WHEN TO VISIT
Dry season: NOVEMBER TO APRIL
Cape Town is unique among Southern African destinations in that its seasons are ‘reversed’: while the rest of the region has dry winters and wet summers, the Mother City has a wet winter and a dry summer.
In summer, the sun rises early and sets late, making for long days of sunshine. This is perfect for hitting the beach (although the Atlantic Ocean is cold), alfresco meals, boating excursions and sightseeing. Festivals and outdoor concerts abound at this time, a great way to experience local culture with real Capetonians. For many residents, the ‘best’ weather is around April when the southeaster wind drops and the days are still warm but not very hot.
Green season: JUNE TO AUGUST
Green season coincides with the winter rains but also with peak safari season in the rest of Southern Africa, meaning the city can be surprisingly busy as many safari visitors combine their time in the bush with a visit to Cape Town.
Although the weather can be cold and wet, this is a great time to visit the many museums and art galleries in the city, which also boasts a number of fine restaurants and theatres. It is also the perfect time of year to head to the Winelands for tastings in cosy cellars and next to crackling fires.
SHOULDER season: MAY, AND SEPTEMBER TO OCTOBER
May is autumn: the city’s trees and vineyards turn golden and the weather is still very temperate. September is considered to be spring and usually coincides with the blooming of huge carpets of indigenous flowers in bright yellow, purple, orange and white. A trip to West Coast National Park – about a 90-minute drive from Cape Town – is a wonderful way to see an almost infinite variety of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is thought to have nearly 6 000 endemic plant species and about 9 000 in total!