Weather in Johannesburg in May

Wondering what to expect of the weather in Johannesburg in May? Marking the city's transition to its mild winter season, expect clear sunny days with daytime temperatures averaging around 19°C (66°F) — ideal for exploring the city’s green spaces. Add to that fewer tourists and low rainfall and May amounts to being an attractive time to visit. For more detail, read on to find out everything you need to know about visiting this South African city in May.

Is May a good time to visit Johannesburg?

Overall, May is a pretty great time to visit Johannesburg. At this time of year, the city’s mild winter weather, clear skies, and minimal rainfall offer ideal conditions for exploring outdoor attractions, among them the Botanical Gardens, and incredible street art.

In addition, this period sees far fewer tourists than during the December-January high season. 

As a result, you can look forward to enjoying a less-crowded, more authentic experience of the city's markets, galleries, and cafes while avoiding the intense heat of summer, rainy season unpredictability, and peak season crowds.

Keen to visit Johannesburg? Browse our customisable South Africa itineraries, or talk to our local expert.


Mild with low rainfall, the weather in Johannesburg in May is ideal for exploring the city on foot  © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in Johannesburg in May

If you visit Johannesburg in May, you can expect clear, sunny days with daytime temperatures averaging around 19°C (66°F). 

Note that nights are significantly cooler, with temperatures dropping to around 7°C (45°F), so be sure to pack accordingly.

Editor's tip: for a bigger picture of the weather, read up on when to go to South Africa.

What about the crowds and cost?

In May, Johannesburg sees a much lower level of tourist crowds in comparison with its December to January peak season months.

This reduction in visitors makes May an appealing time for those who fancy exploring the city without the hustle and bustle that comes with the tourist high season. 

For example, you can expect shorter queues at major attractions, more relaxed visits to museums and galleries, and more authentic experiences in local restaurants and cafes.

When it comes to costs, accommodation prices in May tend to be lower than during the high season. Similarly, you might be able to bag more competitive rates for tours and activities around the city. 

Johannesburg, South Africa © Mark G Williams/Shutterstock

Johannesburg, South Africa © Mark G Williams/Shutterstock

Unforgettable customisable Johannesburg itineraries

If you’re thinking of heading to Johannesburg — or elsewhere in South Africa — browse our customisable South Africa itineraries before booking your trip.

Curated with the guidance of a local expert, they eliminate all the hassle of planning and booking. Check out these sample itineraries for inspiration.

  • City Life and Safari - South African Gems (17 days): this diverse itinerary kicks off in Cape Town, where you'll explore the likes of Table Mountain and Robben Island before venturing to the Winelands. The trip concludes in epic style with a three-day safari in Kruger National Park before taking to you Johannesburg.
  • Cape Town and the Garden Route - a luxury guided tour (7 days): Cape Town and the Garden Route have it all — from fascinating cultures and exhilarating safaris, to incredible chocolate and wine tasting experiences. Encompassing the coastal city of Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula and Knysna, this trip winds up in Mossel Bay, where you'll get to go on game drives.
  • Explore the North of South Africa: Sun City and Madikwe game reserve (7 days): if you’re short on time, this trip takes in stacks of unforgettable experiences close to Johannesburg. After having fun at the fantastical Lost City theme park, you’ll head to Madikwe, where you'll go on a 4X4 game drive.
Cape Town, South Africa - aerial view © Mark Van Overmeire/Shutterstock

Rough Guides' trips can take you from Cape Town to Jo'Burg © Mark Van Overmeire/Shutterstock

What to do and see in Johannesburg in May

The weather in Johannesburg in May — mild temperatures and minimal rainfall — make this month a top time to explore the city on foot, with fewer tourists further enhancing your experience.

Here are a few suggestions of things to see and do in Johannesburg in May

Enjoy outdoor activities

The mild weather in Johannesburg in May is perfect for outdoor activities. How about packing a picnic to enjoy in the city’s beautiful botanical gardens, or booking a hot air balloon trip for a bird's-eye view of the Gauteng landscape?

Talking of which, while not as famous for wildlife as other parts of South Africa, you can enjoy game drives in the Gauteng region around the city.

Discover contemporary culture

Want to experience Johannesburg's contemporary urban culture and creative vibe? Head to the vibrant urban neighbourhood of Maboneng, which is known for its street art, trendy cafes, restaurants and galleries. 

Meanwhile, art-lovers won’t want to miss visiting the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joubert Park to see an impressive collection of South African and international art.

Editor’s tip: if you’re in Jo’burg over a weekend, visit the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein on Saturday — a great place to sample local food and pick up local crafts.

Uncover history

To better understand South African history, visit the Apartheid Museum, where immersive exhibits provide insights into the country's path to democracy.

The same is true of  Constitution Hill. Formerly a prison that played a significant role in South Africa's history, it’s now museum and offers tours that explore South Africa's journey to democracy.

Editor’s tip: take a township tour to Soweto to learn about the history of South Africa's most famous township. Highlights include visiting the former home of Nelson Mandela.

Still deciding if you want to visit? Read our first-timers guide to Johannesburg.


Johannesburg © Shutterstock

Visit Johannesburg in different months

To be better informed before booking your trip, find out what to expect from the weather in Johannesburg around the year.

  • January: being one of the rainiest times of the year, January sees Johannesburg look lush and green. It’s also hot, and subject to afternoon thunderstorms.
  • February: love warm weather, smaller crowds, lush scenery, and don’t mind rain? February is a good month to visit Johannesburg.
  • March: as summer tails off and autumn begins, March’s mild weather is ideal for exploring the city and its wilder surroundings.
  • April: this early autumn month offers a sweet spot between the extreme heat of summer and chill of winter.
  • June: this low season winter month brings mild daytime temperatures, crisp evenings, little rainfall and the same small crowds you’ll experience in May.
  • July: similar to June, expect cool-to-mild daytime temperatures, chilly mornings and evenings, little rainfall, and low visitor numbers.
  • Augustthis low-season month sees the city shift to spring — expect clear days, cool nights and rewarding dry-season wildlife-watching experiences.
  • Septemberheralding the true start of spring, this pre-peak-season month sees warmer weather, blooming landscapes, and clear, sunny skies.
  • October: shoulder-season October sees the city in full spring mode, with warmer temperatures and blooming flowers, thanks to the rise in rainfall. 
  • November: this month brings warmer temperatures, increased humidity and rainfall, and greener landscapes as the region shifts from late-spring to summer.
  • December: while this hot summer month is peak season across the wider country, many residents of the city head to the coast for their summer holidays.
Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 29.02.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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