Cape Town is stunning all year round, and you can never go wrong with a visit. But we’ll take a look at what times of the year will suit you best, according to the weather and what you’re looking for. After all, Cape Town has it all!
First, let’s take a look at what the seasons are in South Africa so that you have a frame of reference.
- Autumn/Fall: March – May.
- Winter: June – August.
- Spring: September – November.
- Summer: December – February.
Cape Town in October (Spring)
What to pack: Walking shoes, light sweaters, and both shorts and jeans so that you’re ready for anything.
First up on the itinerary we have, of course, Table Mountain! Spring is the perfect time of year to hike the spectacular seventh wonder of the world. The weather is mild and made for exertion.
Also, Table Mountain National Park is one of the most biologically complex and diverse spaces on the planet. In spring you can witness this incredible flora at its absolute best. The park is home to more than 1470 floral species, many of which are endemic to the area. So be sure to see them bloom.
If you’re not an avid hiker, consider taking the short hike up Lion’s Head or Signal Hill so that you can still be sure to take full advantage of the beautiful scenery. Or simply get a cable car up Table Mountain. There’s an option for everyone.
Another place that is particularly beautiful in spring is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Considered one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens, this stunner is definitely worth a visit.
We suggest that you pack a picnic basket and have lunch on the grass after you’ve strolled through the sprawling gardens. Kirstenbosch is suitable for families, friends and lovers, as no one could be unhappy here.
Cape Town in December (Summer)
What to pack: A swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, windbreaker, and flip flops.
Summer in Cape Town is beautiful, balmy and all-around dreamy. It isn’t humid or too hot like some other parts of the country. You might have to battle a little wind, but you’ll appreciate it when it sweeps the city clean and you have a pristine view of Cape Town.
Take a cable car up Table mountain. As long as you have some sunscreen on your nose, you can enjoy the views and the majestic feeling of being on top of the world. You might even find a dam on top of the mountain to cool off in. Just be aware that most of them are off-limits to the public, so a sneaky toe-dip may be the best you can get.
Another special activity for summer months like December is Mini Golf at the Seapoint promenade. Grab some friends or go with your family to play a round or two, and then take a stroll down the promenade. You can even grab some locally made ice cream at The Creamery to make your walk that much sweeter.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens starts its amazing summer sunset concert season at the end of November, continuing until the beginning of April. So go check out some of Africa’s best talent while watching the sun set behind the mountain. The concerts are outside and are always absolutely memorable.
There are many beaches to lounge on, but our top picks are Llandudno and Camps Bay. The water is cold, but you’ll appreciate the cooldown! And what is a summer holiday without the sea?
Cape Town nightlife is great all year round, but you’ll find yourself particularly surrounded by options in the summer. Whether you want to party all night or go watch (or participate in) fire dancing on the beach. You’re sure to have the time of your life.
Cape Town in May (Autumn)
What to pack: Warm clothes for the evenings, a swimsuit, and walking shoes.
Autumn in the mother city, what a glorious time! Many would consider this their favorite season, as our iconic Table Mountain turns shades of red and orange. The winds will calm too, if that’s something that gets under your skin.
In May, the days turn more balmy and warm and the evenings become cool but still pleasant. And (this might be the biggest draw of them all) it is no longer peak season!
If you’re looking to challenge yourself to a hike up Table Mountain, then the ideal time for you to visit Cape Town is in spring or autumn. The colors turn and the scenery becomes even more beautiful (just when you didn’t think it was possible).
This is also the perfect time to visit the Winelands for a wine tasting (if you’re 18 and above of course). You can go with a classic tasting, or try something different with a chocolate or cheese pairing. Whatever you choose, you’ll love enjoying a glass or six with a beautiful vineyard as a backdrop to this experience.
You can also visit the beach for a relaxing day by the sea. The water is cold all year-round. But sitting on the sand and soaking it all in never gets old.
Cape Town in July (Winter)
What to pack: Warm clothes, walking shoes, and a raincoat.
Winters might be rather chilly in Cape Town, but they’re certainly not like the winters you would experience in the Northern hemisphere. Cape Town never has snow, nor does it really get much colder than 10°C.
Because of this, you can still have a very active winter holiday! But let’s look at the winter-specific things that would interest you.
Food is glorious all year-round, but winter puts a specific focus on cozy restaurants that warm you up from inside. Cape Town is cuisine central. We have it all. South African, Indian, Ethiopian, Korean. Whatever you’re in the mood for, this is the city for it.
Also, the importance of Happy Hour cannot be overstated. You’ll find a great array of cocktails available at most restaurants, as well as an ever-increasing selection of locally made craft beers and gins.
If you’re looking for a shopping experience with a view, check out the V&A Waterfront. This shopping centre has a wonderful selection of international name brands, mixed with locally made crafts and food. It is its own kind of must-see.
And is there anything better than going to a concert or the theatre on a winter’s evening? You’ll find that there are always shows playing, whether it’s a philharmonic orchestra, a rock band, ballet, a comedy show or a drama. There is something for everyone, as seems to be Cape Town’s wonderful theme.
Final thoughts on the Best Time to Visit Cape Town
Clearly Cape Town has many attractions for every month of the year, and preference is very subjective. However, we find that the summer months might be best, because you can make them so full of wonderful experiences.
However, considering that 90% of the things mentioned here can be done in any season, your vacation will be amazing during any month!