Summer’s coming and here’s where to enjoy her bounty in the countryside
Hop to your preferred province.
10 December, Port Elizabeth
Once a month the Chicky’s Yard in Baakens Valley is taken over by food trucks. Enjoy an evening of great tasting food at bargain prices as well as live music. There’s everything from artisanal pizzas to Belgian waffles as well as some Asian cuisine and Halaal meals thrown in for good measure. For the caffeine enthusiasts, Chingchino will be serving cups of Joe, while the Richmond Hill Brewing Company will be your bartenders for the evening.
27 to 29 December, Port Elizabeth
The Ebubeleni Festival will once again get residents of the Friendly City on their feet, dancing and moving to the sounds of local artists from all genres. This year’s three-day event includes a line up of local artists like AKA, Kwesta and Sho Modhozi, as well as a selection of comedy shows featuring Trevor Gumbi and Skhumba Hlophe. The main event closes off the festival and brings the likes of Zonke Dikana and Vusi Nova to the stage to entertain audiences. Book your tickets online through Computicket.
Ficksburg Cherry Festival
21 to 23 November, Free State
Cherry fever hits Ficksburg when the oldest harvest in the country takes place in the foothills of the magnificent Maluti Mountains. Expect fruit pickings, tours, sports events, plenty of food and drink, and live entertainment.
Parys Christmas Market
14 to 23 December, Free State
Find unique handmade crafts, decorations, edible gifts and stocking fillers at this festive market. Then relax in the tea garden with coffee and cake after all that shopping.
Parys Christmas Market
+27 (0) 82 958 6312
If you’re looking for more Christmas Markets for the 2019 season, take a look at our helpful guide.
Irene Village Market
2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 November, Olifantsfontein
Browse locally made arts and crafts at a variety of stalls under the trees at The Big Red Barn on Sunlawns Estate. Usually held on the first and last Saturday of the month, more dates are scheduled in the lead-up to Christmas, so you can get your shopping done early.
The Gauteng Summer Cup
30 November, Johannesburg
This historical race day at Turffontein is now a family event, with not just horse racing but live entertainment and a carnival for kids. This year features a line-up of drum majorettes, a field band, a choir, dancers, and a performance by headline act Freshly Ground. There are also fashion shows to add to the fun.
30 November to 1 December, Johannesburg
Make the Christmas shopping experience an enjoyable affair at this festive edition of the market held at the Botanical Garden in Emmarentia. Take part in a cookie-making workshop, listen to carols and other live music, browse all sorts of locally made crafts and gifts, sip on cold bubbly and relax at the mobile spa.
Ngwenya Country Market
1 December, Muldersdrift
Bring along the kids to this family-friendly market, held at Ngwenya Glass Village on the first Sunday of every month. There’s a wide variety of items on sale, from decorative gifts, jewellery, body products and clothes to food and drink, as well as handmade glassware from the on-site shop.
Ngwenya Country Market
+27 (0) 82 497 6054
Melville Koppies Hikes
1, 8, 15 and 22 December, Johannesburg
Explore the outdoors, enjoying indigenous flora in bloom, on a three-hour hike in one of the city’s nature reserves. Choose between the 4km route with a guide on 1 and 15 December, or an 8km cross-koppie walk on 8 and 22 December.
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
+27 (0) 11 482 4797
3 to 8 December, Irene
Experience South African artisan creativity at its best when Kamers/Makers returns to Cornwall Hill College for the final market of the year. Shop till you drop as more than 200 local crafters showcase jewellery, homeware, fashion, food and more.
Peter Pan on Ice
6 December to 11 January, Johannesburg
Take a journey to Neverland in this classic tale of magic and make-believe, staged on ice at Montecasino. Championship-level skaters show off their athletic and artistic talents, along with special effects, to retell J M Barrie’s well-loved story.
Yoga Getaway @ Brookdale
1 to 7 December
Brookdale Health Hydro invites you to join them for a yoga getaway with instructor Solveig Gevers from 1 to 7 December. There will be daily yoga sessions with a special focus on Hatha yoga and Vinyasa. This retreat is for yoga enthusiasts of all levels and includes a 15-minute introduction with Solveig on the day of your arrival, followed by two yoga sessions each day and a final hour-long class on the day of your departure. You can opt for either the three-night package or the six-night package. To find out more, visit Brookdale Health Hydro.
Mom and Daughter Getaways @ Brookdale
8 to 11 December
Spend some time with Mom at Brookdale Health Hydro before the festive season gets into full swing. From 8 to 11 December, enjoy a cooking demo with the Brookdale team who will also be dishing out some nutritional guidance, a makeup workshop with LUMA and Clarins products, facial workshop with Guinot, Esse, Clarins and LUMA, as well as a surprise gift. To book, visit Brookdale Health Hydro.
Alice In Wonderland
29 November to 5 January
KickstArt Theatre Productions will showcase their take on Alice in Wonderland at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre this holiday season. Be ready to dive into the world of Lewis Carroll as this pantomime takes audiences on a journey through Wonderland. It promises to be great fun for the whole family.
Durban Botanic Gardens Trail of Lights
12 to 30 December, Durban
Enjoy a magical outdoor experience after dark when Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden is lit up by a trail of lights celebrating Christmas. Browse for gifts at the festive market before grabbing a bite in the food garden.
Taste of Tzaneen
31 October to 2 November
The Fairview Collection Tzaneen invites you to sample the culinary delights of Tzaneen at its annual foodie showcase. While food takes centre stage, there’ll be art, theatre, kids entertainment, discussion panels, comedy and live entertainment to keep you busy the whole weekend.
TOPS at Spar Wine Show
28 to 30 November, Nelspruit
Don’t miss the Pretoria leg of the TOPS at Spar Wine Show from 28 to 30 November at Emnotweni. This year’s line-up will include well-known and undiscovered wines from Cape Winelands so you can stock up that wine cellar.
Tickets are R185pp for general admission, which includes a tasting glass, show guide, access to wine theatres and unlimited tastings.
Nedbank Golf Challenge
14 to 17 November, Pilanesberg
Sun City will become the home of some heavy hitters in golf with the likes of Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood. Our very own Ernie Els will be teeing up alongside fellow South Africans Branden Grace, Louis Oostehuizen and Zander Lombard.
Food and Wine Fun Run
8 November, Upington
The Energy Lab Running Company invites you for a 7km run, walk or crawl through the vineyards and pecan nut plantation of Orange River Vineyards. What makes this so different to your normal run? There’ll be three stations offering up samples of some of Orange River Vineyards’ finest wines as well as bite-sized snacks. The non-drinkers and under 18s haven’t been forgotten as the Grape Juice Range will also be on offer.
I See U: Imagining a Space for Freedom Art Exhibition
Until 30 November, Stellenbosch
To celebrate 25 years of democracy, more than 35 artworks from the Spier Collection are showcased in the estate’s Old Wine Cellar. The exhibition encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, beadwork and drawing by artists who illustrate the importance of art as a social movement.
Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival 2019
9 November to 9 December
Get to the Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival for a movie event that’ll excite beach bums, surfers and marine enthusiasts. From 9 November to 9 December, the festival will screen over 30 surf and ocean films at 10 venues across Cape Town and False Bay. While movie screenings take centre stage, Wavescape will also host beach clean-ups, a master class in ocean filmmaking, panel discussions and talks, art exhibition and charity auction. Last year the event raised nearly R1 million for various organisations; this year’s proceeds will be donated to the National Sea Rescue Institute, Shark Spotters, the 9 Miles Project, Ocean Pledge, Beach Co-op, South African Adaptive Surfing and Sentinel Ocean Alliance.
Darling Scarecrow Festival
22 November to 1 December, Western Cape
Spot as many scarecrows as you can dotted around the village’s streets, as the Swartland celebrates harvest time. Enjoy a farmers market, specials at local wine estates, the brewery and restaurants, and a scarecrow party with an auction for a good cause.
Così fan Tutte
29 November, Darling
Mozart’s opera takes a West Coast setting, as two sets of lovers discover what real love is at a local seaside resort. Enjoy a treasure-chest of arias and comedic acting by performers from UCT and its world-renown opera school, over sundowners at Evita se Perron.
Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival
30 November to 1 December, Western Cape
Enjoy sipping on a selection of Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) and French Champagnes with spectacular scenery as a backdrop at the iconic Huguenot Monument. Delicious food on offer is from Franschhoek eateries, and there’s a prize for the best-dressed couple in their finest blue and white regalia.
Origin of Trails MTB Experience
30 November to 1 December, Stellenbosch
Mountain-biking enthusiasts of all ages can test their pedal power on a vast network of world-class trails that highlight the natural beauty of the City of Oaks, while celebrating the origin of MTB in South Africa. Distances include a 50-60km marathon, a 28-30km half-marathon and a 10km fun ride.
Perdeberg Braai Picnics
Relax in the tranquil setting of Perdeberg winery at the foot of the Paardeberg mountain, with a bottle of wine and the restaurant’s braai picnic. Serving two, the box includes lamb chops, chicken kebabs, skilpadjies (liver wrapped in fat), potato salad, roosterkoek with figs and camembert, and cappuccino tarts for dessert. Served all year round, but booking 48 hours ahead is essential.
+27 (0) 21 020 162; [email protected]
Nederburg Open Air Cinema
7 December, Paarl
Sit back under the stars on the lawns of Nederburg in the company of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, with an outdoor screening of romantic comedy Notting Hill. The estate’s award-winning wines and an array of delicious eats are on sale at the event, organised by The Galileo Open Air Cinema.
7 December, Murraysburg
Take in some of the Karoo’s breathtaking mountains, plains and rock formations in this cycling event through the Sneeuberg. The routes are 32km, 50km and 100km, where stopping to enjoy the country hospitality on the way is recommended.
[email protected]; +27 (0) 72 868 6299
Spier Light Art Show
8 December to 19 January, Stellenbosch
Be dazzled when an array of light artworks by some of South Africa’s leading artists is switched on at dusk at the historic wine farm. The 18 installations – some playful, some poignant – are scattered across the estate. Look out for David Brits’ 70-metre glowing shape, suspended in one of the oldest oaks on the Spier Werf.
10 to 21 December, George
Do some last-minute Christmas shopping at this indoor market on the Garden Route, with 150 exhibitors offering unique, handmade products. Special events include the Lof en Liggies opening night, when you can sing along to Christmas classics, and a dog walk for charity on 14 December. There’s also a children’s play area.
Discoveries from Africa Exhibition
From 11 December, Plettenberg Bay
Inspired by her travels through Africa, Binky Newman, founder of Design Afrika, is curating this exhibition with The Old House Shop owner Suzie Ovenstone. Baskets, jewellery, bags, photography, ceramics, furniture and other African designs are on show and for sale at The White House, with part of the proceeds going to the Tikki Hywood Foundation to protect pangolins.
+27 (0) 21 448 9761; [email protected]
Gabriëlskloof Favourite Things Market
13 to 15 December, Bot River
Exhibitors at this annual pop-up affair at Gabriëlskloof wine estate are offering all things handmade, delicious, fresh and beautiful. Think leather goods, floral wreaths, plants, artisanal bakes, ceramics and silk clothing. After shopping, indulge in a glass of bubbly and tasty eats in the majestic Overberg setting.
Eden Kite Festival
13 to 16 December, Garden Route
Witness the spectacle of colourful kites of all shapes and sizes dancing across the skies of the Garden Route. The event begins with an afternoon preview on Myoli Beach in Sedgefield on 13 December, before the local and international kiters move to the Sasol Highway Garage on the N2 near George on 14 December, and to Knysna High School’s fields on 15 and 16 December.
Groote Post Christmas Market
15 December, Darling
Expect delectable offerings including local artisan foods, arts and crafts, as well as homeware and decor at this Christmas-themed market at the West Coast wine estate. In addition to shopping, eating and drinking, there are prizes to be won, live music and a play area for kids.
Potter’s Lunch and Summer Open Studio
16 December, Swellendam
To mark the start of the summer holiday season, potters David Schlapobersky and Felicity Potter are hosting an open studio and lunch at their heritage house Bukkenberg in Swellendam. Sit back on the veranda while feasting on a buffet lunch, all served on the studio’s iconic tableware. The gallery is open throughout the holiday season.
+27(0) 28 514 1644, [email protected]
Birding and Biodiversity Walks and Talks
18 to 20 December, Garden Route National Park
If you’re holidaying on the Garden Route, join the SANParks Honorary Rangers: Wilderness Region for their annual birding and biodiversity walks and talks. Led by local guides, it’s the ideal opportunity to learn about nature and conservation in one of South Africa’s prettiest, and diverse, ecosystems.
+27 (0) 83 576 4064; [email protected]
Submitting an Event
Our Diary pages are carefully curated and showcase events from around the South African countryside. If you’d like to submit your event for consideration, please email your event’s details along with a photo to [email protected].