Weather in South Africa in August

Visit South Africa in August as the winter season comes to an end and the skies remain clear and bright, providing a moderate coolness throughout the region. This month marks the end of the low tourist season with predominantly dry weather across the country, which comes with benefits such as reduced crowds and lower prices. Whether you head through the vineyards or into the heart of South Africa's bustling urban centers, this guide will help you learn everything you need to know about the weather in South Africa in August.

What is the weather like in South Africa in August?

In August, South Africa transitions from winter to the early signs of spring, presenting a combination of cool morning hours and warm sunny afternoon hours. This period is characterized by generally dry weather throughout most of the country, except the Western Cape, where rains enliven the lush landscapes.

Days are usually clear and bright, creating perfect conditions for outdoor activities such as wildlife spotting in the national parks, where they are easier to spot due to sparser vegetation and congregations near water sources.

August falls during the low tourist season for most of South Africa, except for regions such as the Western Cape, making it a favorable time to avoid the crowds and benefit from lower accommodation and entertainment prices.

The cooler weather in South Africa in August and reduced rainfall in most regions of the country make it a comfortable time for outdoor sightseeing, including hiking in the countryside and visiting scenic coastlines where the annual whale migration along the southern coast is a major highlight.

Transportation during this time is generally unaffected by severe weather conditions, making travel around the country hassle-free. The combination of favorable weather, fewer tourists, and the opportunity to observe unique natural phenomena such as the whale migration makes August an attractive month to explore South Africa's diverse landscapes and wildlife.

Rough Guides tip: if you're hoping to make the most of your trip, consider connecting with our local travel experts.

Black-maned lion in desert portrait, Kalahari, South Africa © JMx Images/Shutterstock

Black-maned lion in desert portrait, Kalahari, South Africa © JMx Images/Shutterstock

Temperatures in South Africa in August

The weather in South Africa in August experiences a wide range of temperatures across its diverse landscapes, from the brisk highlands to the milder coastal regions.

Northern regions

In the northern regions of South Africa, including cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, August daytime temperatures average 16-22°C (61-72°F), with cooler mornings and evenings. 

The weather is predominantly dry, making this a great time to explore the city and take part in wildlife safaris in areas such as Kruger National Park. Dry conditions greatly increase the likelihood of animal encounters as wildlife congregate around water sources.

Interior plateau

The Interior Plateau, encompassing areas such as the Free State and the interior of the Eastern Cape Province, has similar temperatures to the northern regions. Still, due to the higher altitude, mornings can be slightly cooler. 

The climate is conducive to a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking through the region's beautiful landscapes and visiting the many historical sites.

Coastal areas

In coastal areas, particularly in the Western Cape and cities such as Cape Town, temperatures become cooler in August, averaging between 12-18°C (54-64°F). This period sees the wettest days in the region, resulting in lush and colorful landscapes that are ideal for scenic drives and wine tastings. 

Despite the rains, outdoor activities such as whale watching on the south coast take on a special appeal, offering the opportunity to observe the majestic annual whale migration in a beautiful, verdant setting.

For more details on the weather in Cape Town, read our guide to the best time to visit Cape Town.

Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa © Shutterstock

Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa © Shutterstock

Is August a good time to visit South Africa?

August is a truly favorable time to visit South Africa, offering a unique combination of climatic conditions and experiences to suit various interests.

Dry weather in the northern and inland regions greatly enhances wildlife-watching opportunities as they are more likely to congregate near bodies of water, making game drives exceptionally exciting. Conversely, the rainy weather in the Western Cape nourishes the flora, making the region extraordinarily beautiful and ideal for scenic drives and vineyard tours.

August is also part of the low tourist season in most parts of South Africa, which means fewer people and potentially lower accommodation and excursion prices, except in areas where specific activities such as whale watching peak in popularity. This makes August a cost-effective time to explore South Africa's diverse landscapes and cultures in a more secluded and intimate setting.

Thus, the weather in August has a positive impact on travel to South Africa, offering comfortable conditions for a multitude of activities, making it a great time to explore the country's natural beauty and wildlife.

Can't decide on the season to travel? Explore our South Africa year-round weather guide.

What about crowds and costs?

August in South Africa is a time when crowds are smaller and prices are generally more favorable compared to peak tourist season. Since August is still considered part of the low tourist season in most of the country, except for some whale-watching destinations, you can enjoy reduced prices on accommodation, excursions, and possibly flights.

The lower tourist traffic also allows for more relaxed sightseeing, without the long waits and crowded places that characterize the high season months (December through February).

The benefits of traveling in August go beyond financial savings and include more personal interaction with locals and a deeper immersion in South Africa's culture and natural beauty. Compared to the bustling peak seasons, this quieter month offers a more authentic introduction to South Africa's diverse offerings, from wildlife sanctuaries to picturesque landscapes and vibrant cities.

Not yet finished planning your trip? Browse our South Africa itineraries for inspiration.

The Garden Route in South Africa ©  LMspencer/Shutterstock

The Garden Route in South Africa ©  LMspencer/Shutterstock

Festivals and events in South Africa in August

August in South Africa offers a unique blend of cultural and historical events, enriching the travel experience with more than just stunning scenery and wildlife. Although it is a quieter month for festivals compared to others, the events that take place are deeply meaningful and provide insight into the country's heritage and natural beauty. Here's a closer look at one of the highlights of August:

National Women's Day

August 9 is National Women's Day in South Africa, a holiday commemorating the remarkable 1956 march when more than 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. 

This day was a turning point in the struggle against apartheid, particularly the pass laws. Various events such as cultural festivals, educational programs, and public speeches are held across the country to commemorate the occasion. 

This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in South Africa's rich history and contemporary struggle for equality, complemented by local markets and cultural events showcasing the country's diverse heritage.

Ready for your dream trip to South Africa in August?

Ready to see South Africa? You can easily book your trip today with our tailor-made trip service, which allows you to completely skip the planning and booking process. Our trips are designed by local travel experts who work with you to make your perfect adventure.

  • 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.
  • Cycling South Africa's Garden Route (10 days): An active cycling adventure that's perfect for nature lovers, this unique tour takes you through deciduous forests and over magnificent mountain slopes for breathtaking views of the South African countryside.
  • Safaris, culture & wine - South Africa's must do's (17 days): Explore cosmopolitan Johannesburg, go on safari in Kruger NP, sip wine in the Cape Peninsula and explore the Eastern Cape - this fast-paced itinerary allows you to truly immerse yourself in South Africa's culture and lifestyle, discovering some of the country's most exciting corners.

Want to be better prepared for your trip to South Africa? Read our useful travel tips for visiting South Africa.

Standton at night, Capetown, South Africa

Sandton at night, Cape Town, South Africa

Visit South Africa in other months

Exploring South Africa is not limited to just one season: each month offers unique experiences and breathtaking sights to suit every type of traveler. From witnessing majestic natural phenomena to experiencing vibrant culture and diverse landscapes, here's what each month has to offer:

  • September: spring brings renewed life to the landscape, with blooming flowers and opportunities for scenic hikes in the countryside.
  • October: thanks to warmer weather, October is ideal for outdoor activities like visiting national parks and indulging in local cuisine.
  • November: visit during this month for early summer vibes with longer days and the chance to witness wildflowers blooming across the Western Cape.
  • December: Welcome the peak of summer with bustling cities, lively festivals, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.
  • January: kick off the year with warm temperatures, vibrant cultural festivals, and exploring stunning beaches and diverse wildlife.
  • February: the peak of summer brings scorching temperatures that are ideal for beach lounging and thrilling safari adventures.
  • March: a great time to enjoy the pleasant transition to autumn with cooler weather — ideal for outdoor activities and wine tasting.
  • April: crisp autumn days that are perfect for exploring national parks and indulging in delicious seasonal produce.
  • May: the start of winter sees mild temperatures — ideal for spotting wildlife and enjoying outdoor adventures with fewer crowds.
  • June: a great time for a trip in chilly temperatures — think fireside coziness and discover the scenic allure of the Garden Route.
  • July: Take a trip to enjoy the winter chill with clear skies perfect for stargazing and more.
Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 20.05.2024

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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