From jazz festivals to kite flying contests, gay pride to Mozart festivals and minstrel carnivals, South African festivals celebrate everything under the sun.
Check out our guide to South African festivals to start planning your agenda.
January: Cape Town Minstrel Carnival (Cape Town)
Annual street parade dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, when slaves in Cape Town were given one day off per year. Music and dancing with songs dating back to the 1800’s. Held 2 January 2018.
January-February: Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (Johannesburg)
Originally organized in 2006 in commemoration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday anniversary, the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival has developed into a highly successful and well-loved annual classical music event. Runs 26 January-4 February 2018.
February-March: Cape Town Pride (Cape Town)
The ever-increasing success of Pride in Cape Town draws many visitors to the city. There is a procession with floats through the CBD and numerous parties are dedicated to gay and lesbian lifestyles. Runs 23 February-3 March.
March-April: Cape Town International Jazz Festival (Cape Town)
Also known as Africa’s Grandest Gathering, the annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the culmination of world-renowned musicians providing a cohesive star-studded line-up. It was formerly known as the North Sea Jazz Festival, which was created by Dutch Jazz promoter Paul Acket. Runs 23-24 March 2018.
March-April: Splashy Fen Music Festival (Durban)
Runs 29 March-2 April.
March-April: Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees – Oudtshoorn
Runs 29 March-4 April 2018.
April: South African Cheese Festival (Stellenbosch)
Culinary local cheese/agriculture festival. Runs 27-29 April.
May-June: Wacky Wine Weekend (Robertson)
Local food and wine festival. Runs 31 May-3 June 2018.
June: Big Five Marathon (Limpopo Province)
Held right alongside the African savannah’s impressive wildlife, this event allows runners from all over the world to meet in one of the most spectacular “Big Five” game reserves and race to the finish. The next event takes place 23 June 2018.
June: Innibos (Nelspruit)
Popular music festival. Runs 27-30 June 2018.
June-July: National Arts Festival (Grahamstown)
Performing arts festival. Runs 28 June-8 July.
July–August: Jive Cape Town Funny Festival (Cape Town)
Popular comedy festival presenting the best South African comedians and the famous international variety acts on the same stage. Runs 9 July-5 August.
October: Aardklop (Potchefstroom)
Founded in 1998, this arts festival held in Potchefstroom celebrates Afrikaans theatre, dance and other art forms. The 2018 edition of this South African festival takes place from 2 to 7 October.
October: Macufe Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Bloemfontein)
“Brings you the best of the best in all genres.” Runs 5-7 October 2018.
October: Cape Town International Kite Festival (Cape Town)
Kite festival held in October. Runs 28-29 October 2018.
October: Oppikoppi (Northam)
Music festival in the desert. Unconfirmed dates in October 2018 – TBC.
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