Spring in South Africa
Did you know?
The Addo Elephant National Park has the world’s largest breeding colony of African penguins.
September is the beginning of spring in South Africa. There’s excitement in the air as nature starts turning green, blossoms appear on trees, insects come alive and days get warmer.
Spring in the Western Cape and Northern Cape is hard to beat. The Cape Floral Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising 8 protected areas, has 8 500 plant species, 70% of which occur nowhere else in the world.
During spring, from September to mid-October, the dry semi-arid regions of the Northern Cape come alive with millions of flowers that carpet the landscape. Many South Africans flock to Namaqualand at this time of year to see the Namaqualand daisies.
Spring in South Africa is also when you’ll find the southern right whales frolicking in the waters off our coastline. Hermanus is a favourite whale watching spot this time of year, and its annual Hermanus Whale Festival - which attracted 130 000 visitors last year and is the only enviro-arts festival in South Africa - is held to celebrate the annnual return of the whales.
Spring is also the time of the popular flower shows in the Cape and the shows in Caledon, Darling, and Clanwilliam.
For those who enjoy hiking, the South African spring season is the ideal time when temperatures are not too hot, and there’s not too much rainfall.
There are many reasons to visit De Hoop Nature Reserve on the southern Cape Coast near Bredasdorp. One is that it is a nursery for southern right whales. The other is De Hoop Vlei, a Ramsar wetland and birders’ paradise. Thousands of Cape shovellers, and greater and lesser flamingoes, pelicans, and yellow-billed duck are among the 260 bird species that migrate here at this time of the year.
Spring is also the perfect time to visit the Lowveld National Botanical Garden in Mpumalanga, near the Kruger National Park. Located just outside Nelspruit, the garden has more than 600 plant species growing naturally and another 2 000 species being cultivated. It also has one of the biggest collections of cycads in Africa.
Although a year-round destination, the Addo Elephant National Park is great to visit in spring or autumn when it’s not too hot or too cold. Home to the Big 7 (buffalo, lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, great white sharks and southern right whales), its elephant population has swelled to 450 today.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Hermanus Whale Festival
Tel: +27 (0)28 313 0928
Northern Cape Tourism Authority
Tel: +27(0)53 832 2657/2643
Cape Town Routes Unlimited
Tel: +27 (0)21 426 5639
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency
Tel: +27 (0)13 759 5300/01