December in South Africa: The Festive Season at its Finest

Christmas South Africa

December in South Africa, we have snowy mountains, warm beaches and grasslands. We have a venue for every taste and a landscape to suit every preference. From one coast to the next, there is scenery to die for, incredible people to meet and amazing cultures to experience.

The scenery is not all this country has to offer, the food is also out of this world. From boerewors to vetkoek, from bobotie to koeksisters, we have some of the tastiest food around! From local shebeens to world-class resorts and comfortable Bed and Breakfasts, there are more than enough places to stay this holiday season.

While we might not have the traditional white Christmas, we can sit back and sip on a cocktail while the kids splash away in the pool. We can throw prawns on the braai or we can head down to the beach for New Year’s day. The December period is one of magic, sun, and fun in South Africa, and it is the perfect time to get to know the beautiful country.

There are different events to take part in this December, places to see, as well as things to watch out for. Be prepared for a great December and it will surely be one to remember.

See also: South African meals to try

December in South Africa – Take Precautions

December in South Africa

Everyone loves the festive season. December is a time for giving and a time for family. Many people however see this as an opportunity to take advantage of others. There are so many scams out on the market. Some come in the form of fancy Christmas presents that you buy online, that don’t actually exist.

Others come from strangers pleading poverty with twenty different stories a day, who are actually con artists. Then there is just normal crime that spikes during the festive season. Everyone wants to have a good December, and some look to theft and scamming to get the money to do so. Keep your eyes peeled and your wallets close. Don’t fall prey to someone who looks innocent, as crime has no face. Check that all online shopping is done from a reputable and secure site, and guard your giving personality.

December in South Africa Weather – A Summer Delight

Our Glorious South African Summer: While the northern hemisphere might be shivering in their boots, December in South Africa is all about soaking up the sun. We’re in the height of summer, which means hot days, warm nights, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Temperatures vary across the country, but you can generally expect temperatures between 25°C and 35°C, with coastal areas offering a refreshing sea breeze to beat the heat.

Beach Days and Braais: South Africans love a good beach day, and with our incredible coastline, who can blame us? December is the perfect time to hit the beach, whether you’re surfing in Muizenberg, sunbathing in Clifton, or exploring the pristine shores of the Garden Route.

See also: Best Beaches in South Africa

And of course, no day at the beach would be complete without a traditional South African braai. From boerewors to lamb chops, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a sizzling meal under the warm South African sun.

Celebrating Festive Traditions in South Africa

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: While we may not have snow or Christmas markets like our European counterparts, we have our own unique ways of celebrating the festive season. In South Africa, Christmas is often celebrated outdoors, with families gathering for picnics, braais, or a lekker lunch in the garden.

You’ll find that we still embrace traditional Christmas decorations and customs, like setting up a Christmas tree and exchanging gifts, but with a distinct South African twist.

In South Africa, Christmas is often celebrated outdoors, with families gathering for picnics, braais, or a lekker lunch in the garden. You’ll find that we still embrace traditional Christmas decorations and customs, like setting up a Christmas tree and exchanging gifts, but with a distinct South African twist.

As the year comes to a close, South Africans take the time to reflect on the past year and look forward to new beginnings. New Year’s Eve is a big deal in South Africa, and you’ll find parties, fireworks displays, and countdown celebrations in cities and towns across the country.

Places To Visit in December Month

Wild Coast

wild coast

The coast of KwaZulu Natal is just magical. A festive season down the Wild Coast would be a welcomed break away from the busy cities, and it will give you a chance to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and visit the cultural life of the Xhosa people.

The river mouths meet the open ocean and cliffs watch over them both. The empty beaches are serene and the sandy bays and rock pools make for great adventuring. It is welcoming, calming, and an amazing place to be to unwind.

Kruger National Park

kruger national park

Tuck away into this beautiful landscape in a luxury Bed and Breakfast or a cozy chalet. Experience South African wildlife first hand and if you are lucky, spot the big 5. The Kruger National Park is one of the best areas in the world to really immerse yourself in the beauty that is Africa. The summer sunsets are a thing of dreams.

The animals roam free like they should and you can even take park in one of the many game drives. Soak in the wisdom of the rangers and learn what there is to know about the African bush.



Have yourself a white Christmas at Tiffendell Ski Resort. The ski resort is the only of its kind in South Africa. It is found on the slopes of the Ben McDhui Peak, near Rhodes in the Eastern Cape. While you won’t be covered in snow at the resort, they do use artificial or man-made snow to cover the slopes in order for some skiing to take place.

Party in Johannesburg

NIghtlife Johannesburg

If you are one for a wild night life and being out on the town, Johannesburg is the place for you. There are pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants for every taste. From casual pubs to high-class clubs.

The nightlife is alive with the life of South Africa and the people are welcoming and always up for a party. There is also always live entertainment to enjoy, from local talent to big name acts, you will be able to find something to keep you busy each night.

Must-Visit December Events in South Africa

Festive Markets to Explore

December in South Africa is a great time to visit festive markets, where you can find unique gifts, sample local cuisine, and enjoy live entertainment.

Some of the top markets to explore include the Kirstenbosch Craft and Food Market in Cape Town, the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market in Johannesburg, and the I Heart Market in Durban. These markets offer a vibrant atmosphere and showcase the best of South African art, crafts, and culinary delights.

Summer Music Festivals to Rock Your World

South Africa has a thriving music scene, and December is prime time for music festivals. Whether you’re into electronic dance music, rock, or jazz, there’s a festival for everyone.

Top events include the Afropunk Festival in Johannesburg, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and the KwaZulu-Natal Music Imbizo. These festivals feature both local and international acts and are guaranteed to get you grooving to the beat.

How to Prepare for Your December Holiday in South Africa

Essential Tips for a Jol in December: To ensure you have the best possible time during your December holiday, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Plan and book your accommodation, car rental, and activities well in advance, as December is peak season for tourism.
  • Pack a mix of light and comfortable clothing, as well as a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Be prepared for occasional thunderstorms, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, by packing a lightweight rain jacket.

Now that you have a taste of what December in South Africa has to offer, it’s time to start planning your festive getaway. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s a world of adventure waiting for you in our beautiful country. So, gather your friends, pack your bags, and get ready for a December holiday you’ll never forget

About the author

Rebecca Brown