One of the hottest months of the year, February is similar to January nationwide. Temperatures average 79°F (26°C) in Cape Town, while Kruger and the Kalahari can average a toasty 90°F (32°C). Although Cape Town and Western Cape province bask in sunshine and rarely see rain in February, by contrast this is one of the wettest months in Kruger and Durban, with their dramatic summer thunderstorms.
Crowds & Costs
Although not as busy as the early January festive peak season, February is still a very popular month and gets booked up, so make your reservations early. The crowds of January have abated along the Garden Route, and in Cape Town you can expect shorter lines than in January at key museums and other sights. Prices are also still at a peak. The exception to this is Northern Cape, where the high temperatures keep tourism to a minimum.
Where to Go
While rain has settled in across much of the north, Cape Town is as dry as a local chardonnay and infused with a sunny festive cheer, while the entire Western Cape basks in a glorious Mediterranean climate. This is the connoisseur’s month-of-choice for summer in Cape Town, whether for shopping the V&A Waterfront or sampling the white-sand beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. Inland, the cooler slopes of Table Mountain draw visitors to the sprawling estates of the Constantia Wine Route for under-the-oak-tree picnics with chilled local wines.
For sun, sand, and sea lovers, February is a good month for a beach holiday, although the coast of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban can be blazingly hot and humid. For keen birders, the rainy season fills up the rivers and lakes of the north, drawing insects and migratory birds from Europe and Asia. And for photographers, the dramatic afternoon thunderstorms of the northern game parks create superb backdrops for landscapes, while many bird species are at their most colorful thanks to breeding plumage. The winter rains of Kruger and the northern parks mean that animals are dispersed away from waterholes, and the foliage is dense—spotting wildlife is more challenging. But it’s also feast time for predators, as this is calving season for antelope species.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
In Cape Town, take advantage of the endlessly sunny days to explore the outdoor markets, hike Table Mountain, or work on your tan at one of the sensational Cape Peninsula beaches. Top off your lazy summer day by sampling the city’s vibrant nightlife, or maybe a ‘Summer Sunset’ music concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.
The influx of warm ocean currents draws tiger sharks, which in February begin to congregate in the waters of the Protea Banks—a reef off the KwaZulu coast renowned as one of the world’s premier shark-diving venues. And another of nature’s spectacles begins to unfolds at iSimangiliso Wetland Park, where leatherback turtles crawl ashore to lay their eggs in the sands along the KwaZulu-Natal coast. Take an estuary boat tour to view crocodiles and hippos wallowing in iSimangiliso’s coastal lagoons.
Events in February
Cape Town Art Fair. For art-lovers and collectors, this mid-February event at the International Convention Center displays a tremendous collection of contemporary art, both South African and around the world. Gallery Night throws open gallery doors city-wide.
Design Indaba Festival. In late February, the insatiably curious should check-out this expo, where world-class innovators give presentations and performances of ground-breaking technologies at Cape Town’s Artscape Theater.
Franchhoek Summer Wine Festival. Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards hosts this summer favorite, where oenophiles can celebrate seasonal wines in style. Several of the region’s vignerons showcase wines to best match the summer weather, plus gourmet food and live music add to the merriment.
Traveling to South Africa in February? Check out these great itineraries
Food & Culture in Cape Town – 6 Days. Sample the best of Cape Town’s fabulous dining scene, plus the lush Winelands of Western Cape.
South Africa Self-Drive Tour – 11 Days. Independent travel at its best, as you explore Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park, Franschhoek Winelands, and Gondwana Private Game Reserve, or any of the other game reserves of Western Cape.