Cape Town is a fantastically diverse city that offers a wide variety of activities, some of which are dependant on the weather or the season. We’ve provided a breakdown of the weather conditions you can expect within each of the seasons as well as which activities you can enjoy during each. The great news is that each season provides its own unique opportunities and is a great time to visit no matter what time of year.
The summer season begins in December and continues to the end of February. You can expect weather ranging from 14°C degrees to 25°C degrees (57°F – 77°F) but it can sometimes skyrocket up to 40°C degrees (104°F).
The summer is the most popular time of year to visit Cape Town. With an abundance of world-class beaches, an endless number of incredible hikes and many outdoor and adventure activities, the city pulsates with visitors from both South Africa and around the world. That said, this also means that there are longer queues, more crowds, and more traffic. We advise that you book everything from accommodation and restaurants to tours at least 6 months in advance.
Our picks for the best things to do in Cape Town in Summer:
If you want the best of both worlds, why not consider cycling around the Franschhoek wine valley and taste some world-renowned wines? This is the perfect activity in the summertime because you get your exercise in for the day while taking in the breathtaking natural beauty of the surroundings this wine region has on offer. Part of this package includes going for a good wine pairing session at La Bri wine estate so you can be sure to line those bellies before indulging in the wine. Booking in advance for this activity is recommended to ensure the cycling routes are not overcrowded.
If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, then consider taking a tour around the cape that includes wine tasting. The tour moves throughout the Cape Peninsula where you’ll have the opportunity to take a lot of awesome pictures. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve as well as Cape Point before heading to boulders beach. Your tour will end off with wine tasting at some of the award-winning tasting rooms in the Constantia Valley. To avoid disappointment, be sure to book this with sufficient notice.
If these are not the kinds of activities you’re interested in then consider the following: Jet Ski with Table Mountain in the background, Snorkel with the Cape Fur Seals, partake in sunrise Yoga on Table Mountain or even guided hike.
Following the summer months, Autumn falls between March and May. With it slowly starting to cool down, autumn brings some of the most breathtaking views of trees and shrub leaves begin to transform and change color. If you’re planning to visit Cape Town in autumn you’re most likely to see temperatures ranging between 18 and 20 degrees.
In comparison to the summer months, autumn is not as busy but you’ll still experience some waiting. To ensure you’re able to go out and enjoy yourself with your friends and family, we would recommend still making a booking.
Our picks for the best things to do in Cape Town in Autumn:
The best time to partake in shark cage diving would be between the months of March – September. The reason for this is due to the visibility of the water being clearer. Get your adrenaline pumping and shark cage dive in Shark Alley. Once you complete your dive, you can head on over to either Stanford, Bot River or the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley where you can explore the towns before heading off for wine tasting. As this is such a popular activity, bookings are essential.
Known for being home to some of the countries most dynamic art galleries, venture out on a full day tour through the various art galleries. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit a few museums and you can really customize this activity to meet your tastes. As this activity isn’t for everyone, you shouldn’t have any trouble booking this on short notice.
With the weather being slightly cooler in Autumn, if you are looking for something else to do then you should consider a private catered lunch in the vineyards, a cooking class or even a private yacht charter to Robben Island.
Gradually moving from autumn to winter, the northwestern begins to set in and the temperature drops even further. Winter can be expected to start at the beginning of June and run up until around the end of August. As most would think, winter time is meant to have high rainfall but the recent years this has not been the case. With a number of reasons for this, the weather in the winter time is seen to be a bit more unpredictable. Temperatures on occasion go higher than 24 degrees but you’re more than likely going to experience much cooler weather.
The winter months can also be considered to bring promise for those who enjoy the cooler weather. By now, most of the tourists have returned home and most activities have freed up. This is considered to be a much quieter time in the travel and tourism industry within the Cape and with not much going on due to the unpredictable weather, you might find yourself doing more indoor activities.
Of course in the winter months, there will be the odd day where you can get outside and enjoy the breathtaking clarity of the mountains and landscape of the Cape, why not book a vintage car and take a drive around the Cape? You could even go on a unique shopping trip for designer African pieces or exquisite diamond shopping.
Our picks for the best things to do in Cape Town in Winter:
With Cape Town growing reputation as a foodie destination, this tour allows you the opportunity to fully experience all the goodness the Cape has to offer when it comes to food. With the diverse number of cultures, you are bound to experience a few flavors you might not have experienced before. Booking for this tour is essential as they are conducted in groups.
If it’s your first time visiting the Cape, then this is a must for you and your family. This is the perfect activity for winter as the weather is a lot cooler which results in more animals walking about. Taking you on a trip through the Villiera Nature Sanctuary you’ll be able to see a wide variety of animals. As the tourism industry slows down a bit in the winter months, you shouldn’t experience any difficulties booking this on short notice.
During the season of spring, you can expect to see the temperatures beginning to rise. Commencing on the first of September, a day known as Spring day, this season brings a lot of promise through to the end of November. This is largely due to the west coast and it becoming known as the flower season. With the sun starting to rise earlier, you can expect your days to become longer. In terms of weather for this season, you can anticipate it being in and around the mid-twenties.
As the temperature starts to rise within the spring months, you might find more people than usual out and about. This might result in you starting to stand in slightly longer queues. If you are the type of person that prefers the short queue, now would be the time to start making the bookings a few days in advance for those activities you’re wanting to do.
Our Picks for the Best Things to do in Cape Town in Spring:
The small town of Hermanus has a lot to offer its guests. This seasonal activity running from July through to November will allow you to have a full view of the Southern Right Whale and many other sea species. There are also a number of smaller shops within the town as well as the Hemel en Aarde valley for you to head on over to for some wine tasting.
As this is seasonal, booking for this needs to be done as far in advance as possible as it will more than likely result in you needing to book accommodation in Hermanus as well.
This is the perfect activity to get your adrenaline going. Perfect for both couples and families, going zip lining in Elgin is a must. With over 13 platforms and numerous slides, you can take in some of the best views while going down the zipline. Once you completed your zipline, you’ll be taken on a wine tasting experience. It’s recommended you book this in advance, especially if your whole family will be taking part.
Spring offers a number of other activities and promises for everyone. You could also go on a ride on an electronic bike or even a food foraging adventure. You can take your family to experience different cheese in the Winelands or even a Gourmet food experience starting at L’Avenier Estate in Stellenbosch.
There Is Just So Much To Choose From!
With so much on offer when it comes to visiting the Cape, there is never an ideal time but rather an ideal activity you can do. Planning a holiday can prove to be very challenging if you don’t put an itinerary together for you and your family. If you’re still having difficulties deciding what to do, or what to include in the itinerary, then give the team at Explore Sideways a call. With years of experience, they’ll be sure to assist you in planning your holiday.