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Best time to visit South Africa and why?

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When is the Best time to visit South Africa and why?

 

Situated on the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa is marked by several distinct ecosystems. The Western Cape offers the city of Cape Town, beneath Table Mountain, beaches galore and the cliffs of the Cape of Good Hope, around Stellenbosch and Paarl you find the lush green winelands,  along the Garden Route you find forest lands and lagoons and up north the safari destination of the Kruger National Park, full of big game.

 

South Africa offers classic African scenery comprising golden savannah, mountains and gorges, beautiful deserts, big-name game parks and some of the world’s most luxurious private game reserves and lodges. Wildlife enthusiasts come from all corners of the globe in search of the so-called Big Five – lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino, and elephant, but more often they find much more to remember, like shark dives, white-water rafting, golden beaches and surf breaks, as well as some vibrant cities, cultures and cuisines.

 

Which destinations is worth visiting in South Africa

 

Some of the major attractions that bring tourists back again and again, are:

 

Cape Town and the Western Cape

 

Cape Town is one of the planet’s most breath taking cities, situated between a rugged range of mountains and the sea. It is famous for the flat-topped Table Mountain which can easily be explored by gliding up with a cableway.

Hikes up Lion’s Head also provides panoramic views of the city and on Table Mountain’s eastern slopes, are the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront has become one of Cape Town’s top attractions lately. Visitors come here to shop, dine, and enjoy a variety of entertainment, including the Two Ocean’s Aquarium.

Camp’s Bay offers more scenery, as well as chic shops and cafes while Chapman’s Peak Drive offers the ideal opportunity to watch spectacular sunsets.

 

Robben Island, Western Cape

 

Nestled in Table Bay, not far from the shore, is the World-Heritage-listed Robben Island as a haunting reminder of the horrors of apartheid. This is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned in a tiny cell along with other political dissidents and social misfits and visits to the island are moving and interesting in more way than one.

Sightseers can board boats to Robben Island, often braving rough swells on the 30-45-minute ride. Tours to the island include multimedia exhibits in the museum at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

 

Stellenbosch and the winelands of the Western Cape

 

Stellenbosch is one of the most picturesque towns in South Africa and situated in the middle of the wine producing area.

The town and area is known for its farms, old oak trees, and white-washed Cape Dutch dwellings. It is a university town with a vibrant feel and fantastic scenery, as well as home to some of South Africa’s best restaurants and many sidewalk cafes.

History enthusiasts can take a walk back in time at the Village Museum, a group of restored houses and gardens dating from between 1709 and 1850, while the Rupert Museum exhibitions important works by South African artists.

The Botanic Garden at the University of Stellenbosch is a top tourist attraction while the surrounding area offers hikes and wilderness trails in the breath-taking Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

Wine tasting is one of the best ways to spend a day in the area, combining delicious wines with beautiful landscapes and century old architecture on a lot of wine estates.

Boasting around 200 wine and grape producers, Stellenbosch was the first region to establish a formal route among the wineries.

 

Adventure in the form of cage diving with Great White Sharks

 

If getting into a thick iron cage, plunging into the ocean, and coming face-to-face with a great white shark is your idea of adventure, then the Cape coast can offer you that. The sport has become very popular with more tour operators coming on board every year.

The best time to try this is between April and October, but great whites are around in the waters throughout the year thanks to healthy populations of seals and fish. Cape Town tour operators organise shark cage dives to areas around Simon’s Town, Seal Island, Dyer Island, Mossel Bay, and Gansbaai.

 

The Garden Route

 

The Garden Route runs for about 200 kilometres along the country’s southeast coast through some of the most breath taking coastal scenery. The route stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape, all along the Indian Ocean coast.

This popular route passes through pretty coastal towns, lagoons, lakes, and coastal cliffs, the town of Knysna, and the Garden Route National Park with its gorges, tidal pools and thick forests, and the seal colony of the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay.
A short way inland are Oudtshoorn’s ostrich farms and the world famous Cango Caves.

 

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Northern Cape

 

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the largest wilderness areas in the world and spans a remote region of South Africa’s Northern Cape and Botswana.

Totally different from the western Cape country, here you will find red sands, golden grasslands, camel thorn trees, and deep blue skies as backdrop for game viewing and photographs. This vast conservation area is home to the famous black-maned Kalahari lion, stately gemsbok and large sociable weavers’ nests, as well as entertaining meerkat colonies and many birds of prey. Predators such as leopard, cheetah, and hyenas are also found.

 

The Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

 

The spectacular Drakensberg, translated as “Dragon Mountains,” and home to the country’s highest peaks, is one of the most popular destinations in South Africa. The region offers jagged basalt buttresses and San rock art, and the Royal Natal National Park with the awe-inspiring Amphitheatre.

The Giant’s Castle Game Reserve is home to large herds of eland and more than 800 different species of flowering plants. In the summer, the mountain landscapes are lush with flowing waterfalls and crystal-clear streams. In the winter the dramatic peaks may be covered with snow.

Visitors can hike and bike along scenic mountain trails, fish for trout, rock climb, abseil, parasail, and hot air balloon rides are also offered.

 

Durban’s Golden Mile and the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal

 

Durban’s waterfront promenade is called the Golden Mile and is a legendary tourist attraction. The long sunny beaches accommodate surfers and swimmers, while anglers also try their luck from the rocks or beach.

The promenade is always alive with the hustling and bustling of visitors to the hotels, shops, restaurants, and entertainment establishments. Visitors can stroll along the promenade or rent a bike or Segway.

More attractions along this stretch include the uShaka Marine World, the Moses Mabhida Stadium and a Mini Town, a tiny replica of Durban with a miniature airport, rail network and harbour scene.

 

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal

 

iSimangaliso is the Zulu for “miracle and wonder”, and an apt name for this World Heritage Area and Africa’s largest estuarine system.

iSimangaliso lies on the north eastern coast of Kwazulu Natal and connects eight interwoven ecosystems with each other. These include savanna, swamplands, coastal dunes, lakes, rivers and coral reefs and support a vast variety of wildlife. Hippos and crocodiles, leatherback and loggerhead turtles, leopard, rhino and more than 500 species of birds inhabit the reserve.

 

Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces

 

The Kruger National Park is one of the world’s most famous game reserves and one of the oldest in South Africa.

The park offers visitors the chance to see the “Big Five”, which include lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino, as well as a large variety of other wildlife. Visitors can explore the park via a large and well-kept network of sealed and gravel roads or undertake a walking safari.

Accommodation ranges from basic campsites to comfortable and even luxurious lodges – some on private concessions in the game reserve.

 

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga

 

The beautiful Blyde River Canyon is the biggest green canyon in the world and the nature reserve with the same name offers a rich diversity of wildlife and plants, waterfalls, glistening rivers, and lichen-covered rock formations.

The best way to explore this park is via the scenic driving routes or by hiking trails. Panoramic viewpoints include the Three Rondavels and God’s Window. Boat trips and white water rafting are also available on the rivers.

 

The cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng

 

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa by population and as home of the Oliver Tambo International Airport also gateway for many travellers to South Africa.

Nicknamed the “City of Gold” because of its rich deposits of the precious metal, it is the main economic hub of the country. Attractions include the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, which portrays the region’s history through mining-themed attractions and guided tours of townships like Soweto.

The name is an abbreviation for southwestern townships, and is where the freedom movement, forerunner of South Africa’s democratic constitution, originated. The Mandela House here is now a national monument.

A few kilometres north lies Pretoria, the administrative capital of the country. It is a city with lots of parks and lush gardens, and home to the Voortrekker Monument, Heritage Site and the Freedom Park.

Gauteng and the North West Province

Although home to both Pretoria and Johannesburg, Gauteng is the smallest province in the country, with the largest population. Gauteng means “place of gold” in the Sotho language. Apart from the mentioned cities and their attractions, visitors can explore the fossil-rich caves of the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Westwards from Gauteng and separated by the Magaliesberge, is the North West Province with more superb game parks like the Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve which both offer authentic African safaris. In contrast to the province’s bush and savannah attractions, the Vegas-style Sun City resort is also part of the province.

Packed with entertainment options ranging from water parks with wave pools to lavish themed hotels and casinos, this is a more than popular tourist spot.

 

Top-rated luxury safari lodges in South Africa

 

Spread over all the provinces of South Africa, several high-end fine and expensive safari lodges can be found.  Most of these lodges lie in private game reserves bordering the Kruger National Park, in the Kalahari region of the Northern Cape and in KwaZulu Natal – all with abundant wildlife and fewer tourists than in the national parks.

These exclusive and mostly eco-conscious lodges offer a true small-group luxury wilderness experience, with exceptional service and expert guides and trackers that take you right to the action in open-air safari vehicles.

But a few questions remain, and this article will further explore the factors that would influence your decision to visit the country, like the ever present budgetary considerations; your age; and how the weather conditions may influence your choice of destination or time of visit.

 

Factors that would influence a visit to South Africa

 

Budgetary considerations

 

What makes South Africa a unique safari destination is that everything is priced in South African Rand (ZAR) the local currency. As the local currency has dropped heavily in value against the US$, the UK£ and the €, South Africa became more and more affordable to people visiting from the USA, UK and Europe.

South Africa now offers such good value-for-money that there has never been a better time to visit. South Africa is one of the cheapest destinations in Africa right now, perhaps in the world.

 

Purpose of the visit – safari, luxury or relaxing

 

Considering the above, a visitor will need to decide how important factors like exclusiveness, solace, modern amenities and luxury is while planning a visit.

 

Age of visitors

 

Due to the fact that many destinations are best accessible via roads, older people may need to consider whether they are fit enough for the challenge. Fortunately, many destinations can be reached by air too.

 

Weather

 

Last, but not least, weather circumstances, rainy and dry seasons and day temperatures will not only determine whether it is comfortable or uncomfortable to visit a certain place, it will also depend on the season whether you will find what you came for.

South Africa is a vast country, with a mix of desert, tropical coastlines, temperate woodlands, and snow-capped mountains. Because of this, climates can vary.

Unlike many other African countries, South Africa does have four distinct seasons. May through September is typically the drier season, covering winter and a shorter spring season, and making it ideal for game drives and other outdoor activities. October through April is the wet season, encompassing fall and summer.

This is an excellent season for bird-watching, and even then, rains are often quick showers that are unlikely to affect your trip. December through February are very hot (the equivalent of summer for the Northern Hemisphere) and can be crowded since schools are on holiday.

 

What to expect from each season in South Africa

 

There are best times to visit each and every one of the tourism destinations offered by this country, and there are not-so-good times, but never a time to stay away.

The rainy season for most of the country is in the summer, which is November through to March, but the Western Cape receives its rainfall in the winter, which is May to August and in most of the Eastern Cape, it is distributed evenly throughout the year.

South Africa’s winter (May-August) gets fairly cold, although visitors from traditionally cold countries may experience it as merely mild. It is pleasantly sunny and warm in spring and autumn, and often very hot in summer (November to March) with frequent rains.

The Cape experiences hot, dry weather in its summer months between November and February, with temperatures between 23°C and 26°C. The best time to visit the Cape for whale watching is between July and November.

The northern regions of South Africa can be rainy from November to February, making that a good time to travel for birding. The cooler winter months in its turn bring superb conditions for viewing big game, hence the best time to visit South Africa’s parks is from May to September. This is the dry season when animals congregate around waterholes and rivers.

May to September is high season for all game parks, while during the period October to March a visitor won’t experience it as overly crowded, except for main camps in the Kruger National Park during school holidays.

April to September can on the other hand be seen as low season in the coastal regions. From June to August it is very cold in the mornings and at night, with no rain and mostly sunny days – and very important – few mosquitos.

October to April is the wet season in the biggest part of the country, and after the first rains, the scenery turns green. This is a good time for bird watching, with migratory birds also present.

 

What day and night temperatures to expect in South Africa

 

South Africa is a vast country with huge difference in the weather between the southern, northern, inland and coastal regions, making it almost impossible to give a comprehensive summary of each.

In Cape Town, the average temperature ranges from 21 degrees Celsius in January and February to 12 degrees Celsius in July. The summer temperatures are usually not too high because of the ocean’s influence, though sometimes a hot and dry type of wind known as the Berg winds because it blows from the mountains, may raise the temperature to around 35 degrees Celsius.

On the other hand, a strong southern breeze nicknamed the Cape Doctor often blows in summer, cooling and cleaning the air. Table Mountain, the flat-topped mountain overlooking Cape Town, is about a thousand meters high and often covered in a layer of clouds.

In comparison the western Cape with its Mediterranean climate, the northern Cape, and in particular the South Africa part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, experiences extreme weather conditions with very cold winter nights and very hot summer days.

Southwest of the town Upington, the Augrabies Falls is considered the hottest place in South Africa with a temperature of 48.6 degrees Celsius recorded in January 2016, and 46.1 degrees Celsius in 2015. A bit further to the west, the heat record is 47 degrees Celsius.

Sutherland, located in the arid Great Karoo, is known as the coldest town in South Africa. Snowfalls in winter occur often here, with the coldest record set in July 2003 on -16 degrees Celsius.

The coastal strip to the east of the Cape Town area is characterised by a fairly mild climate, which becomes progressively warmer and wetter towards the east-northeast. The climate is cool and breezy, with limited variations in temperature between winter and summer and rainfall is well distributed throughout the year.

In Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape, the average temperature in July is 14 degrees Celsius, although short cold waves can occasionally lower the night-time temperature to around freezing point between June and September. Summer is pleasant, with average in January and February of 21 degrees Celsius with a lively breeze from the sea.

On the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban it gets quite hot and humid in summer. The average in January and February temperature is around 24.5 degrees Celsius and the humidity makes the heat almost unbearable, even though some afternoon breezes may bring a bit of relief.

In winter, daytime temperatures are pleasant, on average around 23 degrees Celsius. Sea temperature often exceeds 23 degrees Celsius from November to May, and in winter it does not drop below 22 degrees Celsius.

In the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, the winter is dry and sunny, with large temperature variations between night and day. At night temperatures easily drop to about 10 degrees Celsius or less, while day temperature can go up to around 26/27 degrees Celsius.

Summers are hot and humid, with afternoon thunderstorms always possible. Temperatures in Skukuza, the main camp of the park, easily soars into the high 30 degrees Celsius and even more.

 

The best times to visit the different attractions in South Africa

 

If you are bound to take your holiday during a specific month, a month-by-month guide to travelling through SOUTH AFRICA may help you to decide which destination(s) would be the best to fit into your itinerary.

 

Visiting South Africa in January

 

During January hot and dry weather prevails in the Cape, making it an excellent time of year for trips to Cape Town and the Garden Route, while the Kruger and KwaZulu Natal also experience high temperatures, but it is rainy season there and days may be characterised by tropical rainstorms.

 

Visiting South Africa in February

 

February is usually one of the hottest months in the Cape, although coastal towns may be cooled by pleasant sea breezes.

This is on the other hand low season in the national parks in the north of the country, due to very hot days and even nights. It is rainy season in all parts of the country except the extreme western part, which make wildlife safaris and self-drive excursions into game reserves not viable.

 

Visiting South Africa in March

 

March is a popular time to visit South Africa, especially if the Easter break falls within this month. The weather is usually fair and warm in all regions, and although there may still be some rainstorms in the north, it should be easing off.

Safari in the Kruger National Park is possible, but the bush will still be thick and rivers full, which may keep animals from flocking to waterholes yet.

 

Visiting South Africa in April

 

April is also a busy tourism month, due to the fact that it is also school holidays for local schools, but it gets quieter towards the end of the month. The weather is warm and dry throughout the country, making it a prime time to combine visit to different regions.

 

Visiting South Africa in May

 

By the time May arrives, summer rains usually have subsided, but winter temperatures are still mild. This is a lovely time of year to visit the country if you are not seeking hot weather. It is warm and dry across most of the regions, making coastal visits still enjoyable, but visits to the game parks and northern areas a superb experience.

 

Visiting South Africa in June

 

Midwinter in the Cape sees much cooler temperatures and often soft rain in the Winelands, and although it may not feel really cold during the days for visitors used to European winters, the mountain tops do occasionally see a dusting of snow.

This is however prime time to visit the safari destinations in the north of the country and the Kruger National Park for one, will be inundated with visitors.

 

Visiting South Africa in July

 

July is the start of the whale watching season along the coast of the Western Cape between Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay as they come close to the shores to give birth. The weather can be quite cold and drizzly in the Cape.

Warmer and drier temperatures in the north and east of the country makes this month a superb time for game viewing as animals congregate around water holes.

 

Visiting South Africa in August

 

August is the start of spring and flowers start to emerge across the Western and Northern Cape. Namaqualand in the Northern Cape is now the place to visit, being carpeted with colourful flowers. The Cape itself remains chilly at this time and early August usually sees the cable car for Table Mountain closed for annual maintenance.

KwaZulu Natal is the best region to visit during this month, due to lovely warm temperatures that make some swimming and water sport possible.

 

Visiting South Africa in September

 

In September the wildflowers on the West Coast are often still in full bloom.

Temperatures throughout the country start to rise, although early mornings and evenings can still be chilly. This is another good month for visits to combined regions. Game viewing will still be good, with some giving birth this month.

With only a short local school holiday break in September, visitors from overseas may use the opportunity to enjoy local attractions at their hearts’ desire.

 

Visiting South Africa in October

 

October is one of the most beautiful months of the year – visually and tangible – with temperatures that start to heat up throughout the country, but rains are yet to arrive in the northern parts.

 

Visiting South Africa in November

 

During the month of November temperatures start to rise across the country and the rains start in the Kruger National Park and KwaZulu Natal. Spectacular late afternoon thunderstorms may be experienced in these regions. The Cape sees the last of the whale season during this month and this is the last comfortable month to visit inland areas such as the Karoo before the temperatures get to high.

 

Visiting South Africa in December

 

This is school yearend holidays and festive season combined, causing a lot of hustle and bustle in South Africa – especially the coastal towns and beach resorts.

Activities, safaris, even restaurants and excursions need to be booked well in advance.

While KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, and other popular holiday destinations are hot and experience rain, the Cape is dry. Early December is great for travel if you can hit your destination before the rush of school holidays.

 

Which Season for What Activity

 

Let’s say you have the freedom to choose whenever you want to visit South Africa, then you will plan your trip according to the activity you want to pursue.

 

The best time to go on a safari

 

The best time to go on safari is usually during the dry season, between May and October, when the weather is characterised by clear, warm days and chilly nights. During these months, there is less foliage on the trees, making it easier to spot animals in the bush.

The lack of available water draws wildlife to natural waterholes or dams, offering visitors very good sightings. Dry weather may also result in better road conditions for self-drive safaris at parks like Addo and Mkhuze, with the added plus that the chill keeps mosquitoes at bay. This is a major benefit in areas of South Africa prone to malaria – with the exception of game reserves near Cape Town.

In the southernmost part of the country, summers are the driest time of year, making it better to travel between November and March for the same kind of safari sightings. Since this is generally also the busiest period for tourism in South Africa, you will need to book accommodations and game drives in advance.

 

The best time to visit Cape Town and surrounds

 

Cape Town is a year-round destination, with each season bringing its fair share of benefits. I however you want to make the most of the region’s scenery, the most reliable weather would be expected during the hot, dry summer months, which is from November to February in this region.

The season should allow you enough sunny days to browse the city’s outdoor markets, hike or cable up Table Mountain, or obtain a healthy tan on one of the beaches around the Cape Peninsula.

 

The best time to visit the Drakensberg resorts

 

The Drakensberg Mountains are one of South Africa’s top attractions for hikers.

Weather-wise, the most suitable time for hiking here is during the fall months of April and May, when days are warm and dry and nights cool. At this time of year, the scenery is also usually green and attractive after the summer rains.

Temperatures are dramatically lower during the winter, with many of the higher trails on occasion coated in ice and snow.

 

The best time to visit the coast

 

South Africa’s total coastline extends for more than 2 500 kilometres and offers an unlimited number of destinations and activities. The circumstances and offerings of the west, south and east coast regions differ considerably, as does the weather and climates.

If sunbathing or swimming is your top priority, then the summer months from November to January would undoubtedly be your choice, since that is the hottest time of the year. If you prefer to choose the northern beaches of KwaZulu-Natal or Zululand, you should keep in mind that summer there is also known for high humidity with frequent thunderstorms.

Whale-watching on the other hand, is best in winter and spring. Humpbacks and southern right whales may be spotted while passing close to shore on their annual migration to the breeding grounds off the coast of Mozambique between June and October.

If you want to visit South Africa with the purpose to scuba dive, there is no “off” season, just different seasons. Shark-diving is offered all year round, but if you want to swim alongside a tiger shark, you’ll need to do that with the influx of warm water from December to April.

June to August is Sardine Run season, for those who would like to witness one of the underwater world’s most significant natural events. Rock and surf fishermen can also experience world-class fishing on the Transkei coast during the annual Sardine Run.

 

The best time to experience wildflower blooming

 

Every year in spring, the Northern Cape provides a spectacular natural phenomenon when the province’s arid desert landscapes are transformed into a rich tapestry of colour by the simultaneous blooming of myriads of wildflowers.

More than 3 500 different species create a vast landscape of pink, purple, orange, yellow and white blooms. Since the rainfall dates dictate the bloom, it is difficult to put a time frame to this sighting, but it usually starts in the far north in late July or early August and moves south slowly until it fades in September.

With its unique attractions and locations South Africa is an ideal holiday destination all year round, everything will depend on what the visitor wants to go and do or see there.

Hence, a last factor that may influence the time of visit, may be more of a cultural nature: cultural festivals, of which there are quite a few.

 

Special events in SOUTH AFRICA and when to visit them

 

It can be rewarding to choose when to visit South Africa to include a date of one of its lively festivals, since the country offers several annual music festivals like the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Innibos in Mbombela and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn.

Here are some events to consider when planning your itinerary for South Africa:

The new year is welcomed by the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, or the “Kaapse Klopse” in Afrikaans, on 2 January and continuing through the first week.

The Cape Town Pride Pageant is a series of LGBTQ-themed events held in late February.

The Dance Umbrella, the country’s leading contemporary dance festival with a variety of local dance forms is held in Johannesburg early in March.

The Cape Town Carnival is a Rio-style street extravaganza with floats and parades that celebrates Cape Town’s cultural diversity and richness, held in mid-March.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is Africa’s largest jazz festival and attracts big stars. It is held in late March or in April.

The Afrika Splashy Fen Music Festival is one of the country’s oldest music festivals and is held in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal in mid-April.

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival is held in Knysna on the Garden Route over a long weekend in April.

AfrikaBurn is a unique week-long event not unlike Burning Man in the U.S. It is usually held in late April, near Ceres and the Tankwa Karoo National Park.

The Franschhoek Literary Festival is a three-day festival of books, writers and wine in the Winelands food capital of Franschhoek. It is usually held in mid-May.

The annual sardine run is the marine equivalent of the Great Migration. Up to 15 kilometre long shoals swarm up the coast of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal from May to July, creating a feeding frenzy among sharks, dolphins, whales and birds.

The National Arts Festival is held in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape in July. It is Africa’s largest arts jamboree, with jazz, classical music, dance, cabaret and theatre.

The Innibos Festival is usually held during the last weekend in June or first in July, offering local festival goers the opportunity to visit during their winter holidays, while it coincides with the northern hemisphere’s summer holidays.

The Knysna Oyster Festival is held in Knysna, Western Cape in early July and comprises days of partying and oyster eating on the Garden Route, beginning with the Knysna Cycle Tour and ended with the Knysna Forest Marathon.

The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival, a month-long comedy festival, is held at the Baxter Theatre from mid-July until early August.

September is the month when Joburg’s largest arts event, Arts Alive Johannesburg, with dance, theatre, poetry and music, is celebrated in Newtown.

The Hopefield Fynbos Show takes place every August and September, with food stalls, tractor races and more.

In September, more than 10 000 Zulu maidens in traditional dress head toward the Zulu king’s KwaNyokeni Palace in KwaZulu-Natal Province as part of a four-day procession.

The Hermanus Whale Festival, a weekend festival of arts and the environment, is held in Hermanus, Western Cape in late September to coincide with peak whale-watching season.

Joy of Jazz Johannesburg, Joburg’s flagship jazz festival offers three days of varied music during late September.

The Swartland Heritage Festival takes place in November, celebrating different wine producers and food from the region.

The Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is held in Franschhoek, Western Cape in early December.

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