In the world of South African weather, Cape Town is often too cool and wet, Durban is often too hot and humid, and Johannesburg—at 5,700 feet above sea level on the inland plateau of Highveld—is often just right, with sunny days and balmy evenings. Sure, it bakes on some summer days (think 95 degrees), but the scalding temperatures are often broken by brisk breezes and booming thunderstorms—which make the summer months of November, December, and January the rainiest of the year. In fact, some claim that Johannesburg is the most lightning-struck city on earth.
Winters can get pretty chilly, with frost in the mornings, though it’s only snowed here about a half-dozen times. Come August, the winds can get strong enough to blow a yellow haze down from the surrounding mines.
If you’re worried about finding an event to catch while you’re in town, don’t be. Thanks to Joburg’s size and diversity, there’s something for everyone, anytime. The FNB Dance Umbrella (February–March) showcases up-and-coming choreographers over a three-week stretch. The Joburg Art Fair (September) is one of the continent’s biggest expos of African art, photography, and furniture, and the same month brings Arts Alive—with poetry, dance, art, and internationally known pop and rap musicians—to some of the biggest stadiums in the city. The Joy of Jazz (August) features some 200 musicians, many of whom play at the clubs of the hip Newtown neighborhood. And the world’s second-biggest timed bicycle race—with 30,000 participants—rolls out on the third Sunday of November, rain or shine.