Does it snow in Cape Town? This awesome city is known for its beautiful beaches, mountains, and nice weather that is like the Mediterranean.
But many people ask, “Does it snow in Cape Town, South Africa?”
Does this coastal paradise ever turn into a winter wonderland? And can it snow in Cape Town in certain months? Let’s find out all now.
In Cape Town, South Africa, it hardly ever snows because the temperature does not get too low because of barrier mountains.
More about The Cape Town Climate
Cape Town is in Table Bay on the Atlantic coast. Its southernmost area juts out into the ocean on the mountainous Cape Town Peninsula.
The city enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers running from December to March.
The maximum average temperature is almost 80oF (26oC) with comfortable average 61oF (16oC) lows.
Here is a bit about the average temperature in Cape Town:
|Month||Avg. Temperature (F)|
Fact: The region gets the Berg Wind, which blows uncomfortably hot moving in from mountains far in the interior over the Karoo desert.
Winter starts at the beginning of June and lasts until the end of August. Temperatures fall and cold air masses move in from the Atlantic, bringing rain on strong north-westerlies.
The average maximum is 83oF with a chilly minimum of 46oF, although record temperatures are below zero.
Although Cape Town as a coastal city experiences significant winter rainfall, inland South Africa is dry during the winter, with little or no precipitation.
Here is a bit about the average maximum and minimum temperatures in Cape Town:
|Month||Avg Max (F)||Avg Min (F)|
Does it Snow in Cape Town, South Africa?
Yes, it snows but in the wider Cape Town area, in a region called the Western Cape away from the coastal residential hubs.
The region includes the nearby foothills and mountain ranges. Some of the higher peaks are regularly dusted and snowcapped.
Most winters snow falls somewhere around Cape Town or at least on the Western Cape, only an hour or two from the city.
How Much Does It Snow in Cape Town?
Although the region does get significant snowfall, even at altitude, significant snowfalls don’t occur yearly.
Statistically, Cape Town only gets snow every other year.
The event is rarer and quite fleeting at ground level, consisting of nothing more than a dusting or a flurry that melts fast.
Fact: In most cases, snow in Cape Town, South Africa does not accumulate to the 0.01in needed for official recording.
Where to Find Snow in Cape Town?
The peak of Matroosberg mountain at just over 7,300 ft gets snow regularly.
Occasionally, the falls are so heavy that snow lies for some time on its southern flanks, but light dustings on its peak are typical.
Matroosberg is east of Ceres, another mountain area that regularly gets snow. Not that snow is rare in the higher altitudes of the Western Cape.
Anytime from June through to the end of August in could snow in:
- Koue Bokkeveld
- De Dooms
Historical Snowfalls in Cape Town
In June 2017, snow fell over much of the Western Cape. It was so widespread it fell on the East and North Capes, too.
Significant falls continued throughout the region into August and November in the mountains.
Light flurries began appearing on the high passes in late March, and by the end of April, many of the higher locations in the ranges had snow.
Another Historical Snow Event to Consider
In 2018, snow fell closer to ground level. The 5 day snow event dumped significant amounts in the Western Cape and South Africa.
There was snow at ground level around Uniondale in the Grafft-Reinet regions of the East Cape, where the incredibly hot Karoo desert is located.
The Recent Snowfall Event
There was snow in the Cape Town area overnight in early September 2022.
Although it made almost 4 inches (10cm) in the mountains, less than an inch fell at ground level.
Fact: In July 2023, temperatures plummeted, and Johannesburg, 17 hours away, saw its first snow in a decade.
What is Winter like in Cape Town, South Africa?
Winters in Cape Town are cold, wet, and windy once the cold Atlantic air masses move in.
However, the winter weather can be compared to Amsterdam or London on spring.
|Winter in Cape Townaverages||June||July||August|
|av. windspeeds||per hour||13km/8.1mi||14/8.6mi||15km/9.3mi|
Variations in Cape Town Climate
Cape Town’s topography and proximity to the ocean make the region unique by creating several micro-climates, each with its own local weather conditions.
They are influenced as much by the nearby ocean waters as they are by the mountain ranges, but typical local conditions vary across the short distance of the city.
For instance, temperatures can differ by as much as 50oF (10oC) as locations on the coast feel the benefit of the cooling sea breezes.
Fact: Winters are different in other parts of South Africa, as nights get cold but the winter days are dry, bright and sunny.
Why Is Snowfall So Rare in Cape Town, South Africa?
Will it snow in Cape Town? Well, it is hard to answer because many factors contribute to keeping the snowfall at its minimum in Cape Town.
The Impact of Humidity
In South Africa, any significant snowfall is a rare weather event and as in Johannesburg, there can be decades between snowfalls.
The 2010 and 2023 events were triggered by sudden sharp increases in the area’s humidity. It is usually very low.
Cape Town in the Western Cape has an inexhaustible supply of water.
Its humidity lingers in the mid-70 % range year-round, but the region lacks the cold temperatures needed to form snow at ground level.
Warm Ocean Currents
Cape Town itself has a long, rugged coastline, and two major ocean currents run alongside it. Each of these influences the local weather at different times of the year.
The Agulhas Current
The Indian Ocean’s Agulhas Current is a warm, exceptionally fast-moving current traveling south.
Beginning in a gyre off Madagascar, it influences global and local Cape Town weather.
It meanders inshore and offshore from the warm tropics down the east coast of Africa, bringing summer rains to the coastal regions.
The Benguela Current
The Benguela is a cold north-traveling current. It takes it chill from the icy Southern Ocean.
In cold temperatures, very little water vapor evaporates, so clouds do not form above it.
It brings lower winter temperatures but no precipitation, either rain or snow.
The Effect of Barrier Mountains
Behind Cape Town stand the near vertical cliff faces of Table Mountain with Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head on either side.
Together with another 70 peaks over 980ft, they shelter the Cape Town region from weather extremes.
Table Mountain often has a cloud tablecloth when its flat plateau top gets covered by clouds as strong southwesterly wind is forced up its slopes into colder air.
Sometimes, the cloud gets heavy enough to rain, but its arrival always freshens the atmosphere and adds moisture to the air in Cape Town.
Does it snow in Cape Town? It can snow in Cape Town, but it is extremely rare, and sometimes, there are decades between such weather events in the city.
The winter season is never too cold, but it does rain in the area.
Therefore, it is important to consider when to plan your trip to Cape Town to make it as memorable and enjoyable as possible.