When to Go in Cape Town

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The Cape Town Peninsula of South Africa has a Mediterranean climate and well defined seasons. Throughout the year, each season has its unique advantages and events.


Lasting from May to September, the winter months bring large cold fronts from across the Atlantic Ocean, with heavy rains and strong Northwestern winds. The average temperature is 7 degrees C (45 degrees F). If you're planning to visit the popular Cape Town beaches, avoid the months of May to September.


During the months of November to March,  Cape town is warm and dry. The Cape Town Peninsula gets frequent strong winds, known locally as the Cape Doctor, because they blow away pollution and clean the air. Summer temperatures are mild with an average maximum of 26 degrees C (79 degrees F). However, be aware that Cape Town gets uncomfortably hot when the Berg Wind (mountain wind) hits the city during a couple weeks in February and early March.

Here are some events to consider when planning your trip to Cape Town.

Cape Town Minstrel Carnival

Held annually on January 2nd or Tweede Nuw Jaar (second new year in Afrikaans), this festival is filled with competing teams of minstrels parading in brightly colored costumes, either carrying colorful umbrellas or playing an array of musical instruments. Given the popularity of the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, book your trip months in advance.


Design Indaba

Every February the Design Indaba Conference, founded by the well connected local media entrepreneur Ravi Naidoo, draws an all star lineup to the city for a several day long series of talks and forums. During past conferences, Paul Smith and Ilse Crawford have discussed trends, and Basque furniture designer Patricia Urquiola has talked about her creative process.

Whale Watching

Highly popular among tourists, whale watching in Cape Town allows you to observe Southern Right whales and Humpback whales during their breeding season from August to November. Take note that killer whales can be seen any time of the year. The nearby town of Hermanu is known for its annual Whale Festival.

Namaqualand Flowers

Early spring (August but dependent on the rains) is the time when the Namaqualand flowers bloom. Flowers blanket the hills and valleys in a carpet of flowers stretching to the horizons of the arid areas North of Cape Town. This is truly a "must see" miracle of nature.

July 17, 2009 change by damiandavilarojas (4 points)
August 07, 2009 change by mike eaton

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