Top Reasons to visit Cape Town in Winter
June – August
11°C – 22°C (52°F – 72°F)
9 – 10 days per month
Hours of daylight
The Mother City is filled with beauty, wonder, adventure, excitement, and a vibrant contagious energy, and this is no different during her stunning winter season. While the sun may set a little earlier, rise a little later, and the temperatures gradually start to cool down, Cape Town in winter is absolutely wonderful and not at all what you might expect.
Known as one of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, winter in Cape Town is when the city shows off an entirely different side of what it has to offer.
Boasting beautiful lush greenery, a stunning mild Mediterranean climate, thriving marine life and stunning landscapes, winter in Cape Town is everything you could imagine and so much more. Not to mention the variety of thrilling experiences, adventures and spectacular sights just waiting the be discovered. If you’re planning a winter Cape Town trip or getaway, you sure are in for a treat!
Here are some of the top reasons to visit Cape Town in winter, and why you won’t regret a single second of your Western Cape winter experience.
Winter Season Highlights
Great time for whale watching
‘Green Season’ in Cape Town | Lush greenery & scenery
Off-peak rates & fewer crowds
Great for outdoor exploring & hiking
Prime time for surfing
Did you know that winter season in Cape Town is known as the ‘Green Season’? Winter in the Mother City marks the time of year when all the Cape fauna and flora come out to play and Cape Town’s landscapes transforms into a glorious lush green paradise.
This makes winter the perfect time of year to wander into the great outdoors, tick a bucket-list worthy adventure off your list and explore everything the beautifully lush natural wonders of the Western Cape has to offer. Plus, with so many natural gems as your winter playground, how can you possibly resist?
**Tip: Here are a few of Cape Town’s natural gems that should be on your winter adventure bucket-list: Table Mountain National Park; Table Mountain; Cape Point; Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; the Cederberg Wilderness; Kogelberg Nature Reserve; Silvermine Nature Reserve & West Coast National Park.
Mild Mediterranean Climate
One of the Mother City’s main allures is her stunning year-round mild Mediterranean climate, and this certainly applies to her beautiful winter season too. Locals and travellers can look forward to enjoying lovely laid-back winter days with day-time temperatures averaging around 11°C – 22°C (52°F – 72°F), depending on the month.
Although winter in Cape Town coincides with its peak rainy season, and overcast skies, sudden downpours and chilly evenings are all part of the Cape Town winter season package, the Mother City sure has a few sunny surprises up her sleeve too! This means locals and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the sunny side of Cape Town life as the Mother City is known for her sudden pops of warm sunshine-filled days, some of which can be enjoyed right in the dead of winter.
The Mother City is known for her wildly unpredictable lucky-packet weather after all, and this is certainly no different during her winter season. Don’t be at all surprised when you see someone taking a daring dip in the Atlantic, floating around in a tidal pool or going on a SUPing adventure right in the middle of Cape Town’s winter season – it’s all part of the Cape’s winter charm!
Referred to as whale season in Cape Town, winter in the Mother City is the best time of year to see the glorious Western Cape Southern Right Whales. The Cape Whale Route is a 900-kilometre-long stretch of coastline that extends from Strandfontein near Muizenberg to Plettenberg Bay in the Southern Cape.
Every year, between June and November, Southern Right Whales journey to our shores to mate and calve, giving us the incredible opportunity to witness these majestic ocean beings in their natural habitat. While the whales sometimes arrive earlier and stay later, the prime whale-watching season peaks between August and October. Calving normally takes place in August and September, but can happen as early as July.
**Tip: Where are the top spots & destinations for whale sightings in and around Cape Town:
- False Bay Coastline: A great place to enjoy incredible whale sightings is along the vibrant False Bay coastline, with Simonstown being one of Cape Town’s best whale watching hubs. Opt for the higher vantage points along the False Bay coastline such as Cape Point, Boyes Drive between St James and Kalk Bay, and Clarence Drive between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els. During peak whale-watching season, you might even be lucky enough to spot them close-up if you take the train trip from Muizenberg to Simon’s Town.
- Hermanus: Hermanus is rated as one of the top 12 whale-watching locations in the world by the World Wildlife Fund. If you’re looking to experience the REAL deal when it comes to whale watching in the Western Cape, a visit to the whale capital of the world, Hermanus, should definitely be on your Cape Town bucket-list! Not only will visitors be able to enjoy amazing land-based viewing opportunities, with the whales coming within metres of the shoreline at times, Hermanus boasts some great whale-watching viewing terraces at the Old Harbour and Gearings Point. There are also a variety of boat-based whale watching adventures available if you’re looking for something a little more thrilling. If you’re eager to fully immerse yourself in the Hermanus whale experience, be sure to visit this top Western Cape whale spot during the first week of October when the seaside town hosts an annual whale festival.
- Cape Agulhas: Another top whale watching spot in the Western Cape is the Cape Agulhas. Up to 50 pairs of southern right cows and calves have been known to frolic in the ocean waters near the southernmost tip of Africa. If you’re looking to combine your love for the outdoors, hiking and marine life, The Whale Trail, a five-day hike along the cliffs, dunes, and beaches of the Cape Agulhas, gives you a wonderful opportunity to view these mighty mammals and their offspring while ticking an exhilarating experience off your Cape Town bucket-list.
**Other great places to enjoy spectacular Southern Right Whale sightings in Cape Town and surrounds:
- De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve
- Witsand (also known as “The Whale Nursery of South Africa”)
- The Cape West Coast: Lambert’s Bay; Strandfontein; Yzerfontein; Langebaan; Paternoster; Elands Bay; Saldanha Bay; Melkbosstrand & Doringbaai
- Overberg region: Struisbaai; Arniston; Stanford; Betty’s Bay; Gansbaai & De Kelders
- Cape Town: Llandudno & Hout Bay
- Garden Route: Stilbaai; Sedgefield; Nature’s Valley
Surfing & Ocean Adventures
While Cape Town’s summer season may be perfect for sunbathing, sand castle building, swimming, and surfing too, winter in Cape Town is when the waves REALLY come out to play! The bigger waves, wind conditions and warmer ocean temperatures during the months of June to September transforms the Mother City into the ultimate mecca for both local and international surfers.
With such a thrilling variety of local surfing hotspots to choose from, it’s no surprise surfers flock from all around the world to experience Cape Town’s winter wave magic first-hand. However, if you’re not a top-notch surfing professional, don’t worry, Cape Town has you covered. The fact that its home to so many amazing surfing beaches, ranging from beginner – advanced, means that absolutely EVERYONE can join in on the Cape Town winter surfing fun and games.
Besides surfing, winter in Cape Town is also perfect for other ocean adventures and water sports like kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Indoor & Outdoor Activities
One of the greatest things about visiting Cape Town in winter is that it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the very best of cosy indoor living and epic outdoor adventuring. From visiting a variety of Cape Town’s renowned restaurants, art galleries, museums, theatres and performing art hotspots to hiking, paragliding, surfing, shark cage diving and outdoor exploring – Absolutely nothing is off limits! You truly get to experience the very best of both worlds during Cape Town’s winter season.
Off-Season Deals Galore
Winter in Cape Town is not only accompanied by stunning mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful lush greenery and scenery, incredible Marine Big 5 sightings, and thrilling experiences and adventures, but smaller crowds and far less people too. Although Cape Town’s winter season is typically considered its low season, it is widely known as one of the Mother City’s best kept secrets – and with good reason too! One of the top reasons why is because locals, visitors, and keen travellers can explore all of Cape Town’s most renowned and sought-after landmarks, attractions, and natural wonders all without the large crowds, long queues, and intense traffic – how spectacular is that?
To make things even better, taking a trip to Cape Town in winter means you get way more than you bargained for as you’re able to take advantage of some INCREDIBLE off-season deals. Everything from restaurant specials, great hotel deals, tour operator discounts and unforgettable experiences and once-in-a-lifetime adventures at unbeatable prices – There truly is something for everyone to enjoy during Cape Town’s winter special season!