Summer is in full swing across the southern hemisphere. You can enjoy hot, dry weather on safari in Southern Africa, unwind on the white-sand beaches of Central America, or make the most of Australia’s heat along its coasts and in its national parks. Elsewhere, parts of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean are dry with clear skies.
For wildlife: South Africa
South Africa’s Cape regions are hot and dry in December, making this an excellent time for a safari in Eastern Cape reserves, such as Amakhala Game Reserve, where you can spot the Big Five among many other animals. While it’s rainier in the Kruger, it’s one of the best months for birdwatching as migratory species arrive.
Type of heat in South Africa in December: Hot and dry with clear skies in the Cape region, but afternoon thunderstorms are common in the more humid north, including Kruger National Park.
Average temperature in South Africa in December: 23 - 32°C (73 - 90°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in South Africa in December: 11 hours
For the beach: Belize
With increased sunshine and comfortably hot temperatures, December is a popular time to visit Belize for a winter beach break. When not stretched out on the country’s soft, white sands, you can dive or snorkel in the warm Caribbean waters, which cover the world’s second-longest barrier reef.
Type of heat in Belize in December: Days are warm, sunny, and bright, with mostly clear skies, though some rainfall is possible as the country comes out of its rainy season.
Average temperature in Belize in December: 27 - 29°C (81 - 84°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Belize in December: 6 hours
For the great outdoors: Mauritius
Mauritius is at its hottest and sunniest in December, and while it can be one of the busiest times to visit, it’s also one of the most rewarding. You can make the most of the mostly dry, sunny days by hiking through the lush green landscapes of Black River Gorges National Park and the Chamarel mountains.
Type of heat in Mauritius in December: Mostly dry, sunny, and pleasantly hot. Rain is possible, especially in the Chamarel mountains, but it usually falls as a short, heavy shower that soon dries up and helps lower the humidity.
Average temperature in Mauritius in December: 27 - 29°C (81 - 84°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Mauritius in December: 8 hours
For culture: Vietnam
December is an excellent time to visit southern Vietnam in particular, where it’s hot and dry. Take the time to tour Saigon’s standout cultural sights, from palaces and museums to markets and pagodas. Central Vietnam can experience some rain, but you can visit sights like Hue’s moated citadel without the crowds.
Type of heat in Vietnam in December: Southern Vietnam experiences low humidity, clear skies, and little rain. The north is dry and sunny but cooler, while rain is possible in Central Vietnam as monsoon season ends.
Average temperature in Vietnam in December: 16 - 31°C (61 - 88°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Vietnam in December: 4 hours
For an epic journey: Indonesia
Indonesia is hot all year, and while December brings rain to many parts, it’s a good time to embark on a cruise of the Raja Ampat archipelago. During your voyage, you’ll have the chance to snorkel among vivid marine life, take in striking limestone karst scenery, and hike to island villages.
Type of heat in Indonesia in December: Hot and humid, with rain likely in most regions.
Average temperature in Indonesia in December: 29 - 32°C (84 - 90°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Indonesia in December: 6 hours
If you like it really hot: Australia
Australia experiences high temperatures everywhere in December. If you thrive in this kind of heat, the options are endless. Take a road trip along the west coast, hike through the south’s national parks, or relax on eastern beaches. And, tropical rain showers in the north mean that the Northern Territory’s waterfalls are in impressive full flow.
Type of heat in Australia in December: Hot and humid in the north, with thunderstorms providing welcome relief. The south is cooler but still warm and generally dry.
Average temperature in Australia in December: 20 - 36°C (68 - 97°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Australia in December: 8 hours