South Africa's climatic conditions usually range from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of South Africa to temperate in the interior upland, and subtropical in the northeast. A small region in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has humid, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall usually occurs during summer (November through March), although out in the southwest, around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (June to August). Temperatures are influenced by variations in altitude, terrain, and ocean currents more than latitude.
Temperature and rainfall patterns vary in response to the movement of a high pressure belt that circles the globe between 25º and 30º south latitude during the winter and low-pressure systems that take place during summer. There is very little distinction in average temperatures from south to north, however, in part because the inland plateau rises vaguely in the northeast. Maximum temperatures often exceed 32ºC in the summer, and reach 38ºC in some areas of the far north. The country's highest recorded temperatures, close to 48ºC, have transpired in both the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga. Frost occurs in high altitudes all through 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.