Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts
November every year marks the start of the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts, which take place every Sunday between November and April. The events are a summer staple in Cape Town, and make for some of the best evenings you can possibly have in the mother city. International acts take to the stage along with local bands. If you’re in Cape Town on a Sunday between November and April, gather your picnic baskets, friends, and family, and enjoy the best music South Africa has to offer in the shade of Table Mountain.
Kirstenbosch was the first botanical garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. The beds are filled with the glorious fynbos plants found nowhere else in the world. No matter what time of year you go, something is in flower, but the summer months are truly special. There are meandering pathways, forests, flowerbeds, and sprawling lawns to enjoy. The concert stage is at the base of a natural amphitheatre, and concert-goers sit on the rolling lawns with picnic baskets, cold bottles of wine, and blankets. Behind the stage, Table Mountain looms, and when the sun goes down the show gets going.
The concerts attract a large and diverse crowd. Locals love these summer concerts, and you’ll find people from all backgrounds and all ages here on these balmy Sunday evenings. There is some food on sale, but everyone arrives with cooler boxes, blankets, and incredible picnic spreads to enjoy. The music is as diverse as the crowd. Sometimes there are big international acts, while on other days you’ll catch everything from jazz and orchestral music to rock, pop, folk, and afro-fusion. It’s got all the makings of a big stadium gig, but the atmosphere is relaxed, and the crowd tends to be sprawled out on blankets. It’s also kid-friendly and great for a family outing.
The line-up is announced every year in November, so keep an eye on their website to make sure you’re in the know! Previous years have included such diverse performers as the late Hugh Masekela, Yusuf Cat Stevens, Angus and Julia Stone, Fokofpolisiekar, Ismaël Lô, Mango Groove, Freshly Ground, Morcheeba, Jeremy Loops, and Michael Buble, to name just a few. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra also performs annually, and if you’re here for Christmas don’t miss the carols by candlelight.
Food and drink
By far the best way to experience these concerts is armed with some good local wine and a picnic basket. You can pre-order picnics through Moyo, and there is a picnic to match all requirements, including vegetarian, pescatarian, and gluten-free options. This is a great way to minimise effort for yourself, although part of the fun is creating the perfect picnic. Visit the nearby wine estates in Constantia to stock up on drinks for the evening, and pop into Simon’s Deli at Groot Constantia to find picnic basket fillers like cheeses and meats.
Tickets go on sale every November when the line-up is announced and are available through Webtickets. Make sure you book early, because the shows are really popular!