Cape Town's Seasons
Cape Town is exposed to influences from both the icy Atlantic Ocean as well as the warmer Indian Ocean but it is arguably the Table Mountain range, which effectively forms the spine of the Peninsula, that has the most marked effect on Cape Town's weather and seasons.
Spring and autumn are the real gems
Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, Cape Town enjoys hot dry summers and cold, damp winters but it's the in-between seasons of spring and autumn that are the real gems.
The towering cliffs of the iconic mountain ensure that visitors to the city are able to experience virtually all fours season in a single day, simply by travelling from the Atlantic Seaboard on the lee side of the mountain to the southern suburbs on the other.
The west facing Atlantic Seaboard and the City Bowl experience a full frontal solar barrage that can last for at least 11 hours each day, with the sun setting close to 9pm in the height of the summer season. Luxury waterfront apartments at the V&A Waterfront are ideally located for visitors to make the most of the city's long, balmy summer days.
Cooler climes on the windward side of the mountain
The southern suburbs, on the other hand, the 'green belt 'of the mother city, are masked from the late afternoon sun by the cliffs and crags of Devil's Peak and the back of Table Mountain. They record less sunshine and lower temperatures, which can actually be somewhat of a relief in February, the hottest month of the year. It is also not unusual for the top of Table Mountain to be covered in cloud, ensuring even cooler climes on the windward side.
As South Africa is located in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are as follows:
- Winter - June through August with average temperatures of 7C - 20C
- Spring - September through November with average temperatures of 11C - 21C
- Summer - December through February with average temperatures of 15C - 27C
- Autumn - March through May with average temperatures of 12C - 23C
Expect the odd tempest of note
The winter months are generally cold and wet with fine drizzle at times, but expect the odd tempest of note, hence the moniker 'Cape of Storms'. The vicious north-westerly wind can sometime reach gale force, creating hurricane-like conditions. Trees regularly get uprooted and enormous surf lashes the coastline but there is arguably nothing better than sitting in front of a roaring open fire enjoying some of the Cape's world-renowned red wine as the storm crashes overhead.
The 'Cape Doctor' has its benefits
The Cape summer is hot and dry and there's always a risk of runaway bush fires. The prevailing wind is the notorious south-easter, dubbed the 'Cape Doctor' for its propensity of clearing the city limits of all air pollution. Also, when the south-easter wind blows in Cape Town, there is generally much-needed rain up country.
If you are intent on visiting one of the most magnificent cities on the planet, plan your vacation for either spring or autumn - there is generally little wind, the days are crisp and clear, the natural surroundings are at their finest and you will not have to share the delights of Cape Town with masses of other tourists.