Destinations Southern Africa

Your Ultimate Guide to Exploring South Africa in December

Cape Town
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

With the winter season in Europe fast approaching, you might be interested in visiting South Africa in December. It is sunny here and combining the weather with the festive season spirit, you’ll definitely have a good time.

From diving with white sharks to spending some time in beautiful wine lands and exploring the numerous national parks, there is plenty to do in South Africa at this time of the year. In this article, we will be covering South Africa in December; so, stay tuned if you’re planning to escape the chilly European winter by visiting this beautiful African nation.

What Is December Known For in South Africa?

December is known for being one of the hottest months in South Africa, with the temperatures reaching 25°C in certain parts of the country. By contrast, December is one of the wettest month in other places, with thunderstorms experienced in Kruger and Johannesburg.

South Africa in December

South Africa. Photo/ Camp Master.

Is December a Good Time to Visit South Africa?

December is a wonderful time to visit South Africa. It is summer time, which means lots of sunshine and clear blue skies everywhere in the country. There are also multitude of events taking place. Below are some of the reasons why we recommend you visit South Africa in December, especially if you are from the Northern Hemisphere:

  •  Christmas on the beach – With lots of sunshine in South Africa, it is a great opportunity to enjoy your Christmas on the beach. It’s time to put on your best swimsuit and head to a picturesque beach to celebrate Christmas in a way you have never done before.
  • Turtle-tracking season – South Africa offers some of the best turtle-viewing in the world, and December is the perfect time to see turtles on the shores. Visit the country’s far northeastern coast to enjoy turtle watching this December.
  • Luxury safari experiences – South Africa is known worldwide for having a great abundance of wild animals and birds. At Phinda and Thanda, you get the rare opportunity to combine a Big Five safari and a beach holiday. iSimangaliso West Park is the place to be if you love watching birds as it is a prime destination with over 500 bird species.
  • Durban Jazz Festival – Another reason why you need to visit South Africa in December is because of the Durban Jazz Festival. Durban jazz is an annual supreme musical experience which takes place on Boxing Day on banks of Hazelmere Dam. The festival brings vibrancy and a variety of genres by celebrating jazz music.

Is Cape Town Nice in December?

Continually voted as one of the top cities in the world, there is no doubting the fact that Cape Town is an ideal destination to visit in South Africa in December. The temperatures here vary between 17°C and a high of 27°C and there is very little rain.

From picturesque mountains to stunning beaches and bottle-green wine valleys, there are a lot of places to explore in Cape Town this month. Water sports are popular at this time and you can enjoy swimming, kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving and kite surfing.

December being a holiday season, there is also lots of events in Cape Town. Cape Town Festival of Beer is one of the events you don’t want to miss, especially if you love your bubbles malted. This decade-old event, which features more than 200 beers from many nations, is finally back after being postponed for four years due to Covid-19. There is also live entertainment plus small food entrepreneurs selling their goods.

Cape Town

Cape Town is one of the top places to visit in South Africa in December. Photo/ Records of Roam.

Is It OK to Go on Safari in December

Safari destinations in Kenya and Tanzania are at their best between January and late March as well as June to October when the climate is mild and dry. However, it is still okay to go on safari in December, thanks to the warm and sunny weather creating ideal travel conditions.

If you visit Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park at this time of the year, you can spot the wildebeest migration, which attracts predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas. These predators follow the herds looking for an opportunity to make a kill. If you are on a safari in Kenya, you can head to Maasai Mara National Park and spot rhinos, elephants, lions and leopards.

A safari in South Africa in December is also possible thanks to destinations like Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands. These parks are home to the Big Five and you can also see antelopes, zebras and other wild animals.

South Africa guide

Safari game drive in South Africa. Photo/ andBeyond.

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About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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