Lying between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, Cape Town enjoys mild winters and pleasant summers. Summer temperatures in December to February range from around 15 to 27 degrees Celsius (60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit), whilst in the winter months of June to August average temperatures are between 7 to 20 degrees Celsius (45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Rainfall is moderate throughout the year and there are refreshing sea breezes which can sometimes turn a little bracing during the winter. Most tourists visit Cape Town during our long summer from November to February. A Mediterranean climate with little rain, 11 hours a day sunshine or more and long sunny evenings sets a party mood. The Californian weather explains why Cape Town has become a favoured site for foreign film and TV crews escaping from the Northern Hemisphere winter.
In recent years, the normally prevailing summer south-easter wind, the famous Cape Doctor, seems to have abated. Maybe El Nino or global warming is to blame. If the wind does blow and you”re after a tan or the beach, remember that mornings are usually much less windy, and that certain beaches (Clifton, Boulders) are much more protected than others.
Conventional local wisdom used to be that spring (September and October) and autumn (April and May) are the smart times to visit Cape Town. They are usually balmy in-between seasons, with little wind, when nature is at its showiest. If you”re into flowers or whale-watching, or seeing the vineyards at their best, these are great seasons to be in the Cape. Although Cape Town winters have a reputation for rain and wind, they often produce perfect days or even weeks. Some climatic change seems to have reduced winter rainfall, and when it”s not raining, winter becomes a perfect green season, when temperatures can reach a summery 26C (80F) or higher.
Whatever season you have chosen to visit Cape Town, be warned of the old joke. Cape Town has four seasons – sometimes in the same day. This is especially true if you plan to go hiking or be outdoors. Check the weather forecasts in local papers or on radio. Or phone 40881 for detailed short-term forecasts.