weather in South Africa in March

As March rolls around, South Africa bids farewell to summer and welcomes a gentle autumn bringing with it a more relaxed pace. This shoulder season month is a great time to relish the favorable weather conditions while dodging the crowds that typically inundate tourist hotspots during peak months. Here is our guide to the weather in South Africa in March.

What is the weather like in South Africa in March?

The weather in South Africa in March marks the end of summer and the onset of autumn. Generally, this means warm temperatures with plenty of sunshine, making it an excellent time for outdoor activities such as safaris, beach visits, and exploring the outdoors. However, as autumn progresses, you may find that evenings and early mornings may become cooler, especially in inland regions.

March falls into the shoulder season in South Africa, transitioning from the high season of summer to the low season of winter. This means you can still enjoy relatively good weather without the large crowds typically seen during peak summer months. It is also generally easier to secure accommodations and access popular attractions.

On average, South Africa experiences moderate rainfall in March, with precipitation ranging from around 10mm to 50mm across different regions. While rainfall is generally lower compared to the summer months, you'll want to still be prepared for occasional showers, especially in coastal and eastern regions.

Overall, March can be a great time to visit South Africa because it offers pleasant weather conditions, fewer crowds, and opportunities to experience the country's natural beauty and wildlife without the peak season prices and crowds.

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

Cape vineyard Buitenverwachting, South Africa © Gareth Weeks/Shutterstock

The weather in South Africa in May is great for discovering vineyards © Gareth Weeks/Shutterstock

Temperatures in South Africa in March?

The weather in South Africa in March depends on the region — with northern regions experiencing warmer temperatures, coastal areas having milder weather, and inland regions being cooler. This variation allows for a wide array of activities suitable for different preferences, from enjoying safaris and beaches to exploring mountains and vineyards. 

Coastal areas

During March, coastal areas of South Africa (cities like Cape Town and Durban) typically experience mild to warm temperatures. Daily highs generally range from 22°C to 30°C (72°F to 86°F), with cooler evenings and mornings.

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

Interior plateau

In March, temperatures on the interior plateau of South Africa vary. Daytime temperatures usually range from 20°C to 28°C (68°F to 82°F), with cooler nights ranging from 10°C to 18°C (50°F to 64°F).

Northern regions

March in the northern regions of South Africa, such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, tends to be warm. Daytime temperatures often reach between 28°C to 35°C (82°F to 95°F), with nighttime temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F).

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Augrabies Falls, Northern Cape, South Africa © Leon Marais/Shutterstock

The weather in South Africa in March is great for seeing Augrabies Falls  © Shutterstock

Is March a good time to visit South Africa?

Yes, March can be a fantastic time to visit South Africa. As the end of summer approaches, March brings warm temperatures and longer daylight hours, making it an ideal time for outdoor adventures and wildlife experiences.

In destinations like Cape Town, the pleasant weather is perfect for enjoying the city's beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and vibrant cultural scene.

In national parks such as Kruger, March is also an excellent time for wildlife viewing, as the vegetation begins to thin out, making it easier to spot animals gathering around water sources. However, March falls within the rainy season in some parts of the country, so it's advisable to pack waterproof gear and be prepared for occasional showers, especially along the eastern coast and in regions like the Garden Route.

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

What about crowds and costs?

In March, South Africa typically experiences moderate tourist traffic and favorable pricing. Tourist traffic during this month can vary depending on specific events and holidays, but generally, it is not as crowded as the peak summer months. It can be appealing time to visit if you're hoping to avoid large crowds while enjoying pleasant weather. 

The month falls between the busy summer season (December to February) and the onset of the cooler autumn months, offering a sweet spot for tourists.

Crowds in March are generally more manageable compared to peak months, with shorter queues at popular attractions and more relaxed vibes in popular tourist spots. However, it's important to note that March falls within the school holiday period in some countries, which can lead to increased tourist numbers at popular attractions. To avoid crowds, you may opt to visit during the earlier part of the month or explore lesser-known destinations.

In terms of costs, March often presents reasonable prices for accommodations and activities, as it's considered part of the shoulder season. While prices may not be at their lowest, they're typically more affordable compared to the peak summer months. 

Are you sure you are making the most of your trip? See our South Africa itineraries for inspiration. 

Kirstenbosch National park in cape town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Kirstenbosch National park in Cape Town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Festivals and events in South Africa in March

If you're scheduling your March trip to South Africa, you might want to consider exploring these events. However, be advised: if you intend to participate, make sure to secure your lodging well in advance. For additional ideas for your South African adventure, browse through our curated list of the best things to do in South Africa.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Held annually in Cape Town, this world-renowned jazz festival attracts top local and international artists, making it a must-visit for music enthusiasts. Travellers can groove to the rhythms of jazz, blues, and soul across multiple stages while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the Mother City. 

Cape Town Carnival

The Cape Town Carnival is a vibrant street parade that showcases the multicultural diversity of South Africa through music, dance, and elaborate costumes. You can join thousands of spectators lining the streets of Cape Town to witness the procession of floats, performers, and marching bands. This family-friendly event offers an immersive cultural experience and is a highlight of the city's annual calendar.

Wakkerstroom Music Festival

In the picturesque town of Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga, you can enjoy the Wakkerstroom Music Festival. This annual event celebrates classical music with performances by renowned local and international artists in a charming countryside setting. While here, you can also explore the natural beauty of Mpumalanga, with opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and cultural tours

Great sardine run, South Africa © wildestanimal/Shutterstock

Great sardine run, South Africa © wildestanimal/Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to South Africa in March?

Skip the hours of tedious research and book your trip today. Our tailor made trip service makes traveling easy. Our trips are designed by local travel experts and are completely customizable.

  • Cape Town Explored (8 days): Explore Cape Town, South Africa's stunning city, on a circular route around the peninsula. Then, fly to Kapama Private Game Reserve for a Big Five encounter.
  • A Kruger adventure (3 days): Visit Kruger National Park, a top destination in South Africa. Start and end your trip in Johannesburg, then fly domestically to George or Cape Town for more adventures.
  • A family self-drive in South Africa & Swaziland (17 days): Explore Kruger National Park and beyond with a rental car, ideal for family adventures. Discover wildlife in Swaziland and Hluhluwe at your leisure.

Visit South Africa in other months:

Still mulling over when the best time for your trip is? Here’s a month by month break down of the weather in South Africa.

  • April: Enjoy the refreshing crispness of autumn, perfect for exploring national parks and more.
  • May: Ease into winter with mild temperatures, offering great opportunities for wildlife spotting and outdoor adventures away from the crowds.
  • June: Embrace the winter atmosphere with cozy fireside evenings and exploring the picturesque Garden Route.
  • July: Enjoy the winter charm under clear skies, perfect for stargazing and more.
  • August: Witness the awe-inspiring whale migration along the southern coast while enjoying refreshing mornings and sunny afternoons.
  • September: Exoerience the renewal of spring with blooming landscapes and scenic hikes in the countryside.
  • October: Experience the pleasant shift to warmer weather, ideal for outdoor activities and culinary delights.
  • November: Enjoy the early summer vibes with longer days and vibrant wildflower displays.
  • December: Welcome the peak of summer with lively cities, festive celebrations, and endless outdoor adventures.
  • January: Commence the year with pleasant temperatures and dynamic cultural festivities, setting the stage for discovering stunning shorelines and diverse wildlife.
  • February: Embrace the peak of summer with intense heat, perfect for leisurely days by the beach and safaris.
Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 20.05.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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