This blog post is to give students who have booked to study at UCT English Language Centre, or those interested in coming, an overview of the weather in cape Town, and what you can expect during your trip to ‘The Mother City’.
Winter is ‘official’ once the cold front from the Atlantic Ocean arrives. This means winter starts around the end of May/beginning of June and lasts until about the end of August. We also get most of our rainfall in these months, and it can get quite chilly and grey here. The epic winter storms will thrill and excite you. Having said that, we experience some truly glorious weather in winter and some days you really wonder where winter disappeared to!
Winter is known as the ‘green season’. Since we get most of our rainfall in winter, everything is green and lush and beautiful. And while it does get rainy and chilly with those icy winds, there are some days that are so warm and wind still, you will wonder if it really is winter! On average, our daytime temperatures are around 18 degrees. One of the best things about this season is that because there are not many tourists around, things are far cheaper than in the summer months and you can get fantastic specials and bargains at shops, restaurants, accommodation, etc. Check out some restaurant specials here by capetownmagazine.com.
Another winter/spring gift from Mother Nature is the start of ‘whale season’ which kicks off in June and ends around November. You can see a number of different whales, and if you happen to be around in October this year (2016), Hermanus will be hosting its annual Whale Festival. This specific festival celebrates the return of the whales to Hermanus, and visitors from all over the country and the world enjoy live music, art exhibitions, food and merchandise stalls. And while the whales are are one marine animal to look forward to seeing, so are the white sharks. South Africa is one of the best places in the world to see white sharks in their natural environment, and False Bay is one of the few places in the world where shark breaching takes place. The best time for observing white sharks from the surface of the water is between April and September.
Around September, spring starts to creep back in. The average daily temperatures start rising, and everything is in full bloom. This is very special time in the Cape when the unique Cape ‘Fynbos’ (plants only found in the Western Cape), and other plants too, show off a brilliant display of vibrant colour. You can either head up Table Mountain to see the full view of these stunning flowers, or head North for about an hour and experience the Cape Floral Region, which is also a world heritage site.
In December, the Mother City leaps into summer and tourists flock from all over the world to enjoy the spectacular beaches and outdoor activities on offer. It can get very warm in summer and it remains mostly dry, with up to 10.5 hours of daylight. It is important to remember that summer also brings with it a very strong South Easterly wind, locally referred to as the Cape Doctor. And while the outside temperatures soar, the beautiful oceans invite you for a dip in their cool waters. Be warned, however, that those waters are very cool indeed. The Atlantic Ocean summer water temperatures are about 18.5 degrees on average during summer. If it’s a cool down you are looking for, you will certainly find it in the Atlantic Ocean!
Summer in Cape Town is truly something special. It has a whole different ambiance. The locals, who have been hibernating for months, come out to enjoy their city and markets, restaurants, bars, clubs, concerts, festivals, café’s, beaches, and general outdoors with people from all over the world.
As the sun slowly sets on summer, and March welcomes autumn with the change of the colour of trees, cooler temperatures, and indoor fires, wine lovers can enjoy the time when wineries start to harvest their grapes, and even get involved if they wish. Like spring, autumn is a great time to do some walking and hiking. Mornings and evenings are crisp and fresh, but the days warm up to a mild and very comfortable temperature. Teacher Christelle summarises her idea of a perfect day in her blog post which you can find here.
And while the above has hopefully provided some idea as to what you can expect from the weather in Cape Town, now would be a good time to conclude that Cape Town is also very well known for being able to cover all four seasons in just one day! So, if you are wondering what type of clothing to bring, it will be wise to pack for the season you are coming in, and add some extras just in case, i.e. if you are coming in winter, it’s not a bad idea to throw in some shorts and t-shirts, and vice versa. We look forward to seeing you in the Mother City soon!