What to wear in South Africa
What shall we wear on safari in South Africa?’ is one of our most frequent questions. So what safari clothes are right for South Africa (and our other safari destinations) and how does this differ by season?
The majority of the safari areas in South Africa enjoy a lot of sunshine during both summer and winter.
In the Kruger National Park summer temperatures (November – February) often reach 35°C (95F) during the heat of the day and in winter (May – August) daytime temperatures go up to 26°C (78.8F).
Nightime summer temperatures rarely dip below 16°C (60.8F) but in winter cold snaps can reach below 0°C (32F).
Rainfall is normally during the summer and is often in the form of thundershowers which are fast and furious affairs, drenching the ground with a torrent of water but dissapearing soon after to leave sunshine weather in its place again.
With these weather conditions in mind, your South african clothing requirements are also greatly influenced by the activities you are going to be taking part in.
If you are going on a safari trip you will need to specialise a little and it’s pretty easy to pack the wrong thing.
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Spring
The ‘shoulder months’ of Spring and Autumn in South Africa are always a tricky one as far as packing is concerned. Temperatures may vary wildly within an average two week holiday period. You never know when Winter will change to Spring or Spring to Summer…
Spring-like weather starts in late August. This happens later in Cape Town and along the Garden Route, but there is no guarantee of this.
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Summer
Summer in South Africa is generally hot to very hot. Although you’ll experience the occasional cooler day in and around Cape Town and the Garden Route.
In the northern provinces of KwaZulu Natal and Kruger, or hotter areas like the Cedarberg or Northern Cape, the day time temperatures will often be in the high 30’s (95°F and higher). So bring plenty of hot weather clothing.
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Autumn
Again Autumn is a tricky one to call as far as packing is concerned. Bring plenty of hot weather clothing – especially if you are spending time in the Kruger, KwaZulu Natal, Botswana, Zambia or Zimbabwe – but also be ready for temperatures to change quite suddenly.
Night time temperatures will start getting noticeably cooler so have a warmer jacket for the evenings. If you are spending some time on safari, be prepared for a sudden downturn in temperature once the sun has set. It’s not uncommon to start a game drive at 4.00pm feeling hot & sticky and end it three hours later feeling on the cold side. You may feel vaguely silly bringing hats and warm jackets to the game vehicle when it’s so hot, but you won’t regret it late
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Winter
During winter, you will need to pack a range of clothing as the South African winter varies in intensity from province to province.
However it’s the diurnal range in winter which usually flummoxes visitors. A South African can say that it’s 25°C (77°F) during the day but he won’t say that the day could have started at 5°C (41°F)! In fact it’s the warm sunny days which produce the sudden downturn in temperatures in the evening as there is no cloud cover. If you are on safari in June or July, you will need to come fully prepared with hats, gloves, scarfs – the lot.