Festivals in South Africa are like a family affair where everyone comes together on the streets to enjoy themselves. You get to experience the immense diversity of the country from culture to language at the festivals. Music festivals, cultural exhibitions, culinary festivals and more make South Africa a vibrant country. So, hear the sound of drums, taste the local cuisine and sip chilled wine as you take part in the festivity on a holiday. We have listed the 10 top amazing festivals and what you can expect.
Top 10 Festivals In South Africa
1. South Africa’s Cheese Festival
This is a wonderful culinary outdoor festival in South Africa. You get to taste a varied selection of cheeses from local and international brands. The bubbly atmosphere and varied cheese flavours are delightful. You also get an incredible range of beverages such as beer, wine, gin and more that pair well with the cheese eateries. There is live music, concerts and an air of festivity. This is a complete day out with family and friends where you can enjoy, relax and have a jolly day.
2. Cape Town Minstrel Festival
The festival is an annual celebration of the New Year in Cape Town. It is also called Kaapse Klopse or Tweede Nuwe Jaar Minstrel Parade. Be among thousands of people that parade through the streets dressed up in glittering clothes. Watch the groups’ parade and perform for you in a festive mood. The event has its roots in colonial South Africa. Learn about the tradition, culture and colourful Bo Kaap history. Revel in the joy, colour and enjoyment.
Where: Cape Town
3. The National Arts Festival
This is one of the famous festivals in South Africa. Here is where gatherings of popular artists from around the world meet. The event showcases some of the best art pieces on the African continent. The platform sees an immense gathering of visitors as it provides and encourages innovation and development in the field of art. There are opportunities for collaboration with international artists and networking with a world audience.
When: June, July
4. Jive Cape Town Funny Festival
This is a famous comedy festival in South Africa that you should experience. Famous international and the best South African comedians act on the same stage. From stand-up comedy, comic performances to variety acts play out in this month-long winter festival. The month of July in Cape Town is a good time to visit South Africa for lots of laughter moments and fun at the festival.
Where: Cape Town
5. Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE)
MACUFE is a fabulous cultural festival with theatre productions, arts & crafts exhibitions, beauty pageants and more. The Sparta Macufe Cup is the highlight of the Macufe Festival and is much anticipated. Soccer fans unite at the Free State Stadium to watch the games. There is also a variety of music performances from jazz, gospel, hip-hop, kwaito, rock to R&B that you can enjoy. The stadium fills with over 140,000 people that come to see the entertainment and festivities.
6. Cape Town International Kite Festival
Look out for brightly coloured lights on the lawns of the Zandvlei Nature Reserves. Visitors come to see the array of kites from across the world. The Cape Town International Kite Festival attracts many in October. This is a flagship event run by Capetown Mental Health to raise funds. It is Africa’s oldest and largest kite festival with the theme of ‘let hope fly’. It is a perfect platform to raise awareness on mental health issues and promises to be a day of fun in the sun.
Where: Cape Town
7. Johannesburg International Mozart Festival
The festival originally began to commemorate Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birth anniversary in 2006. Today the festival has grown in scale into a well-loved annual festival. This is when classical musicians come together in Johannesburg which is a much-loved affair. You get to experience world-class classical concerts and learn about educational initiatives. There are also community-driven programs and projects. It is one of the most exciting and innovative music festivals in the country.
When: January – February
8. Splashy Fen Music Festival
Enjoy this longest-running and oldest South Africa’s music festival within a world heritage site, Drakensberg. April month sees the famous music festival come alive in Durban that celebrates art, music, and life. Indulge in laughter, fun and enjoyment as the music festival will enthrall you. The annual festival began two decades ago and attracts visitors to a farm on the Easter weekend. The farm is some 18 km from Underberg in the scenic Southern Drakensberg region. The outdoor festival sees thousands of people head to the mountain region. So, be among them to have a marvellous time.
9. Wacky Wine Weekend
The festival should be part of your itinerary on a South Africa holiday. The wine festival is set in the Robertson wine valley that has beautiful vistas. Local cuisine, arts & crafts and award-winning wine pairing sessions happen during the festival. The beautiful valley comes alive with music, sports and tasting tours. You can buy a passport that will allow you entry into all the venues for the entire weekend of the festival. There are ‘Friends of the Valley’ redeemable vouchers that can be used after the Wacky Wine Weekend. So, enjoy the kids’ entertainment, pony rides, olive tasting, live music, barrel rolling competitions and more.
Where: Robertson Wine Valley
When: May- June
10. Big Five Marathon
The spectacular marathon goes through one of the famous wildlife sanctuaries situated on the savannahs of Africa. The challenging route takes you through the habitat of the African game in Entabeni Game Reserve. The event gets its name from the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. Runners from all over the world meet at this wildlife reserve where the event is held among the African wildlife. You get a combination of a marathon and an African safari experience. Between the marathons, you will have plenty of opportunities to see the wildlife and an abundance of birdlife of Africa.
Where: Entabeni Game Reserve