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! The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra performs annually, and if you’re here for Christmas don’t miss the carols by candlelight. See the full 2019/2020 line-up below:
|24 Nov 2019||Crimson House/Southern Wild||R170/p – R220/p|
|1 Dec 2019||Black Motion/Amanda Black||R170/p – R220/p|
|8 Dec 2019||Watershed||R170/p – R220/p|
|12, 13, 14, 15 Dec||*Christmas Carols – Hosted Rotary Club||R25/p – R125/p|
|22 Dec 2019||Shekinah/Unathi||R170/p – R220/p|
|29 Dec 2019||Goldfish||R170/p – R220/p|
|Tue 31 Dec 2019||*NYE: Freshlyground /Nomadic Orchestra/Native Young||R435/p|
|5 Jan 2020||Jimmy Nevis/Craig Lucas/Paxton Fielies||R170/p – R220/p|
|12 Jan 2020||Mi Casa||R170/p – R220/p|
|19 Jan 2020||The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra||R170/p – R220/p|
|26 Jan 2020||Goodluck/Tresor||R170/p – R220/p|
|2 Feb 2020||Kwesta/Sjava||R170/p – R220/p|
|8 Feb 2020||*Yo-Yo Ma (International Concert)||R900/p|
|9 Feb 2020||AKA||R170/p – R220/p|
|16 Feb 2020||Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival||R170/p – R220/p|
|23 Feb 2020||Spoegwolf/Jo Black||R170/p – R220/p|
|1 Mar 2020||Matthew Mole||R170/p – R220/p|
|8 Mar 2020||Prince Kaybee/Sho Madjozi||R170/p – R220/p|
|15 Mar 2020||Sun El Musician and Simmy/Lady Zamar||R170/p – R220/p|
|22 Mar 2020||Cape Town Opera||R170/p – R220/p|
|29 Mar 2020||Jeremy Loops||R170/p – R220/p|
|5 Apr 2020||Andrew Young and Don Vino|
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!