Aah summer… the endless summer is here! And with it as always comes an action-packed programme of great summer fun things to do, whether watching your favourite bands, taking in the thrills and spills of a gruelling inflatable race, letting your hair down as the clock counts down to the New Year, taking in a concert in the park or whatever your fancy is. Here we list some of the really great things to do this summer. Have fun!
31 October – 7 February
The V&A Silo Concert Series
Silo District, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Every Friday between October and February, visitors and locals can enjoy a free concert in this popular concert series attracting the best local artists and performers and then go see the latest art exhibition right there at Zeitz MOCAA. Tel 021 408 7600.
18 November – 31 March
Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Town
A firm summer favourite with local and visitors alike. Bring your family and friends, your picnic baskets and blankets, and find a spot on the grass in front of the open-air stage where every Sunday over the summer you will be entertained by the best local and international acts. Watch the press for details.
Adderley Street Festive Lights Switch-On
Adderley Street, Cape Town
Come join in the fun of Cape Town’s biggest impromptu street party as the mayor switches on the festive lights covering one of Cape Town and SA’s older streets. Plenty of stall for food and beverages.
Drakensberg Boys Choir Live Concert
Cathkin Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Come and listen to one of the world’s oldest and most famous boys’ choirs perform their choral, classical and rock music, as well as a full second half of their indigenous repertoire, all in the magical natural setting of the Drakensberg. From 6 – 8 December they will also be presenting Christmas in the Berg. Tel 036 468 1012.
Abantu Book Festival
This event has firmly established itself as one of the most popular cultural events in South Africa – feast of colours, crafts, cultures, cuisine, art and of course, books and more books.
5 – 7 December
Playtopia MGA 2019
The Castle, Cape Town
This 3-day gaming and arts festival featuring over 40 Indie participants in SA’s premier celebration and showcasing of local and international indie games, interactive and digital art and music. Strictly 18 years plus. Tel 021 424 9308.
6 December – 11 January
Peter Pan on Ice
Teatro at Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg
The Imperial Ice Stars return to South Africa with their brand-new show, Peter Pan on Ice. This magical show will transport children and adults alike away on a fantastical journey in this classic tale of magic and make-believe, staged on real ice and showcasing 23 former World, European and National Championship-level skaters. Not to be missed! Tel 011 461 9744 or 0861 44 77 44.
6 December – 12 January
The Rocky Horror Show
Artscape Opera House, Foreshore, Cape Town
This show has delighted millions in more than 30 countries since it first opened in London in June 1973, having become the world’s favourite rock musical. The Rocky Horror Show famously combines science-fiction, horror, comedy and music while encouraging you to come dressed in outrageous fancy dress. Tel 021 421 7839.
Goduka Music Festival
King Zwelithini Stadium, Durban
An annual music festival featuring different genres of music such as Gospel, Maskandi, Kwaito and many more. Tel 0861 915 8000.
Darling Summer Beer Festival
Darling, Western Cape
This little town known more for its spring flowers and satirist Pieter Dirk Uys, comes alive every December when its showcases a variety of craft beers and ciders. Hosts are the local brewery, Darling Brew.
Festival of Chariots
Sea Point, Cape Town
This 5,000-year old tradition offers plenty of fun with a parade of colourful chariots, singing and dancing, Hare Krishna foods, books and more. It also provides a true taste of Indian culture seen through the experience of the Hare Krishna movement, a branch of Hinduism. Note: it’s not a religious festival, but a cultural one.
Salt Rock, KwaZulu-Natal
Every year the annual Litchi Festival draws the crowds to the spectacular Dolphin Coast north of Ballito in a celebration of this delicious fruit.
Eden Kite Festival
Sedgefield, Garden Route
Established in 2015, this fun kite-flying and demonstration event grows ever more popular each year.
Day of Reconciliation
This public holiday is an annual reminder of South Africa’s divided past and its reconciliation as the rainbow nation since 1994. Major gatherings take place in different parts of the country, with different keynote speakers. Watch the media for details.
24 & 31 December
Christmas marching bands & Malay choirs
Wale Street, Cape Town
Come watch the Christmas bands and Malay choirs (known locally as “nagtroepe”) as they march, dance and sing their way up Wale Street in the city centre. Strictly speaking they are not part of the Minister Carnival that starts on 2 January, although closely related and every bit as lively, musical and colourful.
29 December – 1 January
Smoking Dragon Festival
Bergville, Northern Drakensberg
This three-day music festival ushering in the New Year takes place at the Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge near Bergville just off the R74. The festival brings together musicians, performance artists and storytellers to celebrate New Year. It is situated in the foothills of the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains range, overlooking the Tugela Falls. This popular event has grown into a monster of a party, as its name suggests.
28 December – 1 January
The Trans Agulhas Challenge
Plettenburg Bay, Mossel Bay, Stilbaai, Struisbaai, Uilkraalsmond to Strand
Every year on 28 December the Trans-Agulhas Challenge, known as the ‘world’s toughest inflatable boat race’, gets underway in Plettenberg Bay. This year’s race will be the 31st one with a field of over 40 boats. The first stage ends at Mossel Bay, with subsequent stages each ending at Stilbaai, Struisbaai, and Uilkraalsmond respectively, before the race ends in Strand on New Year’s Day. The exciting starts and finishes can be watched up close from the various beaches along the route. There are always plenty of spills and thrills. Web www.trans-agulhas.com.
Date still to be confirmed. Taking its name from South Africa’s famous Route 62 and staged in the unofficial capital of this route over the New Year’s weekend, the festival annually brings together revellers, great food and drink, and top-notch live acts in the fabulous setting of the Joubert-Tradauw Wine Farm in Barrydale. Phone +27 (0)82 304 9000.
Mother City Queer Project New Year’s Eve Party
TAU Cape Town & Crew Bar, Cape Town
A mother of a party with three dance floors, multiple acts and performers, incredible décor, street-based stretch-tents and 5 well-stocked bars. Website https://mcqp.co.za.
New Year’s Festival of Lights
Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape
The mesmerising New Year’s Eve Lantern Parade held annually in this small Karoo town never fails to entertain, delight and fill people with the spirit of Christmas. Make your own lantern or get one here. Tel 049 841-1731.
1 – 31 January
Kaapse Klopse / Cape Minstrel Carnival
This is South Africa’s oldest and most lively and colourful carnival, going back to the 19th century and the time of slavery. Ten thousand dancers, marchers and musicians in colourful costumes and painted faces take over the streets of central Cape Town on 2 January, with the party and competitions continuing the entire January at the Green Point Stadium and other venues. Tel 021 794 1619.
New Year’s Cricket Test SA v England
Newlands, Cape Town
The cricket action moves to Cape Town for the start of the 2nd test match, or traditional New Year’s Test, under the oak trees.
3rd Cricket Test SA v England
St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth plays host to the 3rd cricket test between England and South Africa. After an early morning dip in the ocean, this is just the place to come and chill for the rest of the day watching the action out on the pitch.
17 January – 1 March
The Rocky Horror Show
Teatro at Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg
After its run in Cape Town this world-famous and long-running show – 45 years – moves to Montecasino in Johannesburg. This show has delighted millions in more than 30 countries since it first opened in London in June 1973. Tel 0861 44 77 44.
4th Cricket Test SA v England
Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
The final test of the English cricket tour starts here. Come and enjoy the fun and excitement.
24 January – 9 February
Marvel Universe Live
Sun Arena, Time Square, Pretoria
Come see the action and all the thrills as the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man join forces with Doctor Strange to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands. Cutting-edge special effects, aerial manoeuvres, pyrotechnics, martial arts, motorcycle stunts, vast 3D video projections, strobe lighting, lasers, pyrotechnics, fire and much more. Tel 0861 915 8000.
The Sun Met Horse Race
Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town
One of SA’s two premier horse races and the biggest on the summer race calendar, the world-famous Met is always an extravaganza of thoroughbreds, fashion, entertainment and partying long after the horses have returned to their stables.
Sani Road, Underberg, Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal
This canoe marathon in the Berg is one of the three largest races in South Africa and covers a massive 72 kilometres with some 1 000 paddlers participating.
With the charming little village of Haenertsburg set in the beautiful Magoebaskloof valley on the route to the Kruger National Park, this is the ideal location for old and young to enjoy this popular berries and health-focused festival with the surrounding area offering plenty more. Tel Gloria 074 083 7008.
7-10 February 2019
Up the Creek Music Festival
It can be billed as one river, three stages, loads of the best river-rocking music and entertaining crowds of whacky music lovers. The Western Cape platteland’s most famous music festival and biggest jol on the banks of the Breede River where every year some 3,000 people gather for 4 days of fun. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 021 510 0547 / 084 942 2237.
Held each year at the Midmar Dam north of Pietermaritzburg the Midmar Mile is the world’s largest open water swimming event.
The Herald Cycle Tour
Addo, Eastern Cape
The Herald Cycle Tour will again see both professional and amateur cyclists testing their strength and expertise on the routes set out in this beautiful part of the country.
22 February – 1 March
Cape Town Pride Festival
Waterkant, Cape Town
This festival draws people from all over the world. Some of the attractions and fun include a Pride Film Premiere, a Red Party, workshops, a pool party, Mr and Ms Cape Town Pride pageant, an interfaith service, sunset beach picnic, a book fair, a Pink Ball and much more. Dates yet to be confirmed.