Weather in Cape Town in December

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 03.06.2024

Experience the delightful weather in Cape Town in December, when the vibrant city says goodbye to the mild spring and welcomes summer's warm, inviting embrace. This month is characterized by long, sunny days that radiate warmth and vibrant colors, perfect for lazing in the sun on the city's stunning beaches. Cape Town has more wind in December than in other months, which is a welcome refresher and creates great conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding. This season is perfect for outdoor adventures, exploring local attractions, and enjoying Cape Town's incomparable natural splendor.

Is December a good time to visit Cape Town?

December is generally considered an excellent time to visit Cape Town due to the warm and dry summer weather. The city enjoys sunny days with clear blue skies, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, trips to the beach, and vineyard tours. The winds also increase during this period, which is especially good for windsurfing and kiteboarding enthusiasts.

December is the peak tourist season in Cape Town. The combination of school vacations and holiday celebrations leads to an influx of both local and international tourists. During this high season, accommodation prices go up and attractions are crowded, so booking in advance is recommended.

In terms of rainfall, the weather in Cape Town in December offers some of the driest conditions in Cape Town for the entire year with minimal average rainfall. Due to this dry weather, plans are less likely to be disrupted by rain, allowing you to fully enjoy the outdoor activities Cape Town has to offer.

Overall, December can be a great time to visit Cape Town due to the sunny weather, plenty of outdoor activities, and a vibrant holiday atmosphere. However, due to the peak season, you should be prepared for higher prices and large numbers of tourists.

Want to learn more about South African destinations? Browse our customized South Africa itineraries, talk to our local experts, and read about the best time to travel to South Africa.

South Africa, Cape Town, Table Mountain and powerful waves rolling onto beach at sunset

South Africa, Cape Town, Table Mountain and powerful waves rolling onto beach at sunset

Average temperatures in Cape Town in December

December brings warm summer temperatures to Cape Town, with average highs around 25°C (77°F) and lows generally approaching 15°C (59°F). These temperatures mark the start of the Southern Hemisphere summer season, with long sunny days followed by cooler evenings.

The temperature difference between day and night can be very noticeable. While the days are warm and ideal for beach walks and exploring the city, the nights are considerably cooler, making them comfortable for sleeping and evening activities.

The weather in Cape Town in December is noticeably warmer than the spring months such as September and October, where temperatures are milder. It is also drier and warmer compared to the winter months of June, July, and August when the city's rainy season sets in and temperatures are cooler.

Overall, the warm temperatures of December contrast greatly with the cool and wet winter months and are welcoming if you want to enjoy the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere.

Still hesitating? Find the perfect time to travel with our guide to the best time to visit Cape Town.

Most beautiful country in the world Lion's Head, Cape Town, South Africa © Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Lion's Head, Cape Town, South Africa © Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

What about crowds and costs

December sees a significant increase in tourist traffic in Cape Town due to the festive season and school vacations, making it one of the busiest months of the year. Accommodation and flight prices peak, reflecting the high demand. Booking early is essential to secure your place and possibly find the best deals.

Despite the crowds and high cost, traveling in December has its perks: vibrant holidays, extended daylight hours and perfect beach weather.

If you're looking for a more relaxed and economical time, however, it's worth visiting during the "shoulder" seasons - March through May (fall) or September through November (spring), when the city is less crowded and prices are more reasonable. 

However, if you want to dive into a lively holiday atmosphere and don't mind the hustle and bustle, December will give you a unique Cape Town experience.

Want to be better prepared for your trip to South Africa? Read our useful travel tips for visiting South Africa. And if you're going on a family trip, also find out all the information you need from our guide to South Africa with kids.

Ready for your dream trip to Cape Town in December?

If you're looking to travel to Cape Town or other destinations in South Africa, browse our customized South Africa itineraries before you book your trip.

With a local expert on hand to take the hassle out of planning and booking, you can save time and focus on counting down the days until your trip!

  • Cape Amazing: Cape Town Explored (8 days): Visit Cape Town, South Africa's most exciting city, following a circular route around the stunning peninsula. Take advantage of deserted sandy beaches, quaint towns and rich vineyards before heading to the Kapama Private Game Reserve to meet the big five.
  • The Cape Peninsula and Safaris in Kruger and Pilanesberg (15 days): South Africa's wildlife is still truly wild, and you'll see for yourself on this exciting two-week trip. Enjoy whale watching in Cape Town and your first safari in Aquila before heading north to the famous Kruger and Pilanesberg National Parks with all their wildlife.
  • Best of South Africa (17 days): Discover the best that South Africa has to offer - start with the marvelous city of Cape Town and its peninsula, on to wine lands with magnificent views on the Garden Route, and on to culture, heritage, and wildlife in Plettenberg Bay. Finish your journey with an introduction to the authentic nature of Kruger.
Green Point Lighthouse Cape Town South Africa

Green Point Lighthouse Cape Town South Africa

What to do in Cape Town in December

The weather in Cape Town in December is warm, sunny and inviting, the perfect time to explore the vibrant city and its stunning surroundings. From beach vacations to cultural events, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the festive atmosphere.

Sunset Cruise from the V&A Waterfront

Admire Cape Town's serene beauty from the water on a sunset cruise departing from the V&A Waterfront. Warm December evenings provide the perfect setting for watching magnificent sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean with Table Mountain as a backdrop.

Visit the Zeitz MOCAA

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, located in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, is a must-see for art lovers. December is the perfect month to escape the midday heat, explore the indoor attractions and appreciate the extensive collection of contemporary African art.

Hike Lion's Head

Take advantage of the early morning or late evening warm December weather to hike to Lion's Head. The trail offers spectacular panoramic views of Cape Town, the Atlantic coast, and Table Mountain for an unforgettable adventure.

best places to go with kids African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus) also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin. Boulders colony. Cape Town. South Africa

African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus), Boulders colony. Cape Town. South Africa

Explore Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Visit the quaint suburb of Simons Town to spend the day with African penguins at Boulders Beach. The warm December weather provides the perfect opportunity to swim with these adorable creatures in the crystal clear waters.

Attend a New Year's Eve Celebration

Round off the year by taking part in one of Cape Town's lively New Year's Eve celebrations. The city comes alive with fireworks, music and parties, especially at the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town's beautiful beaches, under warm December skies.

Before you head to South Africa, also be sure to read our guide on whether South Africa is safe, which contains everything you need to know about travel safety.

Visit Cape Town in different months

Cape Town, the jewel at the tip of Africa, offers a variety of experiences throughout the year, each month bringing its unique charm and set of activities. Discover all that this vibrant city has to offer, regardless of the time of year:

  • January: experience the peak of summer with perfect beach weather, vibrant nightlife and a lively minstrel carnival in Cape Town.
  • February: enjoy the last of the hot summer days and fewer people. This is the perfect time to visit the city's famous vineyards and outdoor festivals.
  • March: witness the transition from summer to fall: the combination of warm days and cool nights is perfect for hiking and exploring the city.
  • April: experience mild fall weather, perfect for outdoor activities without the summer heat, as well as spectacular fall foliage.
  • May: the beginning of the cooler season, ideal for cultural vacations as indoor activities and museums become more appealing.
  • June: welcome the winter months with a cozy dinner by the fireplace and whale watching as southern right whales begin to appear.
  • July: immerse yourself in the heart of winter with serene scenery, fewer tourists and the famous Knysna Oyster Festival.
  • August: witness the wildflowers blooming in the Western Cape and enjoy the cool but improving weather as winter begins to fade.
  • September: celebrate the arrival of spring with breathtaking floral displays in the Cape Floral Region and mild weather for outdoor adventures.
  • October: enjoy a vibrant spring ideal for whale watching, shark cage diving and visiting the blooming Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • November: feel the warmth of late spring as the city prepares for the busy summer season. It's the perfect time for an early visit to the beach and al fresco dining.
Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 03.06.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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