Climate in South Africa
South Africa's climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of the country to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer (November through March), although in the southwest, around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (June to August). Temperatures are influenced by variations in elevation, terrain, and ocean currents.
There is very little difference in average temperatures from south to north, however because the inland plateau rises slightly in the northeast. Maximum temperatures often exceed 32ºC in the summer, and reach 38ºC in some areas of the far north.
Frost occurs in high altitudes during the winter months. The coldest temperatures have been recorded about 250 kilometres northeast of Cape Town, where the average annual minimum temperature is -6.1º C.
Climatic conditions vary noticeably between east and west, largely in response to the warm Agulhas Ocean current and the cold Benguela current, which sweeps northward along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west. Air temperatures in Durban, on the Indian Ocean, average nearly 6º C warmer than temperatures at the same latitude on the Atlantic Ocean coast.
Rainfall varies considerably from west to east. In the northwest, annual rainfall often remains below 200 millimetres. Much of the eastern Highveld receives 500 millimetres to 900 millimetres of rainfall per year; occasionally, rainfall there exceeds 2,000 millimetres.
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