What is the Best Month to Travel to South Africa?

Over the years, I've answered many questions about expat life in South Africa. "I want to come visit; what is the best time of year?" is the most frequently asked question by many prospective travelers. I'm always tempted to say, it doesn't matter. There really isn't a bad time to visit South Africa. But there are some factors to consider before you plan your trip.


Natural Disaster

You know one wonderful quality South Africa has that often gets lost amidst the collective angst about crime?

It is a country almost entirely devoid of natural disasters.

Note that I said “almost,” before you start trembling with indignation about my demeaning your disastrous-ness in any ... 


When it Turns Cold in Joburg

It’s that time of year again in Joburg. Whining time. And I’m glad to say it’s not just us expats who whine incessantly for two months. No, it is the Joburgers themselves who seem to suffer from collective amnesia every year, when predictably at the beginning of June it turns freezing cold and everyone is shocked how this is possible. I guess we can be forgiven when you consider that the weather is beautiful and warm, nonstop, the other ten months of the year. I swear to you I packed the mosquito nets away less than two weeks ago. It was summer, and now it’s winter. And it will be summer again by September. As my fellow blogger 2Summers so eloquently observed, it is not actually the biting cold that’s the problem during a Joburg winter. After all, it only goes down to about freezing or a few degrees below during the night, and warms up to 15 or even 20 degrees Celsius most days. Not bad, most of my overseas friends will say, particularly those in Wisconsin. The problem with a Joburg winter is the lack of heat. From around 5:00 in the afternoon until 7:30 in the morning.
My new best friend these days.

You guys in Wisconsin, you know those autumn afternoons when the wind is howling outside and you are sitting in your cozy easy chair in shorts, surrounded by a cloud of central heating bliss? Well, here in Joburg, the wind is howling both outside AND inside the house ... 


A Winter’s Day. In Summer.

If you’re holding out for a good winter storm and icy roads here in Johannesburg, you’ll have to wait until summer. Yep, the weather is kind of weird. Although still mostly very beautiful.

This was the scene in our yard last week, the beginning of February:

Looks like any good February day ... 


Two Weeks of Spring

In one of my earlier posts I berated collective Joburg for amnesia about the fact that winters here are cold, so that every year you have to deal with a shortage of things to keep you warm. But now I understand why.

About three weeks ago I was still faithfully cranking up the gas heater every morning ... 


Expat Joys – The Sun

giraffe before setting sun

I’m not sure of the official tally, but from our experience the sun shines about 359 days a year in Johannesburg. It’s definitely one of my greatest joys as an expat here. Even – and especially – in winter, when I’m shivering through the nights, the sun can always be ...