Winter often gets a bad rap in Cape Town. Many people imagine blustery, cold weather and rain-filled days. However, that’s not the case! While the colder season differs from the classic Cape Town summer days, winter comes with its own unique charm.
Think cosy coffee shops, scenic wine farms and striking natural scenery…without the crowds and with affordable deals! Winter is actually a great time to visit the Mother City and its surrounds. Better yet, winter in Cape Town is mild in comparison to destinations in Europe, the UK and even other major cities in South Africa. This is thanks to the city’s mild Mediterranean climate with maximum temperatures average between 18-20ºC. Cape Town gets to show off a different side of itself in the cooler season. Take a look below to see dk villas top reasons to book a vacation to Cape Town in winter.
7 Reasons to love winter in Cape Town:
1. It’s quieter
The summer season brings hot days and A LOT of people - with great reason, as summertime in Cape Town is wonderful! However, if you are after fewer crowds and a quieter getaway, you’ll love Cape Town in the winter. Major attractions like Table Mountain, Cape Point, the V&A Waterfront and Camps Bay are less crowded, while there are often still enough people around to enjoy a fun atmosphere (no “ghost town” vibes here!)
This offers a much calmer environment for sightseeing in general. Be sure to check the opening times for popular attractions before visiting as these often vary by season. It’s also good to note that popular places like the Table Mountain Cable Car may close for renovations during midwinter - however this only lasts a few weeks and you can plan your visit accordingly - or enjoy a hike!
2. The natural scenery is still magnificent in winter!
The natural scenery is one of the major reasons people from all over the world flock to Cape
Town and its surrounding areas. From the rugged beauty of Cape Point and impressive views of Table Mountain, to the picturesque vineyards of the Cape Winelands and magnificent coastline vistas - little else compares to this region’s natural beauty!
For example, a wintertime visit to a place like Cape Point offers a different perspective of this top South African travel destination. We are often treated to sunshine-filled winter days here, however, the cooler winter weather does provide a striking experience of nature… think moody scenes of crashing ocean waves, rugged cliff-faces, and skies filled with dramatic, tumbling clouds.
Winter is also a top time for photographers to enjoy Cape Town! More on that below.
3. It’s more affordable
Winter in Cape Town is the low season for tourism. This means, you’ll be able to find great seasonal deals on accommodation, experiences, restaurants and more. Keep an eye out on your favourite spot’s social media channels for great specials! Hint - dk villas has great autumn and winter deals available!
4. It is prime whale watching season
Whale Watching season in the Western Cape takes place from June - November each year. At this time of year, you can look forward to spotting pods of Southern Right whales on their annual migration. The magnificent creatures arrive along the coast of the Western Cape to calve and nurse their young. Us land-dwellers on the shore are treated to the chance to view the whales breaching and spouting in the ocean waters during their visits.
The best places to go whale watching include Hermanus (a 90-minute drive from the city centre), Cape Agulhas (also reachable as a day trip from Cape Town) and the West Coast which is home to numerous small towns which offer perfect city breaks. Closer to town, the best place for a chance to see the whales is False Bay. Be sure to find a high vantage point for the best chance, alternatively, keep your eyes on the ocean when travelling between places like Muizenberg and Simon’s Town. Sometimes, you’ll even spot the odd whale swimming through the waters of the V&A harbour! It is handy to note that whale activity usually reaches its peak during September.
Winter is also a prime time for shark cage diving. Cape Town’s most well-known shark cage diving destination is Gaansbaai and there is heightened shark activity between May and September.
5. Great weather for hiking and exploring
Keen on exploring nature minus the scorching heat and buckets of sweat? Winter is your time to shine! Visit Cape Town in winter and you’ll notice the scenery looking lush. This is because winter is the green season. Winter rainfall transforms the outdoors, allowing the local flora to regrow and thrive as spring approaches. The famous flower season is just around the corner after all!
The cooler weather is a great time to explore the outdoors on walks and hikes. The temperatures are mild, the sun usually still shines and it is all round a pleasant time to explore outside. Popular hiking trails are also quieter at this time. It’s also the time of year when you don’t have to wake up too early to be able to complete a sunrise hike! Catch the sunrise from the top of Lion’s Head from around 7 - 7.30 (easier for the non-early risers than trying to scrabble to the top before 6am!) Be sure to check the forecast and pack adequate weather protection before you head off on any outdoor adventures!
6. It’s a great time to visit the Cape Winelands
The Cape Winelands are a popular destination throughout the year. While summer days are fantastic, winter brings a unique charm to the winelands! The temperature in the Cape Winelands does get much colder than in the city, especially at night and during the early mornings.
Wine estates and eateries in towns such as Franschhoek and Stellenbosch embrace the cosy feel of winter-time. You’ll find roaring fireplaces, hearty food and full-bodied glasses of red wine to keep the winter chill at bay!
Just because the weather may be colder, it doesn’t mean fun slows down in the Cape Winelands! Take a look at the exciting winter wine festivals taking place here in 2022 and warm up with these winter activities in the winelands!
7. There are a number of cosy destinations
Destinations across the winelands, city centre and surrounding suburbs embrace the cosiness of winter. This season is the perfect time to check out the quaint and cosy cafes, coffee shops and restaurants dotted around your favourite Cape Town neighbourhoods! Sip decadent hot chocolate at Honest Chocolate in the city centre, warm up with a cuppa’ at Truth Coffee also in town, treat yourself to a meal at one of the city’s fine dining spots, and stroll among the stalls at the indoor Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay and Mojo Market in Sea Point where you can try local fare.
Bonus: The sunsets are incredible!
Now, don’t get us wrong, watching a sunset in Cape Town at any time of year is a wonderful experience. However, in winter, we are treated to some truly breathtaking sunsets! The skies fill with oranges, reds and golds while the clouds can transform dusk into a spectacular show. The sun sets earlier in winter so be sure to time your viewing correctly!
Get ready to embrace the cooler weather and explore everything Cape Town and its surrounding areas have to offer in winter - there’s no better way to stay warm in the colder season!