Average Weather in Cape Town South Africa
In Cape Town, the summers are warm, dry, and mostly clear; the winters are long, cool, wet, and partly cloudy; and it is windy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 48°F to 76°F and is rarely below 41°F or above 84°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Cape Town for warm-weather activities is from late November to late March.
The warm season lasts for 3.6 months, from December 7 to March 26, with an average daily high temperature above 74°F. The hottest day of the year is January 27, with an average high of 76°F and low of 63°F.
The cool season lasts for 3.7 months, from May 27 to September 17, with an average daily high temperature below 65°F. The coldest day of the year is July 10, with an average low of 48°F and high of 62°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
In Cape Town, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Cape Town begins around November 24 and lasts for 4.2 months, ending around March 30. On February 10, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 89% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 11% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around March 30 and lasts for 7.8 months, ending around November 24. On May 18, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 44% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 56% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Cape Town varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 5.4 months, from April 17 to September 29, with a greater than 16% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 27% on June 14.
The drier season lasts 6.6 months, from September 29 to April 17. The smallest chance of a wet day is 4% on February 11.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 27% on June 14.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Cape Town experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 8.8 months, from March 8 to December 3, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around June 24, with an average total accumulation of 3.0 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 3.2 months, from December 3 to March 8. The least rain falls around February 20, with an average total accumulation of 0.4 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
The length of the day in Cape Town varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2020, the shortest day is June 20, with 9 hours, 54 minutes of daylight; the longest day is December 21, with 14 hours, 25 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 5:27 AM on December 5, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 24 minutes later at 7:52 AM on July 1. The earliest sunset is at 5:43 PM on June 11, and the latest sunset is 2 hours, 17 minutes later at 8:01 PM on January 8.
Daylight saving time (DST) is not observed in Cape Town during 2020.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Cape Town, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, staying within 4% of 4% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Cape Town experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 5.3 months, from October 8 to March 17, with average wind speeds of more than 12.2 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is January 22, with an average hourly wind speed of 13.9 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 6.7 months, from March 17 to October 8. The calmest day of the year is May 2, with an average hourly wind speed of 10.5 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Cape Town varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the north for 2.9 months, from May 12 to August 9, with a peak percentage of 35% on June 26. The wind is most often from the west for 2.6 weeks, from August 9 to August 27, with a peak percentage of 31% on August 26. The wind is most often from the south for 8.5 months, from August 27 to May 12, with a peak percentage of 65% on January 1.
Cape Town is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average water temperature experiences some seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The time of year with warmer water lasts for 2.5 months, from December 24 to March 8, with an average temperature above 65°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is February 4, with an average temperature of 66°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 4.7 months, from June 5 to October 26, with an average temperature below 60°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is August 3, with an average temperature of 59°F.
Average Water Temperature
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Cape Town throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Cape Town for general outdoor tourist activities is from late November to late March, with a peak score in the second week of February.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Cape Town for hot-weather activities is from early January to late February, with a peak score in the last week of January.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
Temperatures in Cape Town are sufficiently warm year round that it is not entirely meaningful to discuss the growing season in these terms. We nevertheless include the chart below as an illustration of the distribution of temperatures experienced throughout the year.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.5 months, from November 6 to February 20, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 7.4 kWh. The brightest day of the year is January 3, with an average of 8.7 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.7 months, from April 28 to August 19, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 3.7 kWh. The darkest day of the year is June 23, with an average of 2.5 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Cape Town are -33.926 deg latitude, 18.423 deg longitude, and 82 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Cape Town contains large variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 2,405 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 318 feet. Within 10 miles contains large variations in elevation (3,596 feet). Within 50 miles also contains extreme variations in elevation (6,568 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Cape Town is covered by artificial surfaces (69%) and shrubs (20%), within 10 miles by water (46%) and artificial surfaces (39%), and within 50 miles by water (62%) and cropland (22%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Cape Town, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 2 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Cape Town.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Cape Town according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Cape Town is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Cape Town and a given station.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.