The Climate of the Western Cape Province

The Cape Town area of the Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate. Inland and coastal temperatures usually differ as the mild, dry and very sunny summers warm the coast with temperature lows of 15 degrees and highs averaging 27 degrees, and inland temperatures are often 3 – 5 degrees higher than the coastal areas. Winter along the coast is chilly but hardly ever drops below 7 degrees and the midday highs see temperatures of 18 degrees. As mentioned before, the inland temperatures are higher, but inland residents can find themselves waking up to 5 degrees and warming to a perfect 22.

March and April, are the most idyllic months to visit the Western Cape area. Summer has started to subside, and although still sunny, the heat is pleasant and the wind dies down to a subtle breeze. Signifying the start of autumn, these weather conditions bring with it a spectacular change in the vegetation and vineyards. A sea of browns, orange and warm reds blanket the earth, giving the visitor breathtaking inland and coastal views.

Western Cape winters are spread across the months May to July, and even the chill in the air cannot hide the beautiful scenes of snow capped mountain tops, or take away the enjoyment of sitting in front of a warm log fire. With spring arriving in August and lasting to October, the land again transforms, but becomes one massive bouquet of flowers.

Even though the Western Cape climate is mostly pleasant, the famous “Cape Doctor” does take pride in battering the coast every now and then. At intervals, the wind forcefully sweeps across the landscape, clearing the air from pollution, and therefore the name “Cape Doctor” was given to these winds. They have been known to literally sweep locals and visitors off their feet!

And last but not least, is the beautiful “table cloth” that drapes over Table Mountain, and is a spectacular sight. The south easterly winds (Cape Doctor), that moves in from False Bay and up over Table Mountain, is filled with moisture. When this warm air meets the colder air at approximately 900 meters, a thick cloud starts to form that covers and rolls down the other side of the mountain. On the down hill slope towards the city bowl, the air again reaches the warmer temperatures, the cloud starts to disappear. This is of course the meteorological explanation for this amazing phenomenon. Legend says that the clouds were formed by a smoking competition. It is said that after a life on the ocean, a pirate named Van Hunks retired to the slopes of Devil’s Peak in the 18th century. Devil’s Peak is the mountain next to Table Mountain. Van Hunks was known to pass his days by sitting on the mountain and smoking his pipe. A smoking competition that lasted for days started when Van Hunks was approached by a stranger. After Van Hunks won the competition, the stranger revealed himself to be the Devil, after which they both disappeared into a puff of smoke.

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