South Africa Table Mountain

The Great Karoo semi-desert climate,
an adventure in itself

Generally the Great Karoo is an exposed, windy region, hot in summer and cold in winter. Droughts are the rule, good seasons the exception.

Temperatures can peak to minus 5°C in winter and 43°C in summer.

Experiencing the unforgiving desert elements of the Karoo weather is an adventure in itself.

The San people called it "Karoo". In their language that means land of great thirst, vast, arid, unforgiving and yet so awesome and dazzlingly beautiful.

The vast central high-plateau of South Africa that we call the Karoo and which includes the Karoo National Park, is surrounded by the mighty mountain chains of the escarpment.



The unforgiving desert elements are clearly evident in this Karoo National Park landscape - The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa
The unforgiving desert elements are clearly evident in this Karoo Nature Reserve landscape
The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa

The rain, brought by the humid sea winds, comes down over the weather side of the mountain slopes. The lee side stays basically dry and therefore the endless grassland of the Karoo gets less then 400mm of rain annually, which falls mainly in summer. The winter months are almost completely dry.

Great Karoo landscape and a much needed shower of rain in the distance - The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa
The Karoo landscape and a much needed shower of rain in the distance
The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa

The rainfall gets even less towards the north-west. In the upper Karoo it rains on average less than 200mm per year, which makes it an arid, semi-desert zone (meaning that precipitation is less than the rate of evaporation).

Lonely windmill in the Great Karoo pumping up precious water from underground - The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa
Lonely windmill in the Karoo pumping up precious water from underground
The Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

In the Karoo National Park itself, temperatures in summer are usually bearable due to the altitude of 1200m above sea level, although the thermometer reading can sometimes go over 35 degrees Celsius.

It is to the north-west, in the direction of the Kalahari basin, that temperatures get higher due to the lower elevation. Snow is often recorded on the mountains in winter and in summer the normally dry rivers can become rapidly raging torrents for very short periods.

Typical Karoo landscape in the National Botanical Gardens at Worcester - The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa
Typical Karoo landscape in the National Botanical Gardens at Worcester
The Great Karoo Climate, Karoo National Park South Africa
Photograph by Chris Eason

The Searchable and interactive weather indicator below delivers weather condition, temperature, pressure, and wind information of the weather station at town of Beaufort West, which is only 10km away from the Karoo National Park.

It tells the time, changes colours depending on weather severity (the blue bar turns red to indicate importance), and allows you to instantly click over to detailed forecast information, radar images, and travel information.

Should the weather conditions being reported in this indicator show severe weather or weather warnings, the blue bar the top becomes red to draw attention. To top it all off, there's a search box that will let you jump to any location of your choosing.









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