Like the Southern African countries further north, South Africa enjoys a defined wet season (summer) and a dry season (winter). This applies to the overwhelming majority of the country with the exception of Cape Town’s Mediterranean climate, the Mother City receiving its rain in the southern hemisphere winter.
In general daytime temperatures throughout the year are mild although overnight temperatures on the Highveld around Johannesburg can drop below 0°C overnight. The areas most likely to be visited on safari generally experience warm to hot days for most of the year, with the hottest temperatures usually experienced in October and February when it is not uncommon for the mercury to rise above 40°C. Nonetheless safari goers should prepare for chilly temperatures. Game drives in open land rovers mean you are exposed to the wind chill factor and in some areas of the country beanies and jackets are highly recommended for those early morning and evening drives.
Rainfall in the safari areas is limited to the summer months with the bulk falling from December through to February and more likely during November, March and April. The drier winter months (May to October) have traditionally been considered best for game viewing, but it does depend on what you want to see and game viewing is generally very good throughout the year at most destinations.