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South African Kruger National Park Seasons Travel Information

South Africa’s climate allows for sunny holidays at any time of the year. However, your dress requirements may vary depending on your specific destination, so be prepared!

If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, and certainly in the summer, bring a hat for protection from the rather hot sun. In summer, light cotton clothing is recommended because daytime temperatures generally hover around 25-30 degrees Celsius.

For the short period of January to mid-March, temperatures sometimes reach 35 degrees. During this time, the nights can be equally warm. At the cape, with its Mediterranean climate, there is no rain to cool the air. You may or may not want to bring a wetsuit to swim. There are some topless and nude beaches in South Africa, but generally nudity is still frowned upon.

Inland there is often an afternoon or evening thunderstorm. In fact, the rain can get quite heavy, so a raincoat is recommended. On summer evenings, the heat is usually reduced and only a light jacket is required.

In the winter months (May to October) the sun shines almost every day. The daily temperature ranges from 17 to 22 degrees Celsius. Evenings can be very cold. Temperatures have been known to drop below freezing in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Early morning and late afternoon temperatures are also relatively cool. However, South Africa is not a country where firs are worn. Generally, on most sunny winter days, a pair of trousers and a jersey is all you might need. In the Mediterranean area along the southwestern Cape, winters are wet.

Because winter temperatures do not justify central heating in buildings and homes, European tourists may find winters harsher than South Africans. We are used to the cold around us and just put on more layers if needed. Only in the last couple of years have some houses installed underfloor heating. There is a rather chilly wind in Johannesburg sometimes during the winter and in the Cape in the afternoon, so bring some waterproof clothing.


The first month of the year is characterized by rich vegetation created by the first rains of summer. Grass is usually very long, particularly along riparian vegetation. The larger of the herbivores such as the Kudu, Zebra and Waterbuck give birth at this time, the dense vegetation allowing them to hide their young while browsing nearby. Temperatures can soar into the late thirties, but frequent late afternoon showers bring welcome relief from the heat. The game spreads due to the abundance of water and good grazing.


Considered one of the hottest months of the summer, February is characterized by animals moving only when it is cool enough. We start the games later and often wake up earlier to get away from the terrible rays of the sun. Chances of rain are not as great as in January and the heat is drier this time of year. The general color of the refuge is still green and the vegetation remains dense


The heat eases slightly towards the end of March and chances of rain are less at this time. The young of the different animals born in early summer now have strong legs and are better equipped to escape from predators. The flow of the Sand River is still good and normally the natural basin water is still readily available for livestock.


April brings with it the changes of the year and is often when the very short verdant Autumn takes place. The pan water dries up a bit and most of the animals will start to rely more on the Sand River for their water. Temperatures are quite pleasant, but can vary from very hot during the day to chilly in the evenings. The round leaves of Teak and Combretums are starting to change their colors from green to yellow and brown.


This month is the turning point of the year and is the most decisive in the transformation from summer to winter. The temperature difference between day and night is more pronounced, the evenings require warmer clothing, but the days are usually very pleasant. The ground water is starting to dry up now and the game is starting to concentrate closer to the river. This results in predators moving to favorite water spots in hopeful anticipation of a successful ambush. Deciduous trees are starting to lose their leaves and the bush has a more open feel to it. Visibility improves and one can see further into the bush from the road.


Winter is now upon us. when starting in the morning it is better to “dress to undress”. The temperature will rise by at least ten degrees Celsius from the time you drive out to the time you return. In the evenings you should bring the necessary extra clothes to prevent the temperature from dropping. The flow of the Sand River begins to slow and most of the animals gather around the deeper pools of the river to quench their thirst. Predator sightings are at their best this time of year, the lack of vegetation and established water points make it easy to track and find the big cats.

Cooler days often result in cats moving during the day in search of prey, and many kills have been witnessed in daylight.


In many ways July is similar to June, the only difference is that it is drier and animals like the White Rhino and Cape Buffalo make daily trips to the river to drink. Elephants leave the river bed only at night when it is cooler, spending the day feeding on the remaining lush vegetation.

Towards the end of the month it starts to warm up slightly during the day, but the evenings are still cold.


August is by far the driest of the months, the temperature rises during the day and although the nights are still cool the days are very pleasant. There are many regular visitors to MalaMala who rate August as the best time of the year to come and see the animals. The grass is now a golden to brown color and tends to thin out quite a bit.


September is a month of great contrasts, the bush is still dry but many of the trees are beginning to blossom. the brilliant red of the Weeping Boer-bean, the yellow of the Knobthorn trees, or the combination of white and yellow of the Transvaal Gardenia. It all adds up to a great shower in what is now a very dry month for the bush. The last cold of winter has passed and the days may turn warm again. Viewing continues to be excellent with the lack of water and sparse ground cover.


The bushveld now waits in anticipation of the rain, the days warming up enough to produce thunderstorms in the afternoons. Thunderstorms usually don’t bring much rain, but certainly enough to start the bush’s early growth and flush out a fresh green color. The trees have mostly lost their blossoms and are sprouting new green leaves. satisfying Giraffe, Kudu and other browsers.


The days are now getting warmer and the chances of afternoon showers greater. The general appearance of the bush is now green and the grass is beginning to fall, this will attract grazers such as Zebra, Wildebeest and Buffalo. The flow of the Sand River will also increase and become more stable.

Many migratory birds would arrive to take advantage of the summer conditions, some of them would have come from further north in Africa and others would have flown as far as Europe.

At the end of the month they would see the arrival of the first Impala lambs.


This is indeed a busy time in the reserve as the Impalas calving and Wildebeest calving are in full swing. Predators take full advantage of the abundance of young and the evenings are full of action. The signature Woodland Kingfisher arrives and their trilling joins the melody of the songs as many of the birds begin to build their nests. Welcome storms are followed by insect hatches that birds and mammals take full advantage of.

Long warm days lead to heavy traffic on cooler evenings as the animals seem to take full advantage of this time of abundance.

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