South Africa in
July

July is one of the most popular months to visit Africa because of the dry weather and mild temperature that the continent experiences, and the majority of South Africa is no exception to this. Whether you’re exploring one of the country’s exciting cities, cruising along the coast or enjoying a safari, there are countless things to see and do during a holiday to South Africa in July.

Reasons to visit South Africa in July

South Africa Coast
  • July is the best time of the year to go on a safari in South Africa, as many of the animals will be congregated around watering holes and therefore easy to spot
  • The majority of the country is experiencing its dry season in July, so you’ll likely have good weather for your holiday
  • The biggest horse racing event in all of Africa happens in South Africa in July, which is a real highlight for any fans of the sport

Weather in South Africa in July

Penguin in Cape Town

South Africa is known as a year round destination, and the country experiences quite dramatically different weather in July depending on where you are visiting. Places on the west coast like Cape Town are likely to be quite wet between June and October, whereas the rest of the country will be wonderfully dry and sunny in July. 

Temperature

Average temperatures vary quite a lot depending on which part of South Africa you are visiting, with the colder, coastal areas like Cape Town seeing highs of around 18°C whilst temperatures in the rest of the country sometimes reach the high twenties during the day. At night temperatures everywhere drop quite dramatically, and you’re unlikely to experience anything over 10°C wherever you are.

Clouds and Rainfall

Most parts of South Africa will experience hardly any rain and clear skies for the majority of July, with only a small chance of a shower during your visit. However, July falls in the wet season on the Western Cape of the island, and there are up to twelve days of rain during the month, with a high chance of overcast weather. 

Sunshine Hours

July is one of the sunniest months of the year in a lot of South Africa, with around 12 hours of daylight a day that is mostly bright sunshine. The Western Cape is once again an exception to this, but is still light for the majority of the day. 

Where to go in South Africa in July

The Garden Route

July is a popular time to visit South Africa and consequently many parts of the country can be quite busy. A solution to escaping crowds of holidaymakers and enjoying some of the country’s natural beauty is to visit the Garden Route; a beautiful piece of coastline that stretches between the East and Western Cape of the country. 

You can stay in one of the many picturesque spots along the coast of the Garden Trail, or you can follow the popular route along the 200km of coast and enjoy a road trip like no other. Temperatures will be mild and usually wet overnight the whole of July, but you’ll get to explore the area under your own steam and watch the wonderful scenery go by, stopping wherever you choose in towns, forests or on beaches. 

Robben Island

Robben Island is located in Table Bay near to Cape Town on the coast of South Africa, and is a fascinating historic location that also has an excellent range of wildlife. There are boat trips from Cape Town to Robben Island that include a tour of the popular museum, or you can explore the island yourself and take in the dramatic scenery and variety of flora and fauna.

The island has quite a dark past, having been used as a prison, a mental hospital and a military base. The whole place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the wealth of history that the island has seen, and is now seen as a symbol of triumph of freedom over oppression. It’s a great place to visit if you’re a history fan, just remember to bring a waterproof in case of bad weather!

Things to do in South Africa in July

Wine Valley

Visit Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s best wildlife reserves, particularly because it is one of the easiest national parks that you can drive yourself around in for a personalised safari experience. Covering over 20,000 square kilometres, it’s a stunning part of the country that is a must-see for anyone wanting to see classic African wildlife and scenery.

Whilst you can visit Kruger National Park simply for a day trip, its large size means that there are a variety of different accommodation options available if you want to spend more time surrounded by the landscape and the creatures that live there. With a range of different options, just holidays and safari tours, it’s the best place to visit in the country if you’ve hoping to spot one of Africa’s big five, with July being the perfect time to see as many different species as possible. 

Go Whale Watching 

Whale watching season begins in July in South Africa, and the Western Cape of the country is the best place to partake in this activity. Although the weather can be a bit damp and cold, it’s worth it for the chance to spot one of the magnificent creatures as they come close to the shore. 

Plettenberg Bay and Hermanus are two of the best spots in the country to go if you are planning on whale watching in South Africa in July. You’ll benefit from having a camera and pair of binoculars with you if you’re watching from the shore, or there are a number of boat tours that take place across the season that offer you a better chance of spotting whales from the water. 

Crowds & costs

Many people come to South Africa on their summer holidays, and so popular areas such as Cape Town and Johannesburg are likely to be very busy throughout the month. The Kruger National Park also books up quickly in July with many families taking part in organised safaris, so make sure you secure accommodation here well in advance if you are looking to visit. Booking in advance wherever you go is advised however, as prices will be high for flights and hotels.

July festivals & events

Jumping Whale

Durban July 

One of the most highly anticipated events in all of Africa is the Durban July, a very popular horse race that takes place at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban. The race has been held on the first Saturday of July every year since 1897, and tends to bring massive crowds from across the continent and inspires a huge amount of excitement in South Africa.

The event has not only become an important date in the county’s sporting calendar however, as it has also become a major fashion and entertainment. Tickets are available early on in the year, or you can get swept up in the excitement of the event and watch it on television whilst you are in South Africa.

Franschhoek Bastille Festival

Over the Bastille weekend in July the Franschhoek Wine Valley in South Africa celebrates its French-Huguenot heritage with a huge food and drink festival. It’s one of the most important gastronomic events of the year in the country, and is an absolute feast for all of the senses.

Franschhoek is a town on the Western Cape of South Africa, and was inhabited by French settlers in the 17th and 18th century. Bastille Day and the nearest weekend are celebrated every year with this food and wine festival that also features a great range of entertainment, offering a really unique cultural experience of the country. 

Cape Town

Frequently asked questions about South Africa in July

What is the best time of year to go on safari in South Africa?

The dry, winter months that take place between May and September are the best time of the year to visit South Africa for a safari. Animals will be more concentrated around watering holes which gives you a much better chance of spotting a range of species, and the weather is generally warm and dry so you can spend lots of time outdoors. 

Is South Africa expensive to visit?

South Africa can be expensive to visit if you are staying in one of its more touristy areas such as Cape Town or Johanasburg, or if you are taking part in an organised safari. If you are looking for a budget holiday then explore your options in the quieter and more rural parts of the country, and remember that July is peak tourist season so prices everywhere will be higher than usual. 

Summary

Don’t be put off by the unpredictable nature of the weather in South Africa in July; the range of tourist attractions across the country certainly make up for the slight risk of rain wherever you travel. It’s an ideal place for a family holiday or for travellers to explore on their own, and you’ll get to see a wide range of African scenery and wildlife as you travel, offering a really diverse holiday experience. 

Want to find out more about the top destinations in Africa to visit in July? Read our guides to Tanzania and Namibia, or take a look at our rundown of Where to Go in July.

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