Average Weather in Mthatha South Africa
In Mthatha, the summers are warm and wet; the winters are short, cool, and dry; and it is mostly clear year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 42°F to 80°F and is rarely below 36°F or above 91°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Mthatha for warm-weather activities is from late November to late May.
The warm season lasts for 3.2 months, from December 22 to March 28, with an average daily high temperature above 78°F. The hottest day of the year is February 15, with an average high of 80°F and low of 63°F.
The cool season lasts for 2.2 months, from June 2 to August 9, with an average daily high temperature below 71°F. The coldest day of the year is July 2, with an average low of 42°F and high of 68°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 Mthatha, 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 Mthatha begins around December 14 and lasts for 8.7 months, ending around September 5. On July 16, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 79% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 21% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around September 5 and lasts for 3.3 months, ending around December 14. On October 22, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 45% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 55% 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 Mthatha varies significantly throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 6.1 months, from October 6 to April 9, with a greater than 29% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 51% on February 26.
The drier season lasts 5.9 months, from April 9 to October 6. The smallest chance of a wet day is 7% on July 1.
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 51% on February 26.
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. Mthatha experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
Rain falls throughout the year in Mthatha. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around February 16, with an average total accumulation of 4.4 inches.
The least rain falls around June 25, with an average total accumulation of 0.8 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
The length of the day in Mthatha varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2021, the shortest day is June 21, with 10 hours, 5 minutes of daylight; the longest day is December 21, with 14 hours, 13 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 4:52 AM on December 4, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 13 minutes later at 7:05 AM on July 1. The earliest sunset is at 5:08 PM on June 10, and the latest sunset is 2 hours, 6 minutes later at 7:14 PM on January 8.
Daylight saving time (DST) is not observed in Mthatha during 2021.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight
The figure below presents a compact representation of key lunar data for 2021. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the colored areas indicate when the moon is above the horizon. The vertical gray bars (new Moons) and blue bars (full Moons) indicate key Moon phases.
Moon Rise, Set & Phases
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.
Mthatha experiences significant seasonal variation in the perceived humidity.
The muggier period of the year lasts for 3.7 months, from December 6 to March 27, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 8% of the time. The muggiest day of the year is February 15, with muggy conditions 30% of the time.
The least muggy day of the year is July 16, when muggy conditions are essentially unheard of.
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 Mthatha experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 8.2 months, from May 26 to February 5, with average wind speeds of more than 8.5 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is October 25, with an average hourly wind speed of 9.6 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 3.7 months, from February 5 to May 26. The calmest day of the year is April 4, with an average hourly wind speed of 7.4 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Mthatha varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the west for 5.1 months, from April 10 to September 13, with a peak percentage of 56% on June 21. The wind is most often from the south for 2.7 weeks, from September 13 to October 2, with a peak percentage of 32% on October 1. The wind is most often from the east for 6.3 months, from October 2 to April 10, with a peak percentage of 45% on January 1.
Mthatha 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 3.2 months, from January 11 to April 16, with an average temperature above 77°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is February 23, with an average temperature of 78°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 3.8 months, from July 3 to October 28, with an average temperature below 72°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is August 20, with an average temperature of 70°F.
Average Water Temperature
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Mthatha 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 Mthatha for general outdoor tourist activities is from late November to late May, with a peak score in the third week of March.
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 Mthatha for hot-weather activities is from mid January to mid March, with a peak score in the third week of February.
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 Mthatha 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 significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.4 months, from November 6 to February 18, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 6.8 kWh. The brightest day of the year is December 26, with an average of 7.7 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.2 months, from May 2 to August 10, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 4.1 kWh. The darkest day of the year is June 19, with an average of 3.2 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Mthatha are -31.589 deg latitude, 28.784 deg longitude, and 2,277 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Mthatha contains significant variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 518 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 2,321 feet. Within 10 miles contains significant variations in elevation (2,231 feet). Within 50 miles contains large variations in elevation (6,713 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Mthatha is covered by artificial surfaces (68%) and bare soil (24%), within 10 miles by bare soil (36%) and grassland (33%), and within 50 miles by grassland (41%) and bare soil (21%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Mthatha, 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 is only a single weather station, Mthatha Airport, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of Mthatha.
At a distance of 11 kilometers from Mthatha, closer than our threshold of 150 kilometers, this station is deemed sufficiently nearby to be relied upon as our primary source for temperature and dew point records.
The station records are corrected for the elevation difference between the station and Mthatha according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
Please note that the station records themselves may additionally have been back-filled using other nearby stations or the MERRA-2 reanalysis.
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 airports 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.