There’s so much happening during the winter months in South Africa. We’d like to share a few of our favorite events on the calendar. From Cape Town, through the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and up to Mpumalanga, there’s something interesting happening for just about everybody. If you want to experience Christmas in the middle of the year, then head to the Tulbagh. The village will be decorated with Christmas lights and trees, and traditional Christmas dinners will be served at local restaurants. There will also be arts and crafts on sale, jazz bands to entertain you, as well as a ‘Rock with Santa’ party. Cheese, wine and olive tasting will be held throughout the valley.
If you have ever wanted to make bread, sushi or truffles, or just appreciate the art of pairing food and wine, then head out to Franschhoek for Cook Franschhoek. Some of the Valley’s celebrity and award-winning chefs will be on hand to present these hands on demonstrations. These include the likes of Margot Janse of Le Quartier Français (who was placed 31st in last year’s prestigious S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants), renowned foodie couple Neil and Tina Jewel of Bread & Wine at Môreson, who will be presenting an unforgettable bread making and chacuterie demonstration. Other offerings include demonstrations by The Salmon Bar, Freedom Hill, Holden Manz, Ryan’s Kitchen, Mange Tout, Franschhoek Country House and Villas, L’Ermitage, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Le Franschhoek, Haute Cabrière, La Motte, Grande Provence and Café Bon Bon. The participating restaurants will pair up with winemakers from the area to allow for a personal experience from the chef and winemaker.
Calitzdorp is situated in the beautiful Klein Karoo, and is renowned as the Port Capital of South Africa. This year’s Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival will again be centered at the historic Calitzdorp Railway Station, well-complimented by a full and fabulous program of events at the various wine cellars and village venues. Festival visitors will be treated to a magnificent medley of Ports and Port cultivar wines – think fantastic value-for-money Ruby and Tawny Ports and multiple award-winning Vintage Reserve Ports. But also Pink Port, White Port, The Chocolate Port, Tinta Chocolat, Tinta Mocha, The Original Espresso, Tinta Barocca, Touriga Nacional, III, Cape White and Khamsin, to name but a few. Place a bid at the auction of the Best Ports, a special port blended for the festival and bottled in a range of bottle sizes with specially designed original labels. Also offered is a historical treasure hunt around the town, local arts and crafts, lifestyle market stalls to suit all tastes, the Port Dance, restaurants, food stalls and a whole lot more. You can also get clued up at talks about the biodiversity and rare flora and fauna of the Klein Karoo and the leopards of the region, Klein Karoo butterflies and geology of Kannaland. Visit the Donkey Trail exhibition and meet the guides and donkeys that travel to Die Hel and back.
The Knysna Oyster Festival is probably one of the most popular annual events in the Western Cape. It is also something of a celebration of the good life and sport and has taken place every year since 1983, where it began as the Knysna Winter Festival – a combination of sport that drew people to Knysna during the quiet winter season. Marketed as the ‘Best 10 Days of Your Winter’, the Knysna Oyster festival is spread across two weekends that promise constant fun and activities for the whole family. The sport aspect of the Oyster Festival has evolved into two major sporting events – the Pick n Pay Cape Times Forest Marathon (half marathon), and the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Cycle Tour, now a two-day event that is the biggest of its kind in the country.
Each year, during the mild winter months of June & July along the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, a major natural phenomenon occurs that sees millions of sardines migrate north from around Port St Johns to Durban, followed by dolphins, sharks and seabirds. The annual Vodacom Durban July draws the country’s who’s who to Greyville Race Course. This horse race is of major historic importance and dates back to 1897. It takes place the first Saturday in July, and is a big event on the local social calendar. Also each year during July, the Mr Price Pro Surfing Competition has been a highlight along Durban’s Beaches. This year the competition is moving up North to Ballito Bay. It promises to boast the same fun surfing events, beach concerts and lots of fun under the sun.
In Gauteng there’s an interesting event happening at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park Johannesburg. The Astrology and Psychic Festival will consist of psychics, astrologers, palm readers and spiritual healers, it will also include an informative and entertaining program of events. The program of events will consist of live crossing over sessions that allow people to communicate with deceased loved ones. Patrons will also be able to attend free live workshops hosted by experts in the respective fields.
The Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Africa’s largest and most colorful cultural event offers a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported talent. Every year for 11 days in June / July, over 50 000 people flock to Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape for a feast of arts, crafts and entertainment. The festival offers more than 500 shows from opera, cabaret, drama and jazz to stand-up comics and folk music. From theatre to dance, opera to cabaret, fine art to craft art, classical music to jazz, poetry readings to lectures, every art form imaginable is represented in one of the most diverse festivals in the world. And there’s something for every taste, with techno raves, mediaeval banquets, craft fairs, cyber cafes, carnivals, buskers and walking tours.