Best Time to Visit - 10 min read

Best Time to Visit Cape Town (Divine Dishes & Cultural Traditions)

Jillian Marinovic

Jillian Marinovic, Updated October 31, 2022

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Cape Town is known as the adventure capital of South Africa and boasts 5.4 million visitors annually. The popular travel destination needs little introduction with its stunning mountain ranges and golden beaches. So, what is the best time to visit Cape Town?

The best time to visit Cape Town is in February and March for the best weather, and the least number of crowds. Flight costs are reduced by 65% during these months, which will save you a good bit. For the best weather, visit between December and March when temperatures average between 75 F and 80 F. 

 Visit this exotic city all year round to experience all of its natural wonder and colorful history. Soak up the sun on Boulder’s Beach, where penguins waddle right up to you. Or trek up Table Mountain to enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town.

Worst Time to Visit Cape Town

Peak tourist times happen to be at the same time as high summer temperatures. There can be multiple heatwaves throughout January, and the beaches fill up with people trying to cool down. Hotel prices rise nearly 30% during December and January.

June and July are the coldest months. The daylight hours are shorter, and it’s windy and rainy. Cape Town’s winter months are less crowded, but the weather can make it harder to visit the beach and do outdoor activities.

What is the Cheapest Time of Year to go to Cape Town?

The cheapest months to travel to Cape Town are March – May and September – November. Hotel rates are down by 35%. June – August and December – February are the most expensive months for traveling.

Cape Town is an affordable destination for travelers, and fortunately, the exchange rate favors the dollar. Once you arrive, traveling throughout the city is cheap if you use Uber. Attractions in Cape Town are close together and rides should only cost you a few dollars.

You can also take advantage of all the free things to do in the city. Walk through historic neighborhoods and even up to the top of Table Mountain. Attend free events like First Thursdays, where the city’s center is blocked to traffic, so art and food vendors can fill the streets after hours.

What Time of the Year has the Best Weather in Cape Town?

Cape Town is located in the Southern Hemisphere, which means that their winter is in June and July, and summer is during December to February. If you live in the northern hemisphere, Cape Town is the perfect destination to escape the cold and snow in December.

From December to March, the average highs are around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. But even during Cape Town’s winter in July, average highs rarely get higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Cape Town’s infamous, south-easterly winds blow from December – February, and can get pretty strong.

Lastly, October – April is the dry season with pleasant warm conditions and little to no rain.  Cape Town’s year-round climate is a mild, Mediterranean one, which makes it nice to visit all year long.

January: Celebrate the New Year with Fun and Fashionable Flare

On January 2nd every year, Capetonians celebrate the new year with the holiday Cape Town Minstrel Carnival. Locals call the holiday “Tweede Nuwe Jaar.” Thousands of musicians, dancers, and costumed people parade throughout the streets until they reach Green Point Stadium. At the stadium, a series of singing, dancing, and costume competitions take place.

In January, you can also visit Kenilworth Racecourse for its most spectacular races of the year, The Sun Met. Nearly 50,000 attendees fill the grounds to cheer on the jockeys in 13 separate races. Attendees dress up in rich costumes and the latest South African flare.

  • Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
  • Kenilworth Racecourse’s Sun Met
  • Green Point Stadium

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February: Take a Walk on the Wildlife Side of Cape Town

The summer season is winding down in February, which makes it the perfect month to enjoy the beauty of the Cape of Good Hope.

This nature reserve is home to 250 bird species, baboons, caracal, tortoises, and more. Walk through the majesties of nature, and even see where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet.

  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Table Mountain National Park
  • With You Festival at the Castle of Good Hope

March: Jazz it Up at Cape Town’s International Jazz Festival

March is your chance to see top local and international jazz artists in one place. They come together at the bottom of Table Mountain to perform at The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Africa’s most-renowned gathering.

The festival lasts for 2 days and sees an excess of 35,000 visitors annually. There are five stages, with more than 40 performances. It is a spirited time that captures the joy of Capetonians living life to the fullest.

  • The Cape Town International Jazz Festival
  • Duotone Photographic Exhibition
  • La Colombe Restaurant
  • The Cousins Trattoria
  • Cape Town Cycle Tour

April: Best Time to Visit the Beaches on the Indian Ocean Coast

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie, the beach at Muizenberg is every surfer’s dream. The beach is large and you won’t have any trouble finding a spot. And the beachfront is full of shops if you’re in need of surfing gear.

Meanwhile inland, Zip Zap Circus puts on performances throughout April and has been since 1992. Zip Zap Circus is a unique organization as they take children from South Africa into their programs. Seeing a show aids in keeping this opportunity alive for at-risk youth.

  • Muizenberg Beach
  • The Brass Bell
  • Rhodes Cottage Museum
  • Zip Zap Circus

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May: Chill out with Penguins Up Close at Boulder’s Beach

If you want to have one of the most incredible experiences in South Africa, then visiting Boulder’s Beach, the “penguin” beach, is something you need to add to your “to do” list. Make sure to go early in the day as the beach can get crowded, and more penguins hang out when there’s less people.

You can also experience a mind-blowing party at the popular arts festival called Afrikaburn. A community of people come together to create burning structures and costumes. They also put on music performances and theme camps in Tankwa Karoo National Park. The theme of the festival is to come as you are and express your creativity in whatever way you choose.

  • Boulder’s Beach
  • Stony Point Nature Reserve
  • Afrikaburn Festival

June: See All of Cape Town from the Skies on Table Mountain

Named as one of the new seven wonders of the world, Cape Town’s most iconic attraction is Table Mountain. When you reach the mountain’s top, you will have a 360-degree view of Cape Town.

There are over 350 trails that you can take to hike to the top, or you can ride in one of the park’s cable cars instead. Since June is the start of Cape Town’s winter, hotel prices near the mountain drop to as low as $70 a night.

  • Table Mountain
  • Wacky Wine Weekend Festival
  • Chapman’s Peak
  • Lion’s Head

July: Best Time to Visit Cape Town’s Historic Landmarks

One of the most historic sites in Cape Town is the Cape Point Lighthouse. It sits on Cape Point Peak, 238 miles above sea level. Construction began in 1850, and sections of it came all the way from the Victoria Foundry in London.

You can take the Flying Dutchman Funicular, a quaint cable-carriage on a mini railway up to the lighthouse. July is the perfect time to see whales off of the coast, and there’s no better spot to watch than up on the peak.

  • Cape Point Lighthouse
  • Two Oceans Aquarium
  • Artscape
  • Baxter Theater

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August: Best Time to Eat & Drink at World-Class Eateries

Cape Town is known for being a premier dining destination. Most restaurants serve authentic dishes made with fresh ingredients. For example, the Delaire Graff Restaurant at the Delaire Graff Estate offers sensational foods and stunning views.

Delaire’s terrace overlooks the Stellenbosch valley and mountains. It’s canopied by oak trees and creates a warm, romantic atmosphere. Don’t forget to bring your camera and your appetite.

  • Delaire Graff Restaurant
  • Alexander Bar Upstairs Theatre
  • The Fugard in historic District Six

September: Best Time to Visit the Cape Winelands

Who could visit Cape Town without experiencing its gorgeous vineyards and valleys? The winelands offer a generous number of tours. Some of these tours are conducted by bicycles, and others on horseback.

The tours allow you to visit many different venues and sample many different wines. However, you can book a room at a single winery and experience all it has to offer.

  • Voorkamerfest
  • Cape Town Marathon

October: Experience the Spookiness of Cape Town’s Halloween

Capetonians love Halloween and celebrate it all month long in October. There are haunted houses, hay rides, and festivals. Check out the HintHunt Escape Room and choose which adventure you want to work your way through.

The Grand Kloof Boutique Hotel offers weekend bonfire and garden parties with different Halloween-themed activities like pumpkin painting. There’s also Green Market Square’s popular event “Things that Go Bump in the Night” with live music, carnival games, face painting, and lots of food.

  • HintHunt Escape Room
  • Grand Kloof Boutique Hotel
  • Green Market Square

November: Kick off Summer at The Color Run Rainbow Tour

Capetonians kick off the summer season with an explosion of color at The Color Run Rainbow Tour. Regular attendees call it the “happiest 5k on the planet” because by the end, runners are doused in a sea of powdered paint. The race ends with a lively after party featuring local DJs and best dressed competitions.

There’s also the hot rod, retro-themed festival – the Dusty Rebels and the Bombshells Rockin’ & Riding Festival. The one-day event is full of fun with its mid-1990s American style. There’s car shows, pin-up pageants, and rock ‘n roll performances.

  • The Color Run Rainbow Tour
  • Dusty Rebels and the Bombshells Rockin’ & Riding Festival

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Botswana

December: Best Time to Visit Cape Town’s Beaches

Summer is in full swing in Cape Town when December hits. Temperatures average around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect time to visit many of Cape Town’s beaches.

But if you plan to visit in December, you need to book your flight early as Cape Town is a primetime holiday destination.

  • The Galileo Open Air Cinema
  • V&A Waterfront
  • Edgemead Christmas Market
  • Die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum

Best Time to Go to Cape Town to Avoid Crowds

Cape Town sees very little tourists in the winter months of June and July. Lodging rates drop to their lowest all year and you can get the most for your money. March and April also see moderate sized crowds if you aren’t keen on the colder temperatures.

Avoid going to Cape Town between December and January if you want to avoid crowds. Everyone tries to escape winter in the northern hemisphere by visiting Cape Town. Over 5 million tourists visit Cape Town each year, and most of them visit in these months.

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