Whether you’re off to the sun-drenched city of Cape Town and the iconic The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, or wining and dining at The Oyster Box in sub-tropical Durban, summer in South Africa is a beautiful thing. But what is there to do when you’ve finally had your fill of sun, sea, and gastronomy? Thankfully, there’s plenty to keep you occupied over the summer season with any array of wonderful events taking place in Cape Town and Durban. From sunset concerts to wine festivals to nail-biting cricket matches, these are our favourite events this summer in South Africa.
Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts
Throughout the summer Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens welcome a broad range of different artists, including the likes of The Lumineers and the South African National Youth Orchestra. The concerts are held come rain or shine (although it this time of year it’s mostly shine), with food and drink stalls available, or if you’re really organised you can order one of Moyo’s delicious picnic hampers, packed with enough snacks to see you through until sunrise.
From December 2014 – March 2015. See full line-up here. Distance from Twelve Apostles: 20 minutes by car.
Time and Again: A Retrospective Exhibition by Penny Siopis
Get lost in South African history with Penny Siopis’ latest and highly anticipated exhibition of personal works at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. Widely regarded as one of the most influential artists at work in South Africa today, expect a mix of painting, sculpture, video and multimedia installations, which largely focus on the passage of time and memory. A real “must-see”, this is one of the best events taking place this summer in South Africa.
From Wednesday, 17th December 2014 – Tuesday, 10th March 2015. Distance from Twelve Apostles: 15 minutes by car.
Cape Town Carnival
A celebration of African identity, the Cape Town Carnival has become an exciting annual tradition, with performers and spectators alike taking over the city for a day of colourful festivities. Each year the organisers conjure up a theme even more powerful than the last, with this year embracing all things ‘Elemental’. It may not quite be walking on water, but be sure to expect much fire blowing and earth-defying acrobatics.
Saturday, 14th March 2015. Distance from Twelve Apostles: 15 minutes by car.
Cape Town & Durban Jazz Festivals
Now in its 15th year, this season’s Cape Town Jazz Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever. Hosting over 40 artists across five stages, the festival welcomes home-grown South African talent as well as world-renowned international performers for two days of music and merriment. Pick up a day or weekend pass and head down to hear big names like Courtney Pine O.B.E alongside up-and-coming local bands like Beatenberg.
The Durban Jazz Festival, meanwhile, takes place at the great Moses Mabhida Stadium with a Boxing Day dedication to all things jazz. While away this traditional Christmas holiday on the banks of the Hazelmere Dam to the soothing sounds of Afro Jazz, Afro Pop and Smooth Jazz. Sounds much better than the usual turkey sandwich.
Cape Town Jazz Festival: Friday, 27th & Saturday, 28th March 2015. Distance from Twelve Apostles: 20 minutes by car.
Durban Jazz Festival: Friday, 26th December 2014. Distance from The Oyster Box: 20 minutes by car.
Stellenbosch Wine Festival
The annual Stellenbosch Wine Festival has become one of the most popular festivals in South Africa (we wonder why), with over 400 people converging on the wine farms of Stellenbosch Valley last year. The weekend includes the usual wine tastings and cheese boards alongside special wine expos and art viewings – surely the ideal way to spend your summer in South Africa?
From Friday, 30th January – Sunday, 1st February 2015. Distance from Twelve Apostles: 1 hour – 1 hour and 20 minutes by car.
Cricket: South Africa v West Indies
Avid cricket supporters will not want to miss the chance to see the South African team play on their home ground, and whether it’s the five-day 3rd Test, or the One Day International that appeals, you’re certainly in for a scorcher. Catch one (or all) of the highly contested test matches, played across Durban and Cape Town in early January.
Cape Town: Friday, 2nd – Tuesday, 6th January 2015 (3rd Test). Friday, 9th January 2015 (1st T20). Durban: Friday, 16th January 2015 (1st One Day International).
Buzzart at KZNSA
An art exhibition with a difference, Buzzart is part-music concert series part-South African craft fair. Head over to the Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts and pick up anything from artwork to clothing to photography, ranging from small affordable pieces to collectable one-offs. Great for souvenirs and unusual presents, and so much better than the last minute duty free dash.
From Friday, 21st November 2014 – Sunday, 11th January 2015. Distance from The Oyster Box: 20 minutes by car.
Durban Botanic Gardens: Carols by Candlelight
Africa’s oldest surviving Botanic garden joins forces with the Soweto Gospel Choir to welcome Kwazulu Natal, a festive evening of carol singing by flickering candlelight. Bunker down at the lakeside spot and enjoy some time away from the city streets while working your way through an array of tasty food stalls. All funds raised go to the Botanic Garden Trust.
Friday, 5th December 2014. Distance from The Oyster Box: 20 minutes by car.
Header Image: Cape Town Carnival 2014 © Paul Reichle