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With close to 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, the warm climate in South Africa is likely to be a welcome adjustment for expats from colder countries. In fact, the pleasant weather in South Africa is one of the main reasons holidaymakers and expats are drawn to the country every year.
The best times of the year are arguably the brief transitional seasons. Autumn, reddening the trees from March to May, and spring, lasting from September to late November, offer pleasant temperatures with little rain in most of the country. These mild seasons are in contrast to summer in South Africa, when temperatures of over 86°F (30°C) are common and can soar up to 104°F (40°C) in some of the country's hotter areas.
Each region has its own distinct character, however, with its own average temperatures and rainfall. The warmest areas in winter are around the coast. That said, KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast and the Western Cape maintain different climates and are influenced by the two oceans on opposite sides of the country. The Atlantic brings a Mediterranean climate to Cape Town and surrounds, while the Indian Ocean's warmer current creates a more tropical climate in Durban.
In summer, the interior of the country, which sits at a higher altitude, is not quite as humid as Durban but generally has more rainfall than South Africa's coastal regions, with landlocked cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria enjoying frequent afternoon thunderstorms.
Expats are likely to enjoy the South African climate, although they may want to purchase fans and heaters – many houses don't have central heating or air conditioning.
►For city-specific climate info, see Weather in Cape Town and Weather in Johannesburg
"Honestly, if you had to come up with the perfect climate, you would design something close to what we have here. Hot (but not too hot) summers, and a few months of dry cool (but very sunny) winters. I don’t think many places on Earth have more days of sunshine per year."
Read more about American expat Sine's experiences living in Johannesburg.
Are you an expat living in South Africa?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to South Africa. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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