What to do in South Africa this festive season

No matter which part of the country you’re in this holiday season, South Africa has much to offer if you’re looking for festive cheer and fun. Each province has its signature celebrations, so if you’re looking for something a little different this time around, you’re sure to find it. Here’s a list of things you won’t want to miss in various regions across the country.


David Krut Projects, Arts on Main

Every weekend until 18 December, you can enjoy arts-and-crafts activities as well as storytelling at David Krut Projects, Arts on Main. From bracelet-making to drawing activities, if you want to get creative, this is the place to do it. There is storytelling from 11am to 12pm, followed by arts and crafts.

Cirque Éloize, iD

Cirque Éloize, iD is taking place at Montecasino once again until 24 December. It’s a beautifully executed mix of circus arts and urban dance, with acrobats, aerialists and breakdancers putting on a lively show.

Night market at 27 Boxes

Find the perfect gifts at the night market at 27 Boxes every Wednesday from 5pm to 9pm. You can enjoy live music and delicious food while browsing the many stalls. For more information, email 27 Boxes.

Sedibeng Summer Festival

The fourth annual Sedibeng Summer Festival promises to showcase the best in South African music. The festival takes place on 26 December at Dickinson Park in Vereeninging. Don’t miss out on what will be a day of family and musical fun, with artists such as Tsepo Tshola, Nathi, Robbie Malinga, Vusi Nova and Zakes Bantwini.

Joburg Live Loud

On 10 December, Joburg Live Loud, presented by 5FM, will take place at the Marks Park Sports Club in Emmarentia, Johannesburg. Artists such as Black Coffee and Locnville will hit this mega stage.

Garden of Lights

Up until 8 January 2017, you and your family can experience an awe-inspiring display of Christmas lights and fun rides, such as the ferris wheel, on the impeccable gardens at the five-star Peermont D’oreale Grande Hotel at Emperors Palace. The Garden of Lights is open between 7pm and 10pm and it costs R25 to enter.

Kruger National Park overnight guided tour

The Kruger National Park overnight guided tour is one for family memories. Expert rangers provide game drives in safari vehicles where you can spot animal, bird and plant life in the heart of nature. The tour costs R8 250. Call 079 907 8901 for more information.

Manhattan Brothers Tribute at The Soweto Theatre

This must-see tribute to legendary South African band Manhattan Brothers is taking place at The Soweto Theatre from 8 to 18 December. Get your old-school dance shoes on for a melodic walk down memory lane. R80 gets you in.

Wine Not New Year’s Eve

Wine lover? Usher in the new year with a glass of fine wine at the Wine Not New Year’s Eve event at Kramerville Place, Sandton. At R750 per person, you can enjoy food and select wine, beers, spirits and soft drinks.

Afro Urban NYE

In the heart of the city, see the new year in at Afro Urban NYE, with everything from music to food in true urban African style. It’s a party you’ll never forget. Tickets are available online from R350 and cover the costs of food, a drink voucher and access to the NYE party.

Cape Town

Lourensford Twilight Market

Head to the iconic Lourensford Wine Estate and its award-winning gardens in the Helderberg Basin. Enjoy the 70 stalls and live music on offer while savouring the estate’s bespoke wine collection and ABRU craft beer at the final market of the year on 16 December. It’s open on Sundays from 10am to 3pm, and every second Friday evening from 4pm to 9pm.

Cape Town Sushi Festival

’Tis the season to enjoy good food – and what better way than at the first-ever Cape Town Sushi Festival taking place on 16 and 17 December? Bring along your appetite and picnic blankets. Prices are between R150 and R500.

Gabrielskoof’s Favourite Things Market

This festival takes place on 16 and 18 December and will showcase a range of local arts and crafts alongside delicious food and world-class wine from the region. Wares include luxury alpaca woollen items, jewellery, oysters and other delicacies.

RCS Gugulethu Reconciliation Race

In the spirit of unity on Reconciliation Day, runners and supporters can take part in the RCS Gugulethu Reconciliation Race, fondly known as the RCS Gugs Race. The 4.2km and 10km races take place at the Gugulethu Stadium in NY49. Enjoy live music, delicious cuisine at food stalls and loads of fun activities.

Picnic Movie Night

Classic movies under the stars with a glass of great wine sounds like the perfect evening. Enjoy exactly that at Picnic Movie Night at Spier Wine Estate on 17 December. Tickets are R100 for adults and R70 for children. You can add a gourmet picnic basket and a bottle of Spier signature wine for R500 for two (excludes movie tickets). Unfortunately, no private picnics are allowed, and drinks and snacks can be purchased at the deli on the night.

Cape Town Gift and Food Fair

Just in time to tick off all the items on your holiday gift list, the Cape Town Gift and Food Fair takes place from 20 to 23 December. This fourth annual fair will be held at the Castle of Good Hope for the first time. Entry is free.

Hop-on Hop-off City Pub Crawl

Why settle for one pub when you can make memories at them all! Visit various pubs with the open-top Beer Bus. The bus has beer taps installed, offering complementary beer and cider while en route! The Hop-on Hop-off City Pub Crawl runs from 6pm to 12am on Wednesdays and Fridays from 23 December 2016 to 27 January 2017.

Love & Light Day Party

Set at the Mountain Shadows Guest House in Paarl, progressive psy-trance music-lovers can party away at the Love & Light Day Party on 23 December 2016. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer’s night just outside the Mother City.

Carols for African Skies

Amaza Ensemble brings you a marimba experience like no other this festive season. These internationally known local musicians will stun audiences with Carols for African Skies at the V&A Waterfront on 24 December from 7pm. Entry is free.

Protea Hotel Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve street party

Protea Hotel Fire & Ice will host its fourth annual New Year’s Eve street party in Cape Town on 31 December. Four dance floors, including an exclusive RED BULL rooftop party, will bring in the new year with a bang. The line-up includes heavyweights such as Lulo Cafe and DJ Naves from Metro FM, among others. Tickets are R200 per person pre-sold and R250 per person at the door.

Eastern Cape

The Buffalo City Summer Season

The Buffalo City Summer Season holiday line-up kicks off in the first week of December. Expect five weeks of live entertainment, food, the Cruel Summer Picnic and three street carnivals in Mdantsane, King William’s Town and East London.

Buyel’Ekhaya Pan African Music Festival

You can dance to your heart’s content at the Buyel’Ekhaya Pan African Music Festival, now in its eighth year. The festival was created to set the Eastern Cape as the cultural mecca of South Africa, and takes place at the Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium. Tickets are R200 per person for general admission and can be purchased online.

East London Zoo

If the kids didn’t get the opportunity to visit the zoo this year, now is the perfect time. The East London Zoo is home to 100 different mammals, primates, reptiles and bird species. Also worth seeing is the East London Aquarium, the oldest in the country. It hosts seal shows and you can introduce the kids to the penguin colony and a fiery Amazonian red piranha.

Adventure activities

For the more adventurous, take your pick of activities, from abseiling, rock climbing and hiking to surfing, cycling, deep-sea angling and rock pool snorkelling. There’s so much to experience in the great outdoors in this adventure province!

Inkwenkwezi Reserve

If quiet time and nature is more your thing, head to the five-star Inkwenkwezi Reserve. With its emphasis on luxury and thoughtful detail, you can indulge in true relaxation in nature.

Mpongo Park

Another peaceful retreat is the Mpongo Private Game Reserve where you can relax in sheer luxury, experience game viewing or spend your days at the beach.

Steve Biko heritage sites

History buffs can celebrate our country’s rich cultural and political heritage by visiting the Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance, the Steve Biko Centre, the Bisho Massacre and Egerton memorial sites, the Wall of Fame and the Mxenge family graves. Or simply soak up authentic Xhosa hospitality on any of the excellent cultural and heritage tours in and around the city.


Sapphire Coast Summer Festival

The Sapphire Coast boasts Blue Flag beaches, with the warm Indian Ocean’s waters to enjoy. The summer festival, starting on 10 December, promises to entertain the whole family in this beautiful coastal setting.

Open-Air Salsa

Learn a few salsa moves to captivate any audience at the Open-Air Salsa event hosted by Red Salsa at the Suncoast Casino Amphitheatre. Entry is free.

KZN Christmas Market Festival

Shopping for your festive gifts just got better with the KZN Christmas Market Festival, with sellers and their must-have products in an auditorium for a unique market experience. It takes place at the City Hill Church on 16 December from 9am to 8pm, and on 17 December from 9am to 1pm.

Durban Comedy Festival

A bit of laughter is what the holidays are all about. Join comedy heavyweights such as Loyiso Gola, John Vlismas and many more at the Durban Comedy Festival at the Amsterdam Restaurant and Bar from 14 to 17 December.

Umhlanga Summer Festival Trail Run Walk

Squeeze in a little exercise at the Umhlanga Summer Festival Trail Run Walk, presented by Umhlanga Tourism and Riverside Trail. Participants start at the Umhlanga promenade and go down to the forest and sugar cane fields, encountering a few small climbs, single track and river crossings – all making it a worthy challenge.

Christmas Day Lunch at the Royal Hotel

There’s nothing wrong with letting someone else handle Christmas lunch this year. Enjoy a relaxed, scrumptious meal with live entertainment at the Royal Hotel. The cost for adults is R395 and R200 for children under the age of 12.

Vodacom Beach Festival

On 21 to 24 December, Shekinah, Matthew Mole, Locnville and Kyle Deutsch will rock it out at the Vodacom Beach Festival at Moyo Ushaka Pier. It’s bound to be a spectacular music event!

Half-day Durban City Sightseeing Tour

If you’re exploring the city these holidays, get the perfect view with the Half-day Durban City Sightseeing Tour, from the Golden Mile to the Durban Botanical Gardens, with all the must-see sights in between. You and the family can see the best spots of KZN’s biggest city. Book a tour with Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris.

Max’s Lifestyle

For the best authentic kasi food in Umlazi, head to Max’s Lifestyle, an upmarket, trendy venue in a township setting. Popular DJs play the best selection of music and there’s a VIP lounge for you to enjoy.

Fact Durban Rocks New Year’s Eve event

One of the biggest New Year’s Eve events in the country will take place at the People’s Park at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. South Africa’s biggest acts will

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