Just because it’s cold outside, that doesn’t mean you should hibernate. Get out and enjoy our wonderful country, and all it has to offer. And there is a lot on offer in the way of festivals during winter. Whether it’s food and wine, classical music or comedy, you’ll find something to keep your mind off the cold.
NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
Spread over 11 days, this year's festival is jam-packed with performances, exhibitions, installations, craft markets, lectures and workshops, some forming part of the Main programme and others, the Fringe. The National Arts Festival is of great historical importance, as it served as an important forum for political and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era. The festival programme is available online.
PICK N PAY KNYSNA OYSTER FESTIVAL
Whether you're into food, wine, adventure, culture, just chilling or all of the above, the Knysna Oyster Festival has something for you. You can expect Bubbly, Oyster and Chocolate Experience, a Whisky & Jazz Cruise, a bowls tournament, a SASSI fish braai, forest hikes, nightclub dash, forest marathon and a comedy show, to name but a few. And, of course, you can’t forget the marathon!
THE STELLENBOSCH INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
This festival returns for another round of orchestral music, public master classes and student mentoring. Over the course of 10 days, spectators can indulge in daily student and faculty concerts culminating in performances by the event’s Festival Concert and Symphony Orchestras. What’s more, local and international students will be given the opportunity to receive coaching, attend lectures and perform in front of large audiences.
This fest has an amazing line-up of events and happenings, including Championship Tour surfing, a music festival, the Oakley X-Over celebrity event including Jean De Villers, Dale Steyn, John Smit, Schalk Burger, Ryan Sandes, Butch James and a host of others, a mountain bike event, a night trail running event, Quiksilver junior surfing events and more.
DULLSTROOM WINTER FESTIVAL
Fly fishing will be a highlight of the event, given that Dullstroom is one of South Africa’s most popular trout-fishing destinations and often referred to 'Trouteng' by the locals. You can expect Attendees can expect fly-fishing competitions, trail runs, bike races, numerous whisky, beer and wine tastings, live music and children's entertainment. Live music performances featuring local and South Africa's top-notch artists will be played throughout the day. For the hungry there are various food stalls offering up a range of gourmet, street-styled grub. If you're looking for a bit of culture, art exhibitions will be showcasing pieces by local artists whose art depicts the everyday happenings in Dullstroom.
Vryfees, previously known as the Volksblad Arts Festival, offers a creative marketing platform that reaches professionals across the country. About 200 000 visitors are expected every year for the duration of the festival. These visitors like celebration, social contact and the arts. Featuring various shows including live music, dance shows, plays, classical concerts and films, the festival generates an interest in local art and music. During the festival productions that have never been seen before in South Africa will premiere. No wonder the festivals slogan is 'So much more'.
FRANSCHHOEK BASTILLE FESTIVAL
The Food & Wine Marquee is guaranteed to keep out the cold yet still offering exquisite views of the mountain. Sample Franschhoek wines on offer or tickle your taste buds with the selection of gourmet fare available to purchase from some of Franschhoek’s well-known eateries. Add the quirky caricature artist who captures your Bastille experience, the popular Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling Competition and a dedicated children’s area, and you have all the ingredients for a fun filled festival. Adding that extra pizzazz the village, a hive of festival activities, will be kitted out in its finest French flare.
BREEDEKLOOF SOETES & SOUP FESTIVAL
Spread over a number of wine farms in the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini, and Breede River areas, this decentralised event allows visitors to explore the Route 62 Winelands and taste the wide range of multi award-winning soetes (dessert wines) as well as a selection of yummy and interesting good-for-the-soul soups. Each estate will be offering up its own take on the theme, and there will be plenty of entertainment, like live music and markets, on the schedule.
CAPE TOWN FASHION WEEK
Luxury vehicle brand Mercedes Benz and African Fashion International (AFI) will team up once again to bring you the 2016 Cape Town Fashion Week. With multiple shows over the three-day period, the festival grants exemplary South African designers—both legends of the past and up-and-coming creatives—a platform to unveil their upcoming collections. The shows feature everything from glamorous garments, ready-to-wear pieces, wedding couture and the latest developments in menswear.
This year is the 22nd edition of Oppikoppi. Having started in the small bar to around four hundred people with Valiant and Koos, no one realised that this was just the tip of the icebox. OppiKoppi now hosts 7 fixed stages (and a few roving pieces of craziness), roughly 160 sets of music and entertainment, 20 000 rabid fans.
This is sheep country, and the last weekend in August in and around Calvinia, everything is in an uproar when the annual Meat Festival takes place. This year is the 25th annual festival and the main purpose is still the promotion of the delicious lamb of the region. Back then it was decided that the different cuts of the carcass in bite-size portions would be offered for sale by the various Farmers Associations of the district with the Calvinia Agricultural Union as umbrella body. Besides the usual meat dishes, music and arena entertainment is also included.
THE WINELANDS BRIDAL FAIR
The Cape’s most renowned bridal show is happening at Spier Wine Farm. Visit the show to get innovative ideas for your special day, or turn to the experts for advice on how to turn your wedding, birthday party, corporate event or other function into a memorable and spectacular event. There will be service providers on show covering just about all and any service or product you could think of to help plan for your big day. There will be fashion shows with designs by top South African designers, showcasing the latest in bridal Haute couture. If you like what you see, you can buy the designs straight off the runway!
WINELANDS CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL
The second Winelands Chocolate Festival takes place at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate. The aims of the event are to offer a new source of inspiration to enthusiasts, teaching attendees the secret behind chocolate making and the history of the much-loved treat. It also serves as a platform for upcoming and established chocolatiers, chocolate artists and patisseries; by revealing their potential, talents and creative talents to an appreciative audience. Highlights of the event include chocolate tastings from over 40 artisanal chocolatiers, patisseries and confectioners, demonstrations from some of South Africa's top chocolate professionals, stylish cake competitions, as well fashion shows displaying unique-occasion, evening wear and jewellery.
26 wineries and guesthouses from Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson will welcome visitors into their homes, to their dining tables and onto their farms for a food & wine experience—enjoyed SLOWLY. Guests can look forward to dinners at the homes of our winemaking families, cooking traditional Robertson Country Fare such as Waterblommetjie Bredie, "melktert", venison and Karoo Lamb. As always wine will be central to the weekend and you will have ample opportunity to meet with our winemakers to taste and discuss their wines. www.robertsonslow.com
HERMANUS WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL
Voted one of South Africa’s Top 10 Wine Festivals, this celebration brings together more than 65 of the premium wine and craft beer producers in South Africa. The atmosphere is electrifying and contagious with everything from gourmet food trucks, beer on tap and kids entertainment for the duration of the festival. As always, children are more than welcome and will be entertained in the special activity centre where they can play and partake in activities for free while you explore the offerings on show.