Joburg Expat: Johannesburg Climate

September 10, 2010

Johannesburg Climate

I don't know about you, but whenever we're moving someplace, the first thing I'm checking out is the weather. Yes, education is important, so I researched a lot of schooling options, and yes, you don't want to die either, so in the case of South Africa I researched safety as well (though if you google "crime South Africa" you would never move here if you believed all those horror stories floating around the Internet). But honestly, what I really care about is the weather. And let me tell you, we have not been disappointed!

Johannesburg in spring: New weaver bird nests are being built
I could relegate you with tons of information, climate charts galore, but you don't really need them. Johannesburg has fabulous weather. If you were able to special order your dream weather from a menu, it would turn out very close to what Joburg has to offer. The combination of a subtropical latitude (like, say, Jacksonville, FL) with a high altitude (like Denver) in a semi-arid zone works out very well for most of us, except perhaps if you're a farmer.

When we arrived here in March, it was technically already fall, but it was beautiful summer weather with a few thunderstorms here and there. The rain completely stopped in May, and then it was winter in June and July and maybe a week or so in August. Winter, here in Joburg, means more beautiful days with temperatures around 20C (60s and 70s) but cold nights all the way down to freezing (it's nice to have a house with underfloor heating), and not a drop of rain or even a cloud in the sky. The kids had to wear jackets to school in the morning but by noon they'd shed everything which made for a lot of lost uniform items and trips to McCullagh & Bothwell. And then, somewhere in the middle of August, it became summer again. Everything is blooming and greening and it looks like spring (can you imagine, a winter and a spring completely without rain?). Temperatures are back up to 28C (low to mid 80s) and our pool is starting to get used again. It still hasn't rained, and is not likely to do so, I'm told, until maybe October. There is absolutely no humidity and the nights are generally cool, even throughout summer, so you don't need any air conditioning.

We haven't experienced real summer yet, but from what I'm told it resembles a tropical climate, with half-hour thunderstorms but otherwise sunny skies every day. So, in summary, Johannesburg really only offers you two seasons: A wet season from October through March, and a dry season from April through September with two months of cooler weather in June and July. Or, if you will, ten months of summer and two months of winter, all of which are sunny. The only downside I can detect is that the lack of humidity makes for pretty cold pool water, and not many houses come equipped with solar panels. Obtaining a quote for the installation of that is the very next item on my list. I'll tell you what I find out!

3 comments :

Mats.Blomberg said...

Hi Sine.
Nice that U R back. Then we could with great pleasure follow UR blog again.
I'm in the final arrangement of visiting Joburg on Pre-visit with my family.
I hope we could get in touch on mail, coz I have thousands of question to ask about life with family in Dainfern and South Africa. I'm on KKalle71@Yahoo.com

Sine said...

Hi Mats - I'm thrilled if I can be of help to someone actually moving here! I'll contact you via email so you can ask all your questions.

W. A. Jeffrey said...

Great post! As to the solar panels, I've seen quite a few on houses in the Bryanston part of Sandton. But maybe they were not as common 5 years ago.