Despite its name, many foreigners know little about South Africa and its location. Here, you can learn more about South Africa time zones, daylight savings time in South Africa and how South Africa’s time compares to other countries.
What Are the South Africa Time Zones
From the time zone map above, South Africa spans two time zones. Despite this, South Africa follows one time throughout its 9 provinces. South Africa Standard Time, or SAST, is set as two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, that is, GMT+2. Greenwich Mean Time, also known as Coordinated Universal Time, results in South Africa’s time being two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time, UTC+2.
This means that if you travel within South Africa, you don’t need to adjust your watch since it is the same time anywhere in the country. Whether you travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban or Port Elizabeth or even a smaller town, there is no time difference between any place in South African.
Read more about the major cities in South Africa.
Not having to adjust your watch may surprise Americans, who have to adjust their watch by setting it back three hours when they travel from Florida State, which follows Eastern Time, to California, which follows Pacific Time.
Daylight Savings Time in South Africa
South Africa does not have daylight savings time, so the time stays constant throughout the year.
Solar noon or midday in the SAST time zone occurs at
Daylight saving time is not observed in either time zone. Solar noon in this time zone occurs at 30° E in SAST. Pietermaritzburg is located at the correct solar noon point. Johannesburg and Pretoria are located slightly west at 28° E and Durban slightly east at 31° E. This means most South Africans experience true solar noon at about 12:00 daily.
It is different in the western Northern Cape and Western Cape Provinces. Everywhere in South Africa, west of 22°30′ E experiences year-round daylight saving time because of their location of UTC+01:00 while being on South African Standard Time. As a result, Cape Town’s sunrise and sunset are much later than in the rest of South Africa.
The following may explain the daylight hours for South Africa’s western and easternmost cities. Universal Standard Time (UST) is the sun time on the Greenwich Meridian. Countries can determine their Standard Time relative to the position of their longitude and whether it is west or east of the Greenwich Meridian.
South Africa’s time is 30˚ East of Greenwich, meaning it is two hours ahead of UST, making South African Standard Time UST +2 hours.
South Africa’s Times Compared to Major Cities Around the World
When travelling to South Africa, the only time difference you have to consider is the time between your country and South Africa to help you get used to the current time in South Africa when you arrive.
The following table compares South African time to some of the major cities around the world:
|SAST time||City||Time in the city (24-hour clock)|
|12:00 (midday)||London||11:00 in South Africa’s winter, |
10:00 in South African summer
If you travel to South Africa across one or more time zones, you may be affected by jet lag. We have used the following tips to help us recover quickly after long-haul flights:
- Drink enough water and other fluids to stay hydrated
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
- Avoid eating fatty foods
Here are some tips to help you find cheap flights to South Africa.
Countries in The Same Time Zone as South Africa
Several other countries use South African Standard Time (SAST), including Botswana, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This means these countries are two hours ahead of GMT or UTC, the same as Central Africa Time.
Time Zones Globally
The differences in sun times between the eastern and western parts of vast countries, such as Canada, the United States, Russia and Australia, resulted in these countries having different time zones for different areas.
The United States has four time zones, including Eastern Standard Time (UST -5 hours), Central Standard Time (UST -6 hours), Mountain Standard Time (UST -7 hours), and Pacific Standard Time (UST -8 hours). The United States state of Alaska has its own time zone, an hour behind Pacific Standard Time, i.e. UST -9 hours. Hawaii, another US state west of North America in the Pacific Ocean, is two hours behind Pacific Standard Time, i.e. UST -11 hours. This means that when it is midday (12:00) in New York (on Eastern Standard Time), it is 09:00 in Los Angeles (on Pacific Standard Time) and 07:00 in Hawaii.
Russia has eleven time zones. Vladivostok, in the east of Russia, is 8 hours ahead of St Petersburg, which is in the west of Russia.
Australia has three time zones. An example of the implications is that Sydney, on Australia’s east coast, is three hours ahead of Fremantle, on Australia’s west coast.
The African content also has several time zones, including Eastern Africa Time (or East Africa Time), Central African Time, and West Africa Time (or West African Time). South Africa’s time zone is the same as Central African Time, UST +2 hours.