Cape Town comes alive over the festive season with plenty of events to choose from. In fact, we’re so spoilt for choice you might struggle to actually settle on which ones to attend. Here are some events in Cape Town over December we strongly recommend you don’t miss.
Carols by candlelight
Held over four nights in the middle of December, the carols at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens 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!
If you are looking for a free carolling experience, the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre will play host to the Apostle Choristers on 21 December 2016 from 7-8pm, and the Cape Town Gospel Choir on 23 December 2016 at the same time.
When: 15-18 December
Where: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
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 – this year it’s ‘The Musical’ – 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.
When: 17 December
Where: Cape Town CBD
More info: www.mcqp.co.za
NYE at the V&A Waterfront
New Year’s Eve at the V&A Waterfront is close to legendary in the Mother City and this year it promises to build on the success of last year’s spectacular event by bringing Earth, Wind, Fire and Water alive across the across the iconic area, in enchanting entertainment zones that give revellers a different experience around each corner.
Each of the four activation zones will be individually themed to give visitors uniquely colourful and entertaining experiences, as they move around the waterfront this New Year’s Eve.
The various zones will spring to life from 6.30pm onwards, with activities and entertainment from buskers, cirque performances, roaming musicians, singers and live bands, to dance performances, floats, entertainers, and much more. More than 80 restaurants and eateries will be open on the evening, and additional food trucks will be nestled across the property to cater for all manner of hunger pangs on the night.
The night will be capped off with a spectacular fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.
When: 31 December
Where: V&A Waterfront
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