)

Average humidity: ±77% | Average wind: ±12mph/19.3kmph

Average sunrise: ±6:40am | Average sunset: ±6:40pm

If we could describe September in Cape Town in just a few words, they would be whales, wine, wildflowers, and literary works! The start of Spring is usually marked by the Namaqualand Flower Festival and later in the month, the Darling Wildflower Show. This is also the time to join local and international writers at the Open Book Festival held at the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum and the beloved Book Lounge.

Another massive attraction to the Western Cape during September is the popular Hermanus Whale Festival. You’ll be able to spot whales while also enjoying live music performances, vintage car shows, a street parade, great food, and quality crafts!

Visiting Cape Town in October

Visitor rating: Excellent | Tourist volume: Moderate | Tourist season: Shoulder

Accommodation prices: Average | Flight prices: Average

Average temperature: ±24°C /77°F | Average rainfall: ±22.8mm/0.9 inches (Moderate)

Average humidity: ±75% | Average wind: ±13.1mph/21kmph

Average sunrise: ±6:00am | Average sunset: ±7:00pm

The start of October heralds one of South Africa’s top outdoor music festivals, Rocking the Daisies, which takes place just outside the city in the wildflower carpeted valleys of Darling. This month also often has mild and sunny days that are perfect for the beach and outdoor activities. Since it’s not yet peak season you will have the coastline to yourself. Not to mention that families absolutely love the festivities on offer at the Zandvlei Nature Reserve for the Cape Town International Kite Festival.

October is also when visitors can attend the “granddaddy of boat shows on the African continent”. We’re talking about the Boatica Cape Town exhibition of course! You can expect to see exotic boats, boating products, and a wide variety of nautical merchandise on display. Being a hub for all kinds of brews it’s also really no surprise that there are a number of Oktoberfest celebrations in and around Cape Town too.

Visiting Cape Town in November

Visitor rating: Excellent | Tourist volume: Moderate | Tourist season: Shoulder

Accommodation prices: Average | Flight prices: Average

Average temperature: ±25°C /77°F | Average rainfall: ±21mm/0.8 inches (Moderate)

Average humidity: ±70% | Average wind: ±13.6mph/22kmph

Average sunrise: ±5:40am | Average sunset: ±7:25pm

November is the start of the warmer season as summertime begins to arrive and the rain clears up. It’s a good time to capitalize on the tourist hotspots before the crowds arrive too. If you are lucky enough to be staying in one of the glorious apartments or villas overlooking the beaches at Clifton or Camps Bay, you will love taking in November sunsets while sitting on your own deck and sipping on your favourite tipple.

One of the most popular events during November is the family-friendly Jamestown Strawberry Festival in Stellenbosch. This is also a wonderful time of year to browse Greenmarket Square and the V&A Waterfront to stock up on handcrafted, festive gifts from Africa!

Royal Cape Golf Club (courtesy of royalcapegolf.co.za)

The ideal time for special activities

Cape Town is wildly popular for a number of special activities and events, depending on the time of year and weather.

Weddings and honeymoons

The best time for a wedding or honeymoon in Cape Town can vary to meet a wide variety of personalities. Those who would like long misty walks on the beach and candle-lit evenings in front of a fireplace with a glass of fine wine will love July to August. On the other hand, those who want to bask in landscapes bursting with wildflowers will prefer August to October. While newlyweds looking for lazy days spent on the beach will love the sunshine from November to January.

Playing golf

Golf courses in Cape Town are best explored during April’s Autumn harvest season when tourism slows down and you can rub shoulders with the locals. The springtime in September and October is also a  lovely time to enjoy Cape Town’s top golf courses. There is little wind during this time of the year, and you will find bookings less competitive before the high is in full swing.

ocean-villa-197646041
Ocean Villa in Camps Bay

Luxurious accommodation in Cape Town

Well, there you have it. The best time to visit Cape Town is anytime you wish to visit!

However, if you remain undecided, feel free to contact us so we can help you choose the best month to visit Cape Town considering the weather conditions you like and the attractions you wish to experience.

Our support team stands ready 24/7/365 to serve all of our guests and will ensure a care-free holiday by helping you plan your itinerary. You can also rest assured that all of our accommodation options are in a safe area to stay. Be in touch with our knowledgeable team and we’ll take care of the rest.

Find luxury accommodation in Cape Town for your family today! If you are travelling with friends, we have a vast selection of villas for large groups.

Families love staying in Camps Bay

Staying near Camps Bay beach is one of the best places to be in the summer
Phone us on +27 21 201 1495 and ask to speak to one of our friendly experts.