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Southern Sky Adventures: Weather

Southern Africa and East Africa offer some common weather despite the long distances traveled between the two areas.

East Africa hovers on or near the equator and thus offers more stable weather. The beaches of Kenya, Tanzania and northern Mozambique are enjoyable year round and there is little need to alter plans based on the temperature. East Africa has two dry seasons – December to about March and then again from June – October – with rainy seasons in between. Do keep in mind that the rainy seasons often only produce rain for short bursts and do not have to be avoided.

As the traveler continues inland in East Africa, the topography begins to rise up through the Rift Valley at such a rate that Nairobi sits at an altitude of 5,500 feet or more than a mile high. As a comparison, Denver also boasts an altitude of a mile high yet Nairobi has no snow but instead enjoys mild winters and warm summers with little to no humidity. Uganda and Rwanda offer yet cooler weather as these countries are home to the Mountain Gorilla found in the higher hills of these two countries.

In southern Africa the weather is dry through most all the area in winter (with the exception of the south coast of South Africa). Summers are warm and a bit more humid than those of East Africa but the humidity levels are still not close to those of the East coast of the US. Spring and fall are long with the climate in South Africa being more closely related to that of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana are home to warmer summers than those of East Africa. The Namibian dry landscape is home to hot and dry summers but very enjoyable winter temperatures.

Like East Africa, southern Africa’s interior begins a slow rise in elevation such that Johannesburg sits at almost 6,000 feet above sea level. Like Nairobi, it boasts mild winters and pleasant warm summers. This escarpment continues through the center up through Zimbabwe and Zambia where their capital cities, Harare and Lusaka, rest at almost 5,000 and a bit more than 4,000 feet, respectively, above sea level.

Weather in the islands is somewhat consistent as Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zanzibar rest in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The more popular time to visit is during the southern hemisphere winter but the islands can be enjoyed year round.

Current weather in Africa

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