While there is plenty to do in Cape Town all year round, summer is the season when the Mother City truly shines. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to pencil in a few of these fabulous events.
Season of Sauvignon
This is one for the lovers of Sauvignon Blanc! The Durbanville Wine Route is fast becoming one Cape Town’s destinations of choice with its scenic vineyards, award-winning wines and friendly atmosphere. Delve into the joys of this celebrated varietal and be among the first people to purchase the Durbanville Twelve Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – produced by the Durbanville Wine Valley from a ton of grapes from each of the farms in the valley.
Last year’s inaugural event won a Klink award in the ‘Crowd Pleaser’ category for Best Wine Route Event and the 2016 version promises to deliver on its predecessor’s winning form! With all 12 of the valley’s prestigious wine farms participating, you’re guaranteed a truly unique and festive experience.
When: October 29-30
Where: Durbanville Wine Valley
Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series
Okay, so this is more a series of events than a single event… but, trust us, you’ll want to go to more than one. Every Sunday evening, the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden plays host to a music concert. Pack a picnic – or purchase a picnic hamper from one of the Kirstenbosch restaurants – and find yourself a spot on the grassy slope in front of the stage. Gates open at 4pm and the concerts usually start around 5.30pm.
The line-up tends to feature hot local artists and bands such as Freshlyground, Goldfish, Jimmy Nevis, Jeremy Loops and Al Bairre. Just before Christmas, you can even take part in a little carol singing. The music is guaranteed to be good and the relaxed summer ambiance even better!
When: November – April
Where: Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
More info: www.sanbi.org
Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival
Champagne! Need we say more? Probably not, but that would seem unprofessional. A celebration of all things bubbly, this annual festival gives you the opportunity to taste some of the best Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) that South Africa has to offer, as well as a range of imported champagnes. MCC – in case you are not familiar with the name – is the South African version of champagne and it is every bit as delicious! Because the festival takes places in one of the best foodie spots in the country, you can also expect some top-notch nosh.
When: Early December
Where: Franschhoek’s Huguenot Monument
More info: www.franschhoekmcc.co.za
Mother City Queer Project Party
For over two decades, the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) has been painting the town red… and orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet! The theme of the party changes each year – in 2015 it was Candyland – and figuring out what you’re going to wear is half the fun. Well, maybe not half the fun; after all, this is a party that stretches out over eight music areas and offers up over a hundred international DJs, artists and performers. Roughly 9000 partygoers attend each year, so if you don’t get your hands on a ticket, FOMO is inevitable.
Where: Cape Town CBD
More info: www.mcqp.co.za
Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
Forget New Year’s Eve, the biggest party in Cape Town actually happens on the 2nd of January – or Tweede Nuwe Jaar. In a tradition that harks back to the days of slavery (when slaves were granted one day off each year), thousands of minstrels take to the streets of Cape Town’s CBD to celebrate culture and history unique to the Cape. The celebration, which is locally known as the Kaapse Klopse, sees troupes of minstrels – dressed in colourful satin uniforms and sporting face-paint, hats and parasols – competing against each other in their signature ghoema musical style. If you’re keen to watch, find a spot on Darling, Adderley, Wale or Rose streets.
Once they are done marching through Cape Town, the troupes and various Cape Malay Choirs head to the stadium Green Point where the competition begins in earnest. The battle for much-coveted honours stretches out over several Saturdays in January.
When: 2 January
Where: Cape Town CBD
The Sun Met
Drawing crowds of up to 50 000, the Sun Met is undoubtedly one of the highlights on Cape Town’s social calendar. Think beautiful people, flamboyant fashion, and the chance of winning big. The Sun Met, which has been around in one form or another since 1883, is as much about the revelry as it is about the horses. While it helps to know a trifecta from a ‘pick six’, there’s so much more to the day – including a best-dressed competition – than betting on the horses. There’s always a theme, so be sure to dress the part.
If you’re after something a little more elegant, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, which takes place earlier in January, is a sophisticated blue-and-white affair where horses meet haute couture, vintage cars, and fine wine.
When: End of January
Where: Kenilworth Racecourse
More info: sunmet.co.za
Stellenbosch Wine Festival
The Stellenbosch Wine Festival kicks off with a Harvest Parade through the streets of Stellenbosch. While the main attraction of the festival is the three-day Wine Expo – where you can taste hundreds of wines in a single day – many of the members of the Stellenbosch Wine Route also host intimate experiences such as farm tours, specialty tastings, and bespoke dinners. Sample the signature dishes of Stellenbosch’s top restaurants at Gourmet Lane; take part in the grape stomping and barrel rolling competitions; and enjoy a glass of your favourite vino while listening to some local music.
When: End of January/early February
Get more info: https://www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za/
Cape Town International Summer Music Festival
If you’re looking for an excuse to visit Cape Town’s beautiful City Hall, this is it. Even those who can’t tell Beethoven from Brahms are bound to be enchanted by this classical music fest. Presented by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the festival showcases some of the finest violinists and pianists in the world. Every weekly show features a different soloist accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Catch one show or catch them all!
Where: Cape Town City Hall
Get more info: www.cpo.org.za
- For a full list of events in Cape Town, visit our What’s On section.