Christmas in Cape Town

Cape Town may be some distance from Santa’s workshop in the North Pole, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the Christmas holidays here. Sure, you’ll have to trade in the snow for some soft white beach sand, but sunny Christmases can be magical too!

Christmas markets

Christmas shopping can be tiresome, especially when you could be lying on Clifton beach or hiking up Table Mountain. Markets are a fun and social way to get your shopping done, and Cape Town’s markets are downright delightful.

If you’re the organised type (who doesn’t leave shopping for the last minute), you might want to check out the events happening in early December. Cape Gift Market is held at the Sea Point City Hall and has been running for over a decade, and the Stellenbosch Kersmark features crafts and baked goods from over 180 artists and crafters.

Mid-December offers up the Fab Ideas Christmas Market in Kommetjie, and the Lourensford Christmas Market, where you can sip on a glass of wine between browsing through gifts and stocking your pantry with yummy festive foods.

If you’ve left gift-buying to the last minute, the Pinelands Craft and Gift Fair runs until 22 December 2017. There, you’ll find handcrafted cards and decorations, treats, woodwork, jewellery, plants, clothing and even vintage furniture.


Festival of Lights

Every December, Adderley Street in Cape Town is lit up by hundreds of festive lights. While you can go and check out the lights any night during the festive season, it’s worth making the effort to get to the official turning-on of the lights, which usually happens on the first Sunday of December, when Adderley Street plays host to a huge free street party.

There are stalls lining the street selling everything from food to Christmas gifts, and a live concert kicks off mid-afternoon. When the sun sets, the mayor officially turns on the lights, and Adderley Street—Cape Town’s historic main road—is lit up by colourful lights depicting some of the city’s history as well as Christmas themes.

adderley st lights

Carols by candlelight

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is the most obvious choice if you are looking to unleash your inner chorister. Held over four nights in the middle of December, the carols at Kirstenbosch are a fundraising initiative of the Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch.  The tradition, which has been running for 26 years, sees families picnicking on the beautiful lawns whilst being entertained by various popular musicians. When the sun sets, glow sticks (not candles) are handed out, and the carols begin. Over the four days, this event attracts 20,000 visitors, so be sure to buy your tickets early!

The V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre usually hosts a choir around Christmas time too, and a number of wine farms also host carol events. In the past, Steenburg in Tokai, Laborie in Paarl, Vergelegen in Somerset West, and Durbanville Hills in Durbanville have all held Christmas-themed singalongs.

Kirstenbosch Carols

For more information on what’s happening in Cape Town over the festive season visit our events section.

See pics of Christmas done Cape Town style, and share your own using #lovecapetown!