If summer in Cape Town is for swimming, sundowners, and soaking up the sun, then winter is for red wine, crackling fireplaces, and roasted marshmallows. You probably prefer one or the other, but we’re here to make a case for why Cape Town is better between the months of May and August.
No Crowds at Iconic Attractions
Cape Town is renowned for its prominent attractions like the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, V&A Waterfront, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens to name but a few. The great news is that winter is regarded as low season, which means fewer tourists, less traffic, no long queues, and little chance of someone photo-bombing your selfie.
Get a Cape Town City Pass for discounts on all the top attractions in town
Off-Season Special Deals and Offers
In winter you get way more bang for your buck as many hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and attractions discount their rates heavily during the off-season. Take advantage of a winter special and stay somewhere out of town for a few nights or treat yourself to a special restaurant meal you would only dream of in summer.
Milder, cool weather
Don’t be worried about the weather during this time! The city enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with daytime temperatures averaging a maximum of 18-20ºC (64-68ºF) during winter and spring. The absence of the scorching Africa sun also allows for outdoor activities like hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and when it does rain, well, what better excuse to go to some of the City’s amazing restaurants surrounded by beautiful and spectacular views of Table Mountain?
It’s the Green Season
You don’t need to put on your Polaroid sunglasses to see the mountains, grass, and fields transform to bright green during winter seasons. World-renowned for its splendour, Cape Town’s flora truly comes alive after the first rainfall with Table Mountain and surrounding Cape mountain ranges at their best. It is the ideal time to grab your camera, put on your hiking boots and go view the many waterfalls and streams visible on the mountain slopes, natural forests, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and parks in and around the city.
Choose a Table Mountain hiking route
Adventure Sport Heaven
Ask any surfer and they will tell you that the bigger waves, wind conditions, and warmer sea temperatures are the perfect combinations for all sorts of surfing along the coast in winter. Don’t wait until summer to take up kite-surfing, May to August is the best time to give it a try. The airstreams can also be more favourable for paragliding, and you might just get to stay up there for longer.
Hot chocolate mania
Cape Town loves its ice cream all year round, but in winter a type of hot chocolate fever strikes the city. Honest Chocolate is the perfect place for getting your rich dark chocolate fix, while Moro Gelato will provide you with a thick Italian cup of goodness. Conditions are also perfect for a turmeric or matcha latte or red cappuccino. If you prefer tea, then there’s luckily a whole tea scene in Cape Town for you to explore.
Cosy Feasting Experiences
During winter locals just love crawling out of their homes to go to their favourite eatery or to try out new spots on weekends. You can choose from hundreds of restaurants offering comforting eating experiences, many with cosy fireplaces, atmospheric views, and special winter deals. A perfect way to spend a cooler winter’s day is to explore the variety of bustling indoor markets in and around the city, like the City Bowl Market or the Bay Harbour Market, or do a food and wine pairing at one of the world-class wine estates.
July to September is the peak calving season for whales, which means you are guaranteed many opportunities to spot the worlds’ biggest mammal, either from up close in a boat or from the coastline. Take a drive along the False Bay Coast with Simon’s Town being a whale watching hub, or visit Hermanus, the whale capital of the world for your best chance of spotting these beautiful sea giants.
Read our guide to whale-watching in and around Cape Town
Time to Relax and Rejuvenate
One of Cape Town’s best luxury experiences is visiting our world-class spa’s, and winter is the ideal season to take a day off from the rush to refresh and renew your body and mind in an indulgent environment. Spoil yourself with some proper R&R to ensure you feel and look revived, just in time for the new season. We’d recommend trying one of the 11 unique spa experiences we’ve found for something extra special.
Flower Season Beauty
Travellers from around the world annually come to the Cape in August and September to witness a natural spectacle when millions of beautiful wildflowers start blooming for spring. A mere hour’s drive from the city will place you in the middle of the West Coast National Park, boasting a colourful carpet of white, orange, and yellow.
For events happening during this time, check out our Events Calendar.
Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights and browse accommodation now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.
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