Second Quarter 2016, Festivals & Events in South Africa

It should be noted that if all the actual events that happen from week to week were listed, there would a webpage many tens of pages deep just for each week alone. Being that we can only highlight these festivals and events, knowing we’re leaving some out – consider this an opinion piece on some amazingly diverse activities to enjoy while in South Africa. As always, if anyone has questions about what else to see beyond these recommendations or which festival locations are closest to the tour package you custom design for you and your family, calling us at Cape Tours is a good bet.

We stopped last time around the end of March, so picking it up for early April is the Community Chest Carnival 2016, on from 30 March – 2 April. Tickets to get in are R50 for adults and R30 for children under 18 and they’re sold at the door. This four day amusement park is returning for their 64th time to Cape Town, this year. It takes place at the Maynardville Park in Wynberg and features wholesome food stores, and international offerings, plenty of street food, and live musical performances. Movie nights for the kids and teens are also available at the amphitheater, as well as a battle of the bands. There’s even a fashion show at Petticoat Lane! This theatrical garden party event began in 1951, and has long been a summer tradition in Cape Town, and proceeds benefit many charities which cover a wide variety of causes. Hours are 6pm to 11pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 5pm to 12am on Friday and 12pm to 11pm on Sunday.

Next up is another one for the lovers of all things artistic, the Eco Film Festival in Cape Town from 31 March, to 3 April. This festival honoring documentaries on the local and international stage, treats visitors to engaging short and feature-length films dealing with a large variety of environmentally important topics. The location in Cape Town is being held at the Labia Theatre, and members can vote for their favourite film choice, to receive the Silver Tree Audience Choice Award. Last year was the first year this festival was proud to announce entries from children; both made for them, as well as BY them! For every ticket sold, R5 gets donated to Greenpop – a tree planting organisation out of Cape Town.

Not to be outdone by the arts festivals, the Cape Getaway Show 2016 follows these with the best in outdoor adventure. This event takes place at the Lourensford Wine Estate from 1 April to 3 April. Tickets online are R65, a weekend pass is R150 as is the family pass, and pensioners/students with ID get in for R35. Tickets are also sold at the door, and kids under 12 get in free! This marks the 7th year for this event, and offers great food, craft beers, and tons of specials on camping gear, and outdoor gear. Within the event are mini-events like the Cape Getaway Mountain Bike Challenge with either a 5km route or a 30km trail. Live music punctuates this event from Robin Auld.

Another musical delight is the next one on the list, there’s a lot of these, and we believe it’s partially due to the undercurrent of South Africa that beats like something living all on its own, the culture itself and the long history provides a pulse that makes every person in the Rainbow Nation musical by birth. This is no less true than for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. This is the largest and most famous music festival in Sub-Saharan Africa and brings almost 40,000 jazz lovers from all over the world. It has ran now for 17 years this year, and is proud to feature national as well as international jazz performers. This year offers 5 stages, allowing plenty of differing tastes to be entertained from the blues to Brazilian, and everything in between. This event takes place on 1 & 2 April, and tickets can be bought from Computicket even now! A day pass is R590 and for the entire event is R895.

Who doesn’t like to eat? There’s something else South Africans excel at, and at The Taste of Cape Town 2016, the 9th annual event returns to please and tickle taste-buds from 7 April to 10 April at the Green Point Cricket Club. Anyone who has wanted to try the trendiest restaurant fare to be had nearby need only come here, as the best of the best are on show here, bringing along award-winning chefs. You can create your own dream menu from 10+ featured restaurants, where the chefs themselves will put together a dream meal for you fo starter-sized dishes that reflect their passion and purpose in a gourmet treat. There are also exhibits, artisans, award winning wineries and much much more here, so when you’re pleasantly full you can browse the craft stall before returning for another round. This boutique food market is unrivaled every year, from the fresh foods available for purchase to the alfresco dining experience. Come see for yourself! Only R100 to enter with a standard early bird ticket, and options are available all the way up to R750 for a DSTV Clubhouse ticket.

Heading out to Lambert’s Bay the Crayfish Festival is heating up from 29 April to 1 May. There’s plenty of hopping music, and a ton of fun to be had while delighting visitors with the fresh out of the ocean crayfish. Lambert’s Bay is a small fishing town who relies on this industry for their entire economy and livelihood and is happy to show all comers why it is so successfully done with the sumptuous fare offered in the way of seafood. There are crayfish diving competitions, deli stalls, craft booths, and even a place for the kids to play if they’re feeling overloaded with energy. With live music offerings, it makes for a warm and friendly event where laughter is the common social currency, and smiles are all around.

Anyone a bibliophile? Logophile? The first is a lover of books, and the latter a lover of words. You get to be both at the Franschhoek Literary Festival! The 9th edition runs from 13 May to 15 May and is packed with readers, writers, book sellers and publishers celebrating South African literature. This event encourages debate between writers that is overseen by a mediator. There’s also the ability to enjoy speaking face to face with your favourite author, literary and publishers’ dinners, book launches, writing workshops, classical music concerts and a school spelling bee! The events are all led by professionals who are experts in their fields and is meant to promote the love of books and reading. A portion of the event revenue goes toward the FLF Library Fund, which helps to establish a community library in the Franschhoek Valley.

Not to leave out those seeking sports and adventure, the Comrades Marathon comes around on the 29th of May every year. It is widely considered to be the world’s greatest ultra-marathon at 89.9 km long, attracting THOUSANDS of participants from all over the world every year. This running route changes yearly and offers an “up run” or “down run” and obviously the up run will be more challenging and probably should not be undertaken by first-timers. The up run starts at the city hall in Durban, and finishes at the cricket over in Pietermartizburg. The down run goes from Pietermaritzburg to Durban’s Kingsmead Stadium. The very first time this marathon happened was 1921, making this one of the longest running ultra-marathons in the world. 2016 broke records by reaching the 20,000 entrants cap. The area is a prime location for scenery as well as carrying some major landmark sites like the Wall of Honour specifically for those who have undertaken this event in past years.

Wrapping up the second quarter of 2016, is the Wacky Wine Weekend Festival in Robertson from 2 June to 5 June. The festival pass is R120 and are sold at the door. This one-of-a-kind event is one not to miss, it has outdoor activities, live music, fine dining and tons of entertainment for the little ones. Robertson wine valley is one of the best known wineries in the area, and is offering samples and options to purchase some of the best wines in the region. There is a zero tolerance policy in place however, so if you’ve chosen to self-drive on your holiday, you won’t be doing so alone. There is a designated driver system in place, which is incentive that will reward a driver who does not drink with a complimentary breakfast, coffee and soda. So if you’ve traveled with a partner, friend, or family member – see if they’d be willing to trade off each night and be rewarded for the effort! There is also a Buddy Bus, which will take you back and forth on the festival days. You’ll get a beautiful tasting glass when you buy your pass, a Wacky Wine Weekend hamper, a bottle of water and a program for the festival.

*prices displayed were correct at time of publishing

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