When to go
The countries we feature are year-round destinations, but this information should help you ascertain the best time to travel, considering the activities and regions that are of interest.
The High Season for all our destinations correspond with the UK winter months (generally from October to March). However, you may also see some price rises during the European school holidays which fall outside this period.
This means that for families, the UK Summer holidays can be priced very competitively.
The dramatically changing topography across South Africa means that different weather patterns are experienced in different regions.
North West Safari & Sun City
In most high inland areas of the country, Summer is characterised by high temperatures of around 30 degrees celcius during the day. This region also sees the highest rainfall at this time of year, generally falling in short periods of heavy precipitation.
Winter is characterised by warm, sunny days, with temperatures rising to the early/mid 20 degrees celcius, but the clear skies bring cold temperatures at night, often only a few degrees over zero.
Cape Town, Winelands and Garden Route
The Western Cape has Seasons similar to the Mediterranean. Summer sees temperatures reaching the high 20 degrees celcius range. Rainfall is at its lowest for the year in Cape Town, although the Garden Route can see a higher share of its annual precipitation. Please note that Cape Town is also famous for its winds which generally don’t clear until later in the Summer!
Winter can see some lovely sunny days, but it is better to anticipate temperatures in the late teens and some rainy days, especially in the Cape Town region.
Temperatures in Winter (July to September) are still pleasantly warm, generally in the early 20 degrees celcius range, although it is wise to anticipate windier weather on the Ocean-facing East Coast, especially when staying at hotels not protected in a bay.
Rainfall is higher in the Summer (January to March) when temperatures can also be very hot, in the early 30 degrees celcius range. However, children’s clubs and rooms are generally air-conditioned.
The Seychelles Islands
The proximity of The Seychelles Islands to the equator allows visitors to experience year-round warmth with averages between 24-30°C. The tropical climate is influenced primarily by trade-winds. May to September, when the southeast trade-winds blow is a relatively dry period with the heaviest rainfall seen during November to March.
Oman & Dubai
Sunny blue skys can be expecetd most of the year with infrequent rainfall during the Winter (October to March) which sees average temperatures of 26° C. During the Summer however, temperatures regularly rise to over 40° C but swimming pools are chilled to ensure a refreshing dip can be enjoyed!
Morocco & Tunisia
North Africa is in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore rain should fall between December and March, but this area has seen some drought over the last five or 6 years. The ideal time to visit is Spring and Autumn, with balmy, pleasant temperatures in the 20 – 30° C ranges. However, Summer is a lovely time to visit the coastal area of Essaouria and the Mountains in Morocco and the cooling breeze off Djerba means this is a popular time to still visit this Tunisian desert island. Winter is also a fun time to consider a long weekend of shopping and eating in Marrakech and Tunis!
The best time of year for seeing wildlife on safari is during the South African Winter months. There is less vegetation, making game viewing easier. From August through to mid-October, especially in the North West Province when this represents the end of the dry season, animals tend to congregate around major water holes, making them ideal viewing areas.
The beautiful coastline also offers a wonderful opportunity to see an enormous range of Marine life. Dolphins, seals and penguins live in the waters year round but whales are only seen during certain migration seasons. The Southern Right Whales can be seen towards the end of June and stay along the Cape coast until October/early November, whilst the Humpback Whales arrive and leave a little later. If you are feeling brave, the best time of year to see the Great White Sharks is July/August and the famous Sardine Run, occurs in late June or early July.
The turtle nesting season in Oman takes place in the late Summer (July to October) with hatching occuring a couple of months later.
Divers often want to witness the magnificent Manta Rays – the best time to see them is between June to the end of October.
Cultural Performances & Entertainment
- Kirstenbosch music evenings. Every Sunday evening from January – March, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town hosts musical performances, when families are welcome to bring children for a picnic on the green lawns.
- The Spier Summer Festival at the family friendly Spier Village in Stellenbosch, also hosts various musical, dance, drama and comedy performances from December – March in a special amphitheatre.
- The Guinness Jazz Festival takes place every September in Johannesburg, with both local and international musicians.
- The Grahamstown National Arts festival takes place in early July, bringing two weeks of local and international drama, film, dance, visual arts and music.
- The Whale Festival takes place during the last week in September in Hermanus, Walker Bay. Although the main act remains to be the whales, there is an abundance of entertainment, arts and crafts and children’s activities.
- Dubai Shopping Festival takes place at various venues within the city, generally January to February. www.mydsf.ae
- Dubai International Jazz Festival entertains visitors at Dubai Media City in late February/early March. www.dubaijazzfest.com
- The Million Dollar Challenge is an internationally renowned golfing event with 12 of the world’s best golfers which takes place in December in Sun City.
- The 35-mile long Two Oceans Marathon, around the Cape Peninsula, takes place at Easter and is a qualifier for the Comrades’ Marathon, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in June.
- The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place by the Knysna lagoon in early July and is combined with the Forest Marathon and Mountain and Cycle Racing.
- The Dubai World Cup, the World’s richest horserace takes place at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai in late March. www.dubaiworldcup.com
- PGA Dubai Desert Classic is an annual professional golf tournament usually played in February or March at the Emirates Golf Club as part of the European tour schedule. www.dubaidesertclassic.com