The coastal area of the Eastern Cape lies directly between the subtropical conditions of the Western Cape, while its inland area is bisected by the Great Escarpment, resulting in the southern reaches defined by a series of rivers and corresponding wetland fauna and flora, while the northern areas are those of the altitudinous plains of the Plateau and the Great Karoo.
These topographic inconsistencies are exemplified by the climatological conditions experienced by the towns and cities within these areas. In the North East, along the Wild Coast, towns like Port St John's experience long, hot summer months and moderate winters.
Up towards the Free State, at towns such as Lady Grey and Aliwal North, the rise in altitude means the appropriate lowering in temperature and the towns, just a few hundred kilometers from the swelter of the other areas, experience conditions favored more by skiers than sunbathers.
The coastal city of Port Elizabeth enjoys a daily average of 7 hours of sunshine annually. Winter (April-August) temperatures range from 7.1 degrees Celsius (44.8 degrees Fahrenheit) to 19.5 degrees Celsius (61.3 degrees Fahrenheit) and 25.4 degrees Celsius (77.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Peak rainfall (500-650 mm) occurs in spring and autumn.
In general, the weather of the Eastern Cape is kind to visitors. Rarely reaching extremes except perhaps in the height of the Karoo summer, its nature depends not so much upon how it changes, but how much you move across the province's expanse and into and out of different climatological zones. And, given the wonderful variety of sights and sounds on offer in the Eastern Cape, enjoy in turn the squelch and the scrape under your tyres as you experience these distinctive weather types, stretched across the province like a traveling circus of the elements.
The Sunshine Coast is the coastal route between St Francis Bay and East London in the Eastern Cape. The climate is subtropical, with winter average day temperatures reaching 21 degrees Celsius and the average summer day temperatures reaching 28 degrees Celsius. In summer it can reach the middle 30's quite often. The sea temperature varies between 14 and 24 degrees Celsius. In summer shorts and t-shirts are the order of the day and in winter jeans and jerseys are needed.
East London enjoys a moderate climate, with few extremes in temperature and is generally sunny and pleasant. Winters are usually mild, although snow falls on the mountain ranges of the Cape and Natal and occasionally in the lower-lying areas, when a brief cold spell can be expected throughout the country. Since South Africa lies south of the Equator, these seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere Climate.