South Africa is believed to be a pearl of the African continent. And it's absolutely true, because it is one of the most geographically varied countries of this continent. The territory of South Africa is considerably diverse and comprises the hilly, prolific plains of the High Veld, the wide open savanna of the Eastern Transvaal, the Kalahari Desert and the peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Although all this diversity of regions offers astonishing opportunities for adventure travel, the focus in South Africa--as in much of sub-Saharan Africa--is the safari. Being a cradle of wild nature South Africa possesses two of the world's most famous wildlife reserves, the Kruger and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Parks, and also contains over a dozen smaller regional parks and reserves. Such diversity is applied to South Africa weather as well.
South Africa weather is greatly depended on the geographical location of the country. South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Indian Ocean on the south and east. Along its northern border are situated Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and to the northeast are Mozambique and Swaziland.
South Africa weather is considerably up to the ocean currents. These two currents are the warm Agulhas ocean current, which sweeps southward along the Indian Ocean coastline in the east for several months of the year, and the cold Benguela current, which sweeps northward along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west. The cold Benguela is laden with plankton and providing rich fishing grounds. The east coast has fertile ground owing to the warm waters of Agulhas. These two currents have a major effect on South Africa weather, the ready evaporation of the eastern seas providing generous rainfall while the Benguela current retains its moisture to cause desert conditions in the west.
Although South Africa's climate varies considerably across its various regions and environments, temperatures remain comfortable throughout the year. The average difference between the temperatures is 3-4C. The best time to visit for safari is between May to August, when there is less rain and much less dense vegetation, making animal sightings far more frequent.
Average temperatures in Celsius:
Cape Town 20 12.6
Durban 23.6 17
Johannesburg 19.4 11.1
Pretoria 22.4 12.9
There are several regions in South Africa. They are:
The Eastern Interior or High Veld - including the greater part of the Transvaal (Pretoria, Johannesburg) and the Orange Free State (Bloemfontein) - is the most developed part of South Africa. The winters in this region are dry and mild but with frequent cold nights. Summers are warm with more frequent rain, but temperatures are rarely excessively high. The low humidity and large number of sunshine hours provides a pleasant and healthy climate for most of the year.
- The Western Interior - including much of interior Cape Province and the western fringe of the Transvaal - is the large region of low rainfall; much of it is semi-desert or even desert. In general, features of weather and climate are similar to those of the eastern interior.
- The Namib or Coastal Desert - including the western coast of Cape Province above 32°S and has unusual and quite distinctive weather and climate. The region receives very little rain and is a complete desert, but temperatures are kept low most of the time owing to the cold Benguela current. On a few days each month, especially in winter, midday temperatures rise quite high when the wind blows from the interior. This wind brings very dry air, which is heated as it comes down to the coast.
- Southwest Cape Province - including the coastal lowlands and southern slopes of the mountains around Cape Town - has mild and generally wet winters with changeable weather and dry, settled summers similar to the climate of the Mediterranean. Summers are not completely dry and occasional cloud-bursts take place.
- The Eastern Cape weather and climate - including the lowlands and hilly region below the Great Escarpment in Eastern Cape Province - has an intermediate climate that is a cross between the south-western Cape and the eastern coastlands regions. The main difference is that rainfall is well distributed around the year and changeable weather can occur in both winter and summer.
- The Eastern Coastlands and Low Veld - including coastal and inland Natal - is the territory where the climate comes nearest to being tropical. The summers are warm and moist on the coast, particularly towards the north in Zululand. Summer is the wettest season but some rain falls in all months.