Weather and climate conditions in Sounth Africa

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Weather and climate conditions in Sounth Africa

A subtropical location, moderated by ocean on three sides of the country and the altitude of the interior plateau, account for the warm temperate conditions so typical of South Africa and so popular with its foreign visitors. South Africa is famous for its sunshine. It's a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of about 464mm (compared to a world average of about 860mm). While the Western Cape gets most of its rainfall in winter, the rest of the country is generally a summer-rainfall region.

At the same time, temperatures in South Africa tend to be lower than in other countries at similar latitutes - such as Australia - due mainly to greater elevation above sea level. On the interior plateau the altitude - Johannesburg lies at 1 694 metres - keeps the average summer temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius. In winter, for the same reason, night-time Temperatures can drop to freezing point, in some places lower.

South Africa's coastal regions are therefore warmest in winter. But there's a striking contrast between temperatures on either side of the country, due to the warm Agulhas Current that sweeps the east coast, and the cold Benguela, fresh from Antarctica, that runs up the west coast. Being in the southern hemisphere, our seasons stand in opposition to those of Europe and North America, so, yes - we spend Christmas on the beach.

Summer ever much of South Africa, summer (mid-October to mid-February) is characterised by hot, runny weather - often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly, leaving a warm, earthy, niquely African smell in the air. The Western Cape, with its Mediterranean climate, is the exception, getting its rain in winter. Autumn utumn (fall) in South Africa (mid-February to April) offers in some ways the best weather. Every little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot, getting colder as the season progresses.

In Cape Town, autumn is fantastic, with hot sunny days and warm, balmy nights which many people spend at outdoor cafés. Winter inter in South Africa (May to July) is characterised in the higher-lying areas of the interior plateau by dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights. So it's a good idea to bring warm clothes. The hot, humid KwaZulu-Natal coast, as well as the Lowveld (lower-lying areas) of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, offer fantastic winter weather with sunny, warmish days and virtually to wind or rain.


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