Best time to visit the Cape

The Western Cape experiences dry summers, and receives winter rainfall.  The optimum time is between November and May.  However, it is very much a year-round destination, and although the incidence of rainfall is higher in the winter months, this should not prohibit a visit during this time.  Indeed, many visitors prefer to visit South Africa between the Autumn and Spring, when game-viewing tends to be at its best, and wilderness trekking in the Drakensberg is frequently undertaken – an extension to Cape Town from a safari or hiking adventure is only to be encouraged, even if the Cape is not in Peak Season. 

Table Mountain and the Hoerikwaggo Trail

Hiking on the Cape Peninsula can be undertaken at any time, but is best between October and May.  In October and November, hikers on certain trails, particularly between Simonstown and Cape Point, can be rewarded with excellent whale sightings. 


The best time for extended hikes in the Cederberg are the Autumn months (March to April) and the Spring and early Summer months (September to mid-December). Spring, particularly September, is particularly good for flowers.  In high summer (January and February), temperatures can reach as high as 40 deg.C, and hiking is best avoided. Winters are typically cold and wet, and the highest peaks are frequently snow-capped between June and August. 


Whale-spotting on the south coast of the Western Cape, on the False Bay side of the Cape Peninsula is best from July to November, when southern right and humpback whales congregate to calve.  Walker Bay (Hermanus) is reputed to be one of the best land-based whale-watching spots in the world.