Weather in Cape Town: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature

View of fog over Cape Town and Lion's Head, from the top of Table Mountain

Subodh Agnihotri / Getty Images

Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. The Mother City has it all: majestic coastal and mountain scenery, diverse cultural attractions, and some of the world’s best restaurants. But when is the best time to visit? Visitors from the Northern Hemisphere should note that South Africa’s seasons are reversed, so that summer lasts from December to February, and July is in the middle of winter. Similarly, while the rest of the country depends on summer humidity to bring rain, the Western Cape’s rainy season coincides with winter.

Consequently, the summer months are traditionally considered the best time to visit Cape Town, with cloudless sunny days and blissfully warm temperatures. However, spring and fall are also glorious (if a little cooler), and much less busy. Winter can also be a great time to travel if you’re not averse to a few wet and chilly days, since prices for accommodation, tours, and dining are much lower than in the peak summer months. Essentially, Cape Town is a fantastic destination at any time of year, with pros and cons to every season. Read on to find out what they are. 

Fast Climate Facts:

  • Hottest Month: February (72 F)
  • Coldest Month: July (55 F)
  • Wettest Month: June (1.87 inches)
  • Windiest Month: January (15 mph)
  • Best Month for Swimming: February (68 F)

Spring in Cape Town 

Spring (September to November) is a stunning time to visit Cape Town and the surrounding Winelands region. The winter rainfall drops off significantly, from an average of 1.56 inches in August to just 0.71 inches in September. By November, the monthly average is 0.28 inches. Temperatures steadily increase throughout the season, too, with abundant sunshine being the norm from late September onwards. Nevertheless, this is one of the coldest times of year for swimming, with September experiencing an average sea temperature of 59.5 degrees.

Above all, spring is synonymous with new growth, including abundant wildflowers in Table Mountain National Park. Kirstenbosch Gardens is another magical place to be in springtime. Expect shoulder season rates, and far fewer crowds than in the summer high season, as many South Africans stay home to save up for the festive break ahead. 

What to Pack: Plenty of layers for quickly changing weather conditions, a light raincoat, warm jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wetsuit if you plan on swimming. 

Average Temperatures by Month:

  • September: High: 67 F; Low: 49 F
  • October: High: 72 F; Low: 53 F
  • November: High: 75 F; Low: 57 F

Summer in Cape Town 

Summer (December to January) is the perfect time to visit Cape Town weather wise. Precipitation is negligible, with an average of 0.09 inches recorded monthly throughout the season. The skies are blue, the sun shines brightly above the city’s iconic land and seascapes, and water temperatures rise to between 64 and 66 degrees—the hottest of the year.

Of course, travelers both from within South Africa and overseas flock to the city to take advantage of the idyllic weather, and the city's beaches and other tourist attractions are considerably busier than at any other time of year. Accommodation, restaurants, and tours are charged at a premium, and you’ll need to book several months in advance to secure a place to stay in the peak months of December and early January. February is quieter, and also the hottest month of the year. 

What to Pack: Summer clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses, a sun hat, and your swimsuit. Don’t forget insect repellent and a light jacket for late nights and early mornings. 

Average Temperatures by Month:

  • December: High: 79 F; Low: 60 F
  • January: High: 80 F; Low: 62 F
  • February: High: 81 F; Low: 62 F

Fall in Cape Town 

Fall (March to May) brings cooler temperatures for those who prefer not to sweat while exploring historic neighborhoods such as Bo-Kaap, or the myriad attractions of the V&A Waterfront. From March, daily mean temperatures drop from 69 degrees to 60 degrees by the middle of May. Rainfall sees a sharp increase from April onwards, rising from 0.11 inches in March to 1.04 inches in May.

April showers aside, it’s a lovely time to visit—especially in the Winelands, where the annual grape harvest is underway. The summer crowds have dispersed, too, giving you much more leeway to be spontaneous when booking accommodation and tours. Similarly, shoulder season prices are lower than in summer, and you’ll often be one of only a handful of people on the beach. Here, surf is beginning to ramp up for the winter season, and in March, the water still retains some lingering summer heat. 

What to Pack: Layers, a warm jacket, light raincoat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wetsuit for swimming or surfing. 

Average Temperatures by Month:

  • March: High: 79 F; Low: 59 F
  • April: High: 74 F; Low: 54 F
  • May: High: 69 F; Low: 51 F

Winter in Cape Town 

Winter (June to August) is traditionally the least popular time to visit Cape Town. While it’s true that it is both the coldest and rainiest time of year, it’s also true that there are plenty of beautiful days in between the notorious Cape storms. Here are the facts: Daily mean temperatures hover around the 56 degrees mark, with an annual low of 55 degrees in July. June is the wettest month, seeing an average precipitation of 1.87 inches, and the wind can be pretty strong, too—especially in exposed areas such as the waterfront and the top of Table Mountain.

Regarding Table Mountain, bear in mind that the cable car to the top does not operate in high winds, so it’s worth checking the weather before booking. On the plus side, beaches are practically abandoned in winter, there are very few crowds, and you can find great deals on accommodation and tours. Winter is also peak surfing season—just prepare for chilly sea temperatures of around 59 degrees. 

What to Pack: Warm layers, a thick jacket and raincoat, warm shoes or boots, a beanie, scarf, and gloves. Be sure to pack a thick wetsuit if you're planning to partake in water sports. 

Average Temperatures by Month:

  • June: High: 65 F; Low: 46 F
  • July: High: 64 F; Low: 45 F
  • August: High: 65 F; Low: 47 F

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours

Temperature   Rainfall Daylight Hours 
 January 71 F 0.08 inches 14 hours
February  72 F 0.09 inches  13.5 hours 
March  69 F  0.11 inches 12.5 hours
 April 64 F  0.59 inches 11.5 hours
 May 60 F 1.04 inches  10.5 hours 
June  56 F 1.87 inches  10 hours
July  55 F  1.65 inches  10 hours
August  56 F 1.56 inches  11 hours 
September  58 F 0.71 inches  12 hours
October  62 F 0.30 inches 13 hours
November  66 F 0.28 inches 14 hours
December  69 F  0.12 inches  14.5 hours
Article Sources
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  1. Time and Date. "Climate & Weather Averages in Cape Town, South Africa." Retrieved on September 17, 2021.

  2. World Sea Temperature. "Cape Town average September temperature." Retrieved on September 17, 2021.

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