When Is The Best Time To Visit The Garden Route, South Africa?

Wondering when the best time to visit the Garden Route is?
Here’s the quick answer: any time.
The Garden Route has a wonderfully mild climate and so many activities that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Whether you want to visit one of the best Garden Route safaris, explore the beaches, do some Garden Route adventure activities, or just relax in a quiet scenic town, you can enjoy these things throughout the year.
However, some months are a lot better than others for certain experiences. We’ll break this down into a detailed monthly guide below.
Garden Route
Canoeing in South Africa.

Best Time to Visit Garden Route: A Month-by-Month Guide

To help you understand the best time to visit the Garden Route in more detail, let's break down what it’s like in this region throughout the year.

January

January marks the height of summer on the Garden Route, with warm temperatures and an average high of around 25-30°C (77-86°F).
This month is perfect for beachgoers as the coastal towns come alive with energy. Plettenberg Bay and Knysna, in particular, host various festive events, creating a lively atmosphere.
If you decide to visit during January, make sure that you book your accommodation well in advance due to the popularity of the peak tourist season.

February

Similar to January, February continues the warm and sunny weather on the Garden Route.
The coastal scenes are still vibrant, and activities like hiking and exploring the diverse landscapes are enjoyable in the sunny weather.
However, you will start to see a slight dip in crowds as people return to school and work - making February a great month for those wanting a slightly slower-paced Garden Route experience.
Hiking on the Garden Route
It's always a great time to hike in South Africa!

March

March marks the transition to autumn, bringing milder temperatures. This is when the Garden Route sees a big decrease in crowds, offering a more relaxed travel experience.
March is an excellent time for hiking and discovering the region's natural beauty without the summer rush. Accommodation will be more readily available compared to the previous months.

April

You’ll start to see the autumn foliage grace the Garden Route in April, creating a scenic landscape. Average temperatures are still mild, ranging from 18-24°C (64-75°F).
The weather remains pleasant, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities. The quieter atmosphere offers a great opportunity to enjoy the diverse natural landscapes without the summer crowds. This can be a particularly appealing time for nature enthusiasts.
Garden Route
A scenic walk through Tsitsikamma National Park.

May

May continues the autumn charm with comfortable temperatures. However, it does start to get colder now.
You still shouldn't be stopped from doing any outdoor activities or enjoying the beaches in May, but be prepared that it won't be the same kind of sunny paradise that summer offers.

June

Winter arrives in June, bringing cooler temperatures, especially in the evenings.
June is an excellent time for whale watching as southern right whales begin migrating, providing a unique and memorable experience for visitors. It’s also a great time for surfing, as the waves are best during the winter months, and having the warmer Indian ocean along the garden route means that the water is not unbearable!
Garden Route
There are some spots near the Garden Route where you can go whale watching.

July

July continues the winter weather with mild daytime temperatures around 13-18°C (55-64°F). Winter in South Africa tends to be dryer than the Summer, so if you're looking to escape rainy weather then this is still a great season to visit!
With fewer tourists, the Garden Route offers a quieter and more intimate experience. The towns are much quieter during July, which can be a drawcard for those seeking a more peaceful trip.

Pro tip from a local: Visiting South Africa off-season (in the winter) will often mean that you stumble upon better deals and less competition for great spots! From restaurants to accommodation, you'll have first pick of the best deals, while enjoying what feels like a UK summer!

August

August is still very much wintery, although it rarely gets extremely cold around here.
Wildlife is still active, and the landscapes remain lush and green. This month provides a quieter, off-peak experience, making it a good choice for those seeking a more tranquil getaway.
Garden Route
Famous African penguins of South Africa!

September

Spring arrives in September, bringing blooming flowers and vibrant colours to the Garden Route. Temperatures start warming up and you can enjoy a very pleasant, mild climate.
This is an excellent time for outdoor activities, with the region's diverse flora coming to life. Birdwatching is a definite highlight, as is hiking through the spring landscapes.

October

Late spring in October offers pleasant weather, plenty of sun, and an atmosphere that’s still quiet and slow-paced.
This month is perfect for exploring the diverse landscapes and coastal towns before the peak summer season, providing an ideal balance between good weather and manageable crowds.

Pro tip from a local: Visiting in late spring gives you access to all the awesome things to do in the Garden Route, while avoiding the crowds of summer (and end-of-year) holiday-goers!

Garden Route
A beautiful cove in Tsitsikamma National Park.

November

November is when the summer season starts picking up. The Garden Route starts to come alive during November, with the streets getting busier and the beaches getting more crowded.
Coastal towns and attractions aren’t at their peak tourist levels yet, so you can still enjoy a relatively quiet holiday here in November.

December

Summer officially starts in December, bringing warm temperatures and longer days to the Garden Route.
Average highs range from 22-28°C (72-82°F). This is the peak tourist season, with plenty of activities, festivals, and events taking place. You’ll see more businesses popping up over the summer, accommodations will be full, and all the quiet towns will be busy.
Although busy, this is also the best time to visit the Garden Route for anyone seeking a more social, action-packed holiday. If you know about some of the Garden Route's hidden gems, then you can always find a bit of peace and quiet during this busy month.
Pixabay cape town road
Beautiful mountain-side passes are one of the many things that make the Garden Route special.

Conclusion

So, the best time to visit the Garden Route just depends on what you plan to do, what weather you prefer, and what level of crowds you’re comfortable with.
Summer is traditionally the best month to visit, but you can easily have an amazing time on the Garden Route throughout the year. That’s why Skyhook offers a fully immersive experience of the beautiful Garden Route year-round - and if you want to make sure you don't miss a thing, you should book with us!

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