Weather in Africa

The seasons and weather in Africa vary from north to south as the continent straddles the Equator, extending almost equally in each direction. Africa’s climate is just as variable, ranging from desert to jungle, subtropical coastal bushland to mountains.

The climate of Northern Africa is dominated by the Sahara desert, which is noted for extreme temperature changes from hot days to near-freezing nights. Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia are a holidaymakers paradise in spring and autumn, but are too hot for many in July and August. The coastal areas enjoy a more Mediterranean climate, with steady temperatures ranging 73-84°F (23-29°C). The rainy season in Northern Africa runs from September to May, and rainfall is usually heavy and brief.

In Central Africa, the climate is more consistent, with hot weather year-round. Though areas like the Congo stay at around 80% humidity, summers are slightly drier and winters in Central Africa (July and August) are when the rainy season takes place. Further east, the savannahs in Kenya enjoy ideal weather all year long.

Southern Africa’s weather varies more than its northern neighbours, with considerable changes in temperature throughout the year. Winters in South Africa (June to August) are cold and rainy, with harsh wind. Average temperatures range 37-68°F (3-20°C), although this also varies according to city, for example the winters in Cape Town can be cold and windy, while in Durban they are mild and balmy. Sudden temperature changes are common. Winter in Botswana is the best time for a safari holiday, as the temperatures are warm and there is little to no rain. Summer is warmer, but the intense rains add to the humidity, so its better to come in the cooler months. The weather in Namibia is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, with hot and dry conditions year-round and temperatures dipping nearly to freezing at night in winter. Rain falls exclusively in the summer. Mozambique is a popular destination for South Africans, as well as many European visitors, a great spot for game fishing and beach holidays.

Because of their small size, the weather in the Seychelles and Madagascar varies considerably. Summers (November to April) are hot and wet, while winters (May to October) are cooler and have less rain, though the islands tend to stay hot and humid year-round. Monsoon season in the Indian Ocean is in April and May. The best time to visit the Seychelles is October and November, when the water temperature can reach 84°F (29°C).

For detailed information on weather in Africa see our comprehensive month-by-month guides below.