When is the best time to visit Cape Town for a holiday?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re considering spending a holiday or some leisure time in and around the city.
Perhaps you’re a local holiday maker or overseas visitor looking around for suitable hotels in Cape Town, and wanting to find out the best time of year to visit, or you’re just in the early stages of planning a vacation in the Western Cape.
In either event, this should help.
Conventional wisdom – based on seasonality – will state that the best time to visit Cape Town is during the “peak summer months”, typically around December to February, when you can expect warm weather and sunny skies.
The caveat to this of course, is that this period also coincides with school holidays, together with many locals taking some time off, so you can expect popular tourist spots to be quite busy during this period. (it’s also when many guesthouses and hotel rooms in Cape Town get snapped up, so be sure to book early if you’re looking to spend time here during this period)
Having said that, the traditional “off-peak” periods have also become increasingly popular, and we’re seeing more and more local and international visitors enjoying their holidays in and around the city during the Cape Town autumn and winter months (March – August).
So when is the best time to visit Cape Town for a holiday or some leisure time?
The simple answer is – it all depends on what your interests are, as there’s a huge variety of leisure activities to enjoy throughout the year.
To help make things even easier, here’s a quick seasonal breakdown of the type of weather you can expect, as well as popular activities, events and things to do during the year.
Summer in Cape Town (December, January, February)
If you’re a fan of the outdoors, this is typically the best time to have a holiday here.
Whether it’s unwinding on the many beaches Cape Town has to offer (Camps Bay, Muizenberg, Hout Bay to name but a few) to enjoying a relaxing afternoon at one of the highly rated wine estates and farms within the nearby Cape winelands.
There is something for everyone to enjoy, be it hiking, paragliding, shopping or experiencing the nightlife within the city.
As mentioned above, the first couple of months of summer are traditionally the “busy season” in Cape Town, but things start to ease up over February, with many popular destinations becoming less crowded.
Autumn in Cape Town (March, April, May)
The autumn months in Cape Town are a great time to have a holiday here. The weather is still quite mild, the summer winds have largely died down and the traditional winter rains haven’t quite arrived.
Outdoor activities can still largely be enjoyed, and there are a number of big events that take place in the city during this time, including the Two Oceans Marathon as well as the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
This is also a great time for hiking enthusiasts, as the temperate weather means the hiking trails of Lions Head, Constantia Nek and Table Mountain (amongst others) remain very popular over weekends and during early mornings.
The autumn months also sees booming activity among the many indoor markets, live music venues and restaurants that Cape Town offers.
Winter in Cape Town (June, July, August)
Contrary to popular belief, the winter months can also be a great time to enjoy a holiday in Cape Town.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the wide variety of highly acclaimed indoor restaurants and eateries, while other activities include wine tasting, cycling and hiking (weather permitting of course).
Although June technically sees the beginning of winter, there are still a surprising amount of “sunny” days for visitors to enjoy.
If you’re an avid surfer, this is also a great time to spend a holiday in Cape Town, as surfing conditions are perfect for this activity.
Although peak winter in July and August brings traditional heavy rains and colder weather, there are still many fun-filled activities to enjoy for holiday makers.
Spring in Cape Town (September, October, November)
September sees the beginning of Spring – and with it – warmer weather, and more local and international holiday makers to the city.
Although the weather will be warmer than the preceding months, once the sun goes down you can still expect some colder evenings.
With the onset of Spring, you will begin to see an abundance of flowers blooming in and around the city, up the mountain ranges and along the coast, making scenic drives along the routes a must for holidaymakers.
Octobers sees sun worshipers returning, with the various beaches of Cape Town back in business (although still fairly uncrowded).
This is also a popular time to spend a holiday here, and many local visitors having some leisure time before the busier peak season.