It’s no wonder South Africa is such a popular international tourist attraction: we have mountains, beaches, valleys, waterfalls, vineyards, deserts and the ‘African Wild’; we have hot weather, snowy weather and tropical weather and best of all, we have a diverse, friendly and welcoming culture. What’s not to love? In fact, you could spend a whole year here and still not have experienced all that our beautiful country has to offer.
This exact reason is why South Africans love travelling through South Africa as much as international tourists do – something new, exciting unexplored always awaits. For this post, we have decided to put together a travel calendar, a guide for when to visit which places, neatly organised into months of the year (you know, just in case you do decide to take a year sabbatical to travel our magnificent South Africa – wouldn’t that be something?!?).
A Calendar Guide to South African Travel
Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and the Garden Route, West Coast
January a perfect summer month and you can expect hot, breezy and cloudless days. South African’s are still very much in a laid-back, relaxed mood after the festive season, ensuring plenty of fun activities, smiles and general happiness.
January will also be quieter in terms of local tourism as South Africans head back to work and school, ensuring that the main attractions are less crowded.
For family-friendly activities in Cape Town and the Western Cape, visit our Things to do with Kids in Cape Town and Things to do with Kids in Garden Route homepages.
Natal Midlands, Underberg, Hogsback & Amatola Mountains
February is South Africa’s hottest month and the best place to cool off (while still enjoying the Summer) is in the Mountains. Rent a cottage and enjoy views of waterfalls and rolling hills while breathing in the fresh country air.
Drakensberg Mountains, Natal Midlands, Clarens, the Wild Coast and the Garden Route
We are now heading into autumn, meaning cooler, yet still warm weather with the added bonus of a green and vibrantly beautiful countryside. During this time of year, you can really visit anywhere in South Africa as it is all equally phenomenal, but our favourite past time in March is definitely hiking: the climate is moderate, the views are incredible, the mountains are green and the waterfalls are in full force.
For a comprehensive guide on hiking routes with waterfalls, read our post on South Africa’s Glorious Waterfalls.
Similar to March, April promises a mild, moderate climate and it is, therefore, the best time of year to head inland to the semi-arid Karoo. Oudtshoorn, home of the ostrich, offers not only a variety of family-friendly outdoor activities, it also hosts the KKNK arts festival during this time of year which is an event not to be missed. While here, be sure to ride an Ostrich, explore the Cango Caves and simply take in the natural beauty of the Karoo countryside.
The Kruger National Park, South African Bushveld
When winter settles its cool hand over South Africa, we love to visit the Bushveld. As the heat dissipates, the animals start to move around more during the day and the vegetation, although still green, becomes sparse, making this a great time for game viewing and family safari getaways.
For an in-depth view of our family adventure getaway to the Kruger National Park, read our post titled ‘African Safari with Kids’.
Also, read our complete family-friendly guide on where to find the Big 5 in South Africa.
Durban, North Coast and South Coast
The tropical climate prevalent along the Kwa-Zulu Natal Coastline promises warm, sunny beach weather all your round.
While in Durban, be sure to take part in an exhilarating outdoor adventure activity, or take advantage of one these listed outdoor family-friendly activities.
On the odd occasion that the weather is miserable, be sure to visit an indoor play venue with the kids or choose from a variety of family-friendly indoor activities.
Golden Gate National Park, Underberg, Sani Pass, Drakensberg, Sutherland, Rhodes Eastern Cape
Head to the mountains for snow during July or visit one of our ski resorts in the Eastern Cape for a European-inspired South African winter wonderland.
West Coast, Namaqualand, Northern Cape Coast
It’s flower season in South Africa, so be sure to take a road trip anywhere up the West Coast or Northern Cape to see its full glory. It’s a fun and exhilarating outdoor excursion into nature for the kids.
Overberg (Hermanus, Witsand), The Whale Coast (Kogelberg, Betty’s Bay, Gans Bay)
During spring, the shores of the Western Cape become home to the Southern Right Whale as they enter their breeding season. Expect mesmerising displays of whale families frolicking in the waves while taking in the relaxing seaside atmosphere.
Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng
October marks the beginning of summer with moderate temperatures and the start of the rainy season which makes the northern part of South Africa a pleasure to visit. Gone are the dreary winter browns, now replaced with rolling green hills. Be sure to visit the lush Magoebaskloof valley for an outdoor-inspired getaway, look for hiking opportunities and mesmerising views along the Panorama Route and explore the Cradle of Humankind, as well as our nation’s Capital, in Gauteng.
Coastal South Africa
It’s summer and what better way to celebrate than by heading to one of the many glorious beach towns along the South African coastline. November is still a working and school month in South Africa, which means that the main areas will be less crowded.
Read our blog post ‘Mojitos in Ballito’ for some family getaway inspiration along the KZN North Coast.
Coastal South Africa
It’s the festive season and the whole of South Africa celebrates as schools and businesses close and head to the beach. This month marks a calendar filled with festive family-friendly events, activities and excursions wherever you decide to go so expect a lively, busy and happy atmosphere.
Read this for a list of family-friendly beaches in Cape Town as well as some family-fun beach activities.
Enjoy your travel through South Africa and be sure to share your experiences with us via one of our social media channels!