South Africa is surrounded by sea on three sides of the country, which keeps warm temperatures throughout the year. It is also a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of approximately 464mm. While Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia don’t have as much costal exposure, you’ll find the climate is similar across all four countries.
The Cape Coast in South Africa enjoys a Mediterranean type climate with winter rainfall (June-August). The KwaZulu-Natal coast, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province are subtropical.
Across the rest of the country temperatures are moderate, especially on the high interior plateau, with summer rainfall that often takes place in the late afternoon, accompanied by thunderstorms. These areas also generally experience rains between November and March with a peak summer rainfall in December and January. Winter is May to August and is a good time for game viewing, owing to the lower density of grasses and less ground water.
Most of the time you'll be most comfortable in light, summer-weight clothes but do pack a warm jacket, socks, good shoes and a rain jacket. Pack sunscreen – lots of it – and a hat and sunglasses. Make sure you have at least one cool shirt with a collar for sun protection. Stock up on insect repellent and, if you'll be in a malaria area, ensure you have a cool, long-sleeved shirt and cool long trousers for the evenings. Bring good walking shoes.
We recommend you wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you are out of doors during the day, regardless of whether there is cloud cover or not. Sunglasses are also recommended wear, as the glare of the African sun can be strong.