A Year in

South Africa


Kaapse Klopje (2 Jan). A colourful musical and minstrel festival in Cape Town.

J&B Metropolitan Handicap (last Sat in Jan). South Africa’s major horce-racing meet, held at Kenilworth Race Course in Cape Town.

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Dusi Canoe Race (mid-Feb). A three-day canoe marathon following the Dusi River for 120 km (75 miles) between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

Stellenbosch Wine Festival (last weekend in Feb). A celebration of local vintners in the Winelands.

Cape Town Pride (late Feb–Mar). A week-long LGBTQ+ event, culminating in a Pride parade.

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Cape Argus Cycle Tour (early Mar). South Africa’s premier cycling race.

Cape Town Carnival (mid-Mar). An anything-goes celebration of the arts and creativity, held in Green Point.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival (late Mar–Apr). The world’s fourth-largest jazz festival, attracting all manner of local and international names.

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Two Oceans Marathon (Easter). A scenic 56-km (35-mile) ultra-marathon and 21-km (13-mile) half-marathon traversing the Cape Peninsula.

Fire-walking (Easter). After spiritual preparation, devout Hindus walk uninjured across a bed of red-hot coals at Durban’s Umbilo Hindu Temple.

Splashy Fen Music Festival (Easter weekend). South Africa’s oldest musical festival, held on a farm in Underberg and featuring performances in mainstream, alternative, folk and traditional music styles.

Prince Albert Olive Festival (late Apr or early May). A celebration of the olive in the arid Klein Karoo region.

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Pink Loerie Mardi Gras (May). A four-day LGBTQ+ festival in Knysna, with charity-led events, exhibitions and food stalls.

Franschhoek Literary Festival (third weekend in May). A community library fundraising event, showcasing local and international authors.

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Comrades Marathon (early Jun). South Africa’s premier running event: a gruelling 89-km (55-mile) ultra-marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

Knysna Oyster Festival (late Jun). A hugely popular celebration of Knysna’s local delicacy, incorporating various sporting events.

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July Handicap (first Sat in Jul). The glamour event of the Durban horse-racing world.

Grahamstown National Arts Festival (early Jul). An 11-day festival of events in all forms of the performing arts.

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Oppikoppi Music Festival (early Aug). A genre-spanning three-day music festival focused on local talent, held on a farm in Limpopo Province.

Wildflower Festivals (starting late Aug). Events all over the Western and Northern Cape ring in the spring wildflower season.

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Hermanus Whale Festival (late Sep). The whale-watching season is celebrated on the cliffs above Walker Bay.

Jozi Film Festival (late Sep). Johannesburg’s annual film festival, featuring an excellent programme of local and international movies.

GauFestival (late Sep–early Oct). International classical music and arts festival in Pretoria.

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Hermanus Wine and Food Festival (early Oct). After September’s whale festival, the fun continues with this weekend-long celebration of South African wine and cuisine.

Currie Cup Finals (late Oct). A hotly contested rugby match between the country’s two best provincial teams. The location changes from year to year.

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Oude Libertas Arts Programme (Nov–Mar). Music and theatre in Stellenbosch.

Cherry Festival (mid-Nov). A quirky festival marking cherry-picking season in Ficksburg.

DISCOVER A Year in South Africa


Plett Rage (early Dec). Starting in Plettenberg Bay when school exams end, this week-long party is an opportunity for students (and anyone else who cares to join) to let off stream.

Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts (Dec–Mar). A series of music concerts – from rock and jazz to classical and opera – intended to be enjoyed while picnicking on the lawns of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in the Cape Pensinsula.

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