While tropical cyclones are not unheard of in South Africa, they are very rare. However, according to a study by the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, the number of cyclones that strike South Africa may steadily increase in response to increased global warming.
In order to form a tropical cyclone, a low-pressure area must form over warm water and at an appropriate latitude. The water off South Africa's south and west coasts is too cold to support the formation of these storms, and much of its Indian Ocean coastline is shielded, as cyclones usually veer north of Madagascar. The GAES study reports, though, that the warming Indian Ocean has been allowing the formation of cyclones to creep southward since 1850.