Weather in South Africa in July

Visit South Africa in July when the winter chill is still lingering, the skies are clear and bright and the region has a cool atmosphere. This period is a continuation of the low tourist season, characterized by generally dry weather throughout the country, as well as the benefits of fewer tourists and reduced prices. Whether you're traveling through lush vineyards or immersing yourself in the urban landscapes of South African cities, this guide will prepare you for the weather in South Africa in July.

What is the weather like in South Africa in July?

July is the peak of the winter season in South Africa, characterized by generally dry, cool and clear weather across most of the country. This time of year brings sunny days with frosty air, especially in the central and northern regions, including popular safari destinations.

Daytime temperatures are moderate, but mornings and evenings can be quite cold, especially in the interior where frosts are not uncommon. However, the Western Cape, with its Mediterranean climate, follows a different pattern: winters are cooler and wetter, making it an exception compared to other regions with a characteristically dry climate.

The weather in South Africa in July creates ideal conditions for a variety of outdoor activities, especially wildlife watching in parks such as Kruger National Park, where drier conditions improve visibility and animals are more likely to congregate near water sources.

However, cooler temperatures and possible rain in the Western Cape may require additional outdoor activity planning, including wearing waterproof clothing and adjusting travel schedules to accommodate wet weather.

July falls during the low tourist season in South Africa due to winter weather, which has several advantages: lower prices, fewer people and generally good wildlife viewing opportunities. Lower demand can lead to more affordable accommodation and tour options, making this an attractive time for budget travelers and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of peak season.

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

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

Temperatures in South Africa in July

In July, temperatures vary considerably between different regions of South Africa due to the vast geographical area.

Northern regions

In northern parts of South Africa, such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, July brings cool winter weather, with daytime temperatures averaging 16°C (61°F) and nights dropping to around 4°C (39°F). 

This cool climate is ideal for outdoor activities that take advantage of the dry weather, such as wildlife safaris in Kruger National Park. Reduced foliage and water scarcity make this one of the best times to spot wildlife, as animals are more likely to be found near bodies of water.

Interior plateau

In the central region, including areas such as the Free State and parts of the Northern Cape, daytime temperatures are similar to those in the north, but mornings are colder, especially at higher elevations, and can dip to freezing or below.

Clear sunny days are ideal for hiking and exploring the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. Cool but not too low daytime temperatures make outdoor activities enjoyable if you are warmly dressed in the mornings and evenings.

Coastal areas

Down south, especially in the Western Cape and around Cape Town, the climate is milder, with average daytime temperatures around 18°C (64°F), but the chance of rain is increased due to the Mediterranean climate. 

Nights can also be cooler, averaging 8°C (46°F). However, despite the potential for wet weather, this is a great time to explore the Cape Winelands, enjoy the lush scenery of the Garden Route, or visit the vibrant city of Cape Town itself.

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

Railway in South Africa © Tengiz Chantladze/Shutterstock

Railway in South Africa © Tengiz Chantladze/Shutterstock

Is July a good time to visit South Africa?

July is a great time to visit South Africa for those who appreciate the beauty of the winter season and prefer to travel during a period of fewer tourists and lower prices.

The weather in South Africa in July, characterized by cool and dry conditions across much of the country, is especially favorable for wildlife enthusiasts. Dry weather in the northern and central regions enhances wildlife viewing opportunities as animals are more likely to congregate near water sources, making safaris in places like Kruger National Park exceptionally enjoyable.

Moderate daytime temperatures throughout the country are ideal for exploring South Africa's diverse landscapes and attractions without the discomfort of extreme heat. However, you should also be prepared for cool evenings and mornings, especially in the interior of the country where temperatures can drop significantly.

In the Western Cape, cooler and wetter conditions offer a different appeal: green landscapes and winter rains provide a picturesque setting for visiting the Cape Winelands and enjoying the region's cozy hospitality.

Overall, the combination of favorable wildlife viewing conditions, fewer tourists and reduced prices makes July an attractive month to visit South Africa, provided you are prepared for the winter climate and pack accordingly.

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.

What about crowds and costs

July, being in the heart of the winter season in South Africa, is usually characterized by less tourist traffic compared to the peak months of December to February. This reduced number of tourists gives you several advantages if you choose this time to travel.

Firstly, fewer crowds mean quieter visits to major attractions including national parks, historical monuments and popular tourist spots. This is especially helpful for safari and nature lovers who prefer a more private experience with wildlife.

In addition, accommodation costs are often lower in July as many hotels and service providers offer off-peak rates to attract tourists. This allows for significant savings on accommodation, excursions and other travel expenses, making this a cost-effective time to explore the country. 

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

A girl is standing on the suspension bridge in Storms River Mouth national park in South Africa © Deyan Denchev/Shutterstock

Suspension bridge in Storms River Mouth national park in South Africa © Deyan Denchev/Shutterstock

Festivals and events in South Africa in July

South Africa in July isn't just about cooler weather and spectacular wildlife; it's also a time when the country comes alive with a host of unique festivals and events showcasing its rich cultural heritage and vibrant community spirit. These events provide an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, cuisine and arts. For further inspiration for your South African journey, check out our selection of the best things to do.

Knysna Oyster Festival

The Knysna Oyster Festival, located along the Garden Route, is a must-visit for food lovers. It takes place over ten days and combines the best of local cuisine with an emphasis on oysters, complemented by local wines and craft beers. 

The festival is not just for culinary enthusiasts: it also features a variety of sporting events, including cycling, running, and adventure races, making it an inclusive event for families, athletes, and regular visitors alike.

National Arts Festival in Makhanda

The National Arts Festival in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) is one of Africa's largest and most anticipated cultural events. The festival runs for 11 days in July and features an extensive program covering theater, dance, opera, music, visual arts, and more. 

The festival attracts artists and audiences from all corners of the world, offering a platform for both established and emerging talent to showcase their work.

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.

Gonubie Beach in South Africa © Shutterstock

Gonubie Beach in South Africa © Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to South Africa in July?

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. 

  • Secret gem in South Africa - Northern Cape Self Drive (17 days): Embark on an epic road trip adventure from Cape Town to the Northern Cape. See breathtaking floral arrangements in Namaqualand, marvel at the diversity of wildlife in Karoo National Park and take in the awe-inspiring sight of the cascades of Augrabies Falls.
  • Five Star South Africa (18 days): Start your journey in Johannesburg with a few days to explore the city. After that, travel to Cape Town on the exclusive Rovos Rail with several stops along the way.
  • A Kruger adventure (3 days): Kruger National Park is one of the most famous national parks in South Africa and is always worth a visit. Starting and ending your journey is most convenient in Johannesburg, an ideal stopover to then catch a domestic flight to George or Cape Town to continue your journey.

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:

  • August: witness the annual migration of whales along the southern coast while enjoying crisp mornings and sunny afternoons.
  • September: embrace the arrival of spring, breathing new life into the landscape with blossoming flowers and opportunities for picturesque countryside hikes.
  • October: experience a pleasant transition to warmer weather, ideal for outdoor adventures like national park visits and savoring local cuisine.
  • November: get redy for early summer vibes with lengthening days and the mesmerizing display of wildflowers blooming across the Western Cape.
  • December: travel during the height of summer with bustling cities, vibrant festivals, and boundless opportunities for outdoor escapades.
  • January: begin the year amidst balmy temperatures and cultural festivities, perfect for exploring exquisite beaches and diverse wildlife.
  • February: opt for a summer excursion amid sweltering temperatures, ideal for leisurely beachfront lounging and safari escapades.
  • March: experience the delightful transition to autumn with cooler climes, ideal for outdoor pursuits such as countryside hikes 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 discovering the scenic allure of the Garden Route.
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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