While the northern hemisphere is busy welcoming spring, in South Africa, autumn is on its way. Happily, it’s beautiful here no matter the season, and there’s sun enough to profit from marathons, horse races, and even whale watching festivals. There’s more on offer indoors, too: from art exhibitions to dance performances to film festivals, there’s no shortage of cultural offerings and seasonal events in South Africa. Whether based in Cederberg, Hermanus, Durban, or Cape Town, guests staying at one of our South African hotels can sample the best of the season with our guide to the hottest autumn and winter happenings.
Tata Madiba: Father of our Democracy, Father of our Nation
Now on display at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, this exhibition is a season highlight among the current crop of cultural events in South Africa. Commemorating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, including his role as a hero of apartheid and as an influential world leader, the show is bound to inspire.
Until 30th September 2015. Distance from The Twelve Apostles: 15 minutes by car.
FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN
Whether or not you’ll be tying on your trainers for the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN, you’ll want to be in attendance: this inaugural 12k is already working up quite the buzz. Runners of all abilities and levels are invited to participate, following an incredibly scenic route along the coast before finishing right in the city centre – prime turf for spectators, if it all seems like a little too much effort.
Sunday, 17th May 2015. Across Cape Town
Encounters South African International Documentary Festival
Founded in 1999, the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival remains one of the top attractions for cinephiles in the country. While official selections are sourced from around the world, Encounters strives particularly to expose the work of native South African documentary filmgoers. Dozens of films will be shown over the course of 11 days, while Q&As with industry types and other events will follow.
From 4th – 14th June 2015. Across Cape Town
Nature’s Best Photography
Given its sprawling terrain – not to mention the lions, zebras, elephants, and other exotic species that call the continent home – it’s no wonder that Africa is a favourite muse of photographers. See the fruits of their inspiration at the annual Nature’s Best Photography exhibition in Cape Town. The show will collect the winning entries submitted to the accompanying competition, which will later move on to the Smithsonian in DC.
From 24th June – 16th September 2015. Distance from The Twelve Apostles: 15 minutes by car.
Vodacom Durban July
It doesn’t get much more prestigious than the Durban July, an annual horse race whose illustrious history stretches all the way back to 1897. Each year, more than 55,000 squeeze into Greyville Racecourse in Durban to take in the spectacle of the country’s finest thoroughbreds, with millions more tuning in around the country. One of the top upcoming events in South Africa, if you’re lucky enough to attend be sure to don your most colourful and ostentatious attire.
Saturday, 4th July 2015. Distance from The Oyster Box: 15 minutes by car.
Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience
Returning to Durban for its 17th year running, the inspiring Jomba! is a must for anyone with a yen for movement. Hosted by Durban’s Centre for Creative Arts, Jomba! celebrates and showcases top choreographers and dance troupes, many of whom hail from across South Africa. In addition to the performances, workshops and masterclasses will also round out the packed schedule of events.
From 26th August – 6th September 2015. Distance from The Oyster Box: 20 minutes by car.
Clanwilliam Wildflower Festival
The Cederberg area along the Western Cape is blessed with an abundance of beautiful wildflowers – and, just minutes from Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, guests can celebrate the colourful bounty. The Clanwilliam Wildflower Festival has more than 40 years of tradition behind it, and comprises walks, floral displays, art classes, and more.
From 27th August – 5th September 2015. Distance from Bushmans Kloof: 45-minute drive to Clanwilliam.
Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival
Billed as one of the only enviro-arts events in South Africa, Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival celebrates the giants of the deep that frequent these waters. Returning for its 23rd year, the festival comprises more than just whale watching (though that’s certainly the highlight). 20 different artists are slated to provide live music, while children’s entertainment, food and wine will help bolster the festive spirit.
From 2nd – 4th October 2015. Distance from Bouchard Finlayson: 12 minutes by car.
Header Image: Natures Best Photography 2008 Youth Winner, Matt Burrard-Lucas © Matthew Burrard-Lucas/NBP