Best Times to Visit


The climate is South Africa is generally sunny and pleasant all year, with mild winters. More details may be found in the Climate in South Africa section.

Visitors are advised to bring lightweight linens and cottons and rainwear. Warmer clothes may be need for winter (June, July and August).


South Africa stages a number of festivals throughout the year, with something for everyone. Food festivals include the Prickly Pear Festival in February/March in the Eastern Cape and Lambert's Bay Kreeffees in Cape Town in March.

Music festivals include:

  • the Origin Festival in the Western Cape in January, a trance event
  • the FNB Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg in February
  • Oppikoppi (SA's Glastonbury), held in the bushveld in the north in August
  • Woodstock, a youth music and lifestyle festival (October)

The National Arts Festival is one of the most important events, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for between 8 and 10 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown, which is situated in the Eastern Cape. The gay Pink Loerie Mardi Gras is held in Knysna in the Western Cape in May.

Public Holidays

The following table shows the public holidays celebrated in South Africa:

Date Holiday
1 January New Year's Day
March/April (variable) Good Friday
March/April (Monday after Good Friday) Family Day
21 March Human Rights Day
27 April Freedom Day
1 May Workers Day
16 June Youth Day
9 August National Women's Day
24 September Heritage Day
16 December Day of Reconciliation
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Day of Goodwill