Where are you spending New Year’s Eve? At a party, a celebration? Or somewhere more gentle – just you, a couple of friends, and a bottle of bubbly?
If, like me, you’ve left your New Year’s Eve plans for the last minute – here are a couple of places to spend New Year’s Eve:
Best places to spend New Year’s Eve in South Africa…
Why go: Because it must be one of few cities in the world where you can celebrate the new year up on one of the city’s magnificent mountains.
Whilst Table Mountain Cable Way no longer allows revellers up to the top to ring in the New Year (last cable car down is 21.30), you can quite easily drive to one of the higher vantage points on Signal Hill and Table Mountain and watch the V&A Waterfront firework display from your car, or your picnic spot (Signal Hill is particularly popular for this reason).
Don’t let the party stop there, because there are the local beaches, like Camps Bay and Clifton, where candlelit parties continue into the wee hours (Secrets of Summer New Year’s Eve Beach Party is at Maiden’s Cove). And the following morning’s Minstrel Carnival, where colourfully dressed brass band enthused parades follow a 7km route from Rose Street, District Six, to Greenpoint Stadium where the real party only begins.
Where to stay: the Waterfront is your best bet if you want to be in the heart of the festivities. Otherwise, try the City Bowl or Tamboerskloof. A more sedate option, but undoubtedly one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve, is the Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch – for that you’ll need to stay in Newlands.
Why go: For a more gentle, yet no less inebriated, celebration of all that is good. The winelands lie within easy reach of Cape Town and a couple of days here are tantamount to a ‘weekend in the country’ style New Year’s Eve celebration.
Down time in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, and Tulbagh will ease you into 2018 with emphasis on food, wine and good company (particularly if you go with a group of friends). Once stationed in the winelands, you can plan your daily wine tastings based on the wine routes of the town of your choice.
Where to stay: Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, because of their historical merit and beauty, are two of the winelands’ most popular towns, but don’t discount Du Toitskloof, Groot Drakenstein, the little town of Klapmuts, Pniel and Simondium when looking for that perfect place to stay.
Why go: Because when it comes to big bash parties, no-one does it quite like Jo’burg. The city skyline, the clubs, the pubs, the restaurants and the vibe combine to make this time of year in the cosmopolitan city a great place to be, no matter what your kind of celebration needs.
From the Soweto Cricket Oval traditional countdown (Johannesburg’s answer to Time Square) through outdoor tent parties like Madison Rivonia, and Afropunk’s Constitution Hill Weekend Music Bliss, to more sedate parties like GiniJozi Long Table Dinner where food and gin pairing get you in the mood the night before (30 December).
Why go: Because there is nothing like late nights on balmy beaches with warm waters to make you feel free of life’s burdens and open to new and fresh ideas.
A bottle of bubbly merely rounds off the experience. When it comes to beachside evenings, South Africa’s Sunshine Coast has got it taped, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The Sunshine Coast covers a substantial part of the Eastern Cape’s coastline, including Port Elizabeth and the quintessential seaside towns of Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Alfred.
Where to stay: Port Alfred, Kenton On Sea, Richmond Hill and Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth, Cape St Francis or even Bathurst (admittedly not on the coast, but it’s historical character and laidback attitude to life make it a great place to stay).
Why go: Because this cute as a button little Karoo town, snuggled in amidst the Sneeuberg Mountains, knows how to celebrate New Year’s Eve. People gather here from all over the country, and further afield, to celebrate the Festival of Lights – a procession through town up to Pienaarsig and back again, holding aloft burning paper lanterns.
It’s beautiful, calm and magical and perfect for those of you who bring New Year’s in with a gentle outbreath.