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Posted on: Friday, 30 August 2013
What to Wear in South Africa

What to wear in the Eastern Cape – the Ultimate Packing List

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The Eastern Cape is known for having one of the most temperate climates in the world. This makes it a fabulous destination all year round, and also one that is fairly diverse in terms of what to pack. Amongst other things, this province is also known for having “four seasons in one day”, particularly along the coast. Therefore, whenever one chooses to visit the Eastern Cape, the layering of clothing is always a good idea. If you are planning a visit to the Eastern Cape, read on for what to wear in the Eastern Cape – The Ultimate Packing List!

The coastal areas of the province enjoy a climate that is similar to the Mediterranean. Winters are cool (averaging between eight degrees in the early morning and about 20 degrees at noon), while summers are hot, usually working their way from a comfortable 17 or 18 degrees in the morning to about 28 to 32 degrees by midday. The Eastern Cape summers are significantly more humid than the Western Cape, particularly along the coast, where moisture comes right off the Indian Ocean.

The inland regions of this province are, generally, drier with more extreme temperatures. Summers can become extremely hot and dry, especially in places like the Karoo and the Baviaans, where mountains lock in the heat. In these areas, winters sometimes bring snowfall to the mountains, making them a lot colder than the coastal towns.

Port Elizabeth is known as the Windy City. However, while the wind comes up consistently around noon of almost every day, it is not strong.

The beaches of the Eastern Cape (particularly Port Elizabeth, East London and parts of the Wild Coast) are magnificent. So, always come prepared to spend plenty of time on the warm white sands and the comfortably cool waters of the Indian Ocean.

What to wear in the Eastern Cape

What to Pack:
Summer (December to March):

Summers are hot and humid with plenty of sunshine. December is the windiest month of all. Light, cotton clothing that is cool and breathable is usually best. In South Africa, protecting your skin from the sun is of utmost importance.

  • Shorts (4)
  • Light skirts and strappy summer dresses (1)
  • Long pants and long-sleeved tops in a light cotton (3)
  • T-shirts made from breathable fabrics
  • Swimming costumes
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring, walking and hiking
  • A wide hat that shields the face and neck from the sun (5)
  • Sandals (7)
  • A high-factor sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Winter (June to August):

Winters are cool, but often fairly sunny. Rain is not consistent, but may come down heavily for a day or two.

  • Jeans, cargo pants, corduroy pants, and similar
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Warm tops made from fleece or wool (6)
  • A hat and scarf (2)
  • A raincoat
  • Warm boots
  • Comfortable, waterproof walking shoes

Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May):

These months are, generally, quite comfortable and pleasant. Mornings are chilly, but the days usually warm up to pleasant highs in the early 20’s.

  • A wrap that can be thrown over the shoulders
  • Jeans (full length and three-quarter would be best)
  • Lightweight trousers, skirts and dresses
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes for walking or hiking

Planning your trip to the Eastern Cape

We’ve selected a few pages that might be useful for planning your holiday to the Eastern Cape.

Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.