Wind blown wave with Port Elizabeth harbour in the background.

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Port Elizabeth - Climate

Port Elizabeth has been voted as having one of the best climates in the world, due to its pleasant conditions all year round. With an elevation of 60 metres above sea level, Port Elizabeth is located along the extensive South African coastline, and has the warm waters of the Indian Ocean lapping at its shores. As such, its climate is classified as being sub-tropical.

A sub-tropical climate is hot and slightly humid, but not quite as dramatically so as a tropical zone. Winters are generally cool to cold, but never present snow or frost. In Port Elizabeth, rainfall occurs all year round, but is slightly heavier and more frequent during the winter months.

The seasons occur as follows:

  • December to February – summer
  • March to May – autumn
  • June to August – winter
  • September to November – spring

Winters present an average low temperature of about 8 to 14 degrees Celsius and daytime highs of approximately 18 degrees. Summertime highs can soar to 35 degrees Celsius, while night times are warm, at an average 22 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature ever recorded in Port Elizabeth was just less than 41 degrees, while the lowest temperature dropped to a below-freezing -0.5 degrees Celsius.

August is the rainiest, wettest time of the year and January is generally the driest. Rainfall can become so heavy that the streets, valleys and residential areas of Port Elizabeth become completely flooded, endangering lives and destroying property. However, a much larger threat continues to be the unplanned fires that rage through the landscape in the dry heat of summer. These are responsible for the large-scale loss of property, animals and even people.

The temperate, pleasant nature of the Port Elizabeth climate makes this a fabulous tourist destination and home. The weather is almost always suitable for a range of watersports and other outdoor activities.

Of course, Port Elizabeth is also known as the “Windy City”. However, this refers mainly to the frequency of the wind, rather than to its force. So, every day at about lunchtime, a breeze or light wind will begin to blow, cooling the air. Strong, gale-force winds do occur, mainly in summer, but are not frequent occurrences.

Port Elizabeth Weather Web Site