Spring has sprung, the grass is riz. I wonder where the boidies is. The boids is on the wing! Don’t be absoid! Da wings is on the boid!
In case you hadn’t noticed, the country has come to life – trees are in leaf, flowers are in bloom, the birds are a nest-making, people are furiously spring cleaning and decorating, and the temperatures (unless you live in Cape Town) are soaring into the upper twenties.
As if to mirror this burning urge to experience life to the full, and to get out of doors to appreciate the change in season, there are plenty of events around the country. Every one of these South African events is worth a visit…
Regarded as the premier arts festival in KwaZulu Natal, the annual Hilton Arts Festival is a feast of theatre, music, dance, craft and visual art in the quintessentially English country village of Hilton, on the escarpment above Pietermarizburg. Hilton College’s theatre serves as the main stage whilst the distinctly Tudor-style architecture, broad tree-lined streets, window boxes brimming with flowers and another nine venues across campus form the backdrop to the line-up of drama, comedy, music, cabaret and an arts and craft market.
When: 17-20 September
2. TASTE OF JO’BURG
The top restaurants of South Africa’s Place of Gold bring you trend-setting signature dishes. Taste of Jo’burg is an adventure of the pallet where restaurants, award-winning wineries, premium drinks’ brands and extraordinary exhibitors come together to bring you ‘tastes’ that appeal to every palate and diet. The event is held at the Montecasino outdoor event area in Fourways.
When: 25-28 September
The town that boasts the best land-based whale watching in the world holds an annual Enviro-Arts festival to celebrate the return of the southern right whales into Walker Bay, Hermanus. It’s a one-of-a-kind, two-day event to watch whales and enjoy live music, comedy, cabaret and African rhythms every night. Why wouldn’t you?
When: 2-4 October
The first weekend in October is worth spending in Hogsback for not only do you get to experience a line-up of multi-cultural events by locals of the Eastern Cape who bring music, dance, poetry, cultural cuisine, stand-up comedy, jazz, opera, blues, rhythm and art to the little village in the mountains, but you can also visit beautiful gardens and indigenous forest trails. A guided tour leaves the visitor information centre every morning at 10am, or you can do a self-guided tour of the gardens.
When: 2-4 October
Potchefstroom has played host to the Clover Aardklop National Arts Festival since 1998. The cultural festival provides a stage for predominantly Afrikaans theatre, dance, music, cabaret, and visual arts in venues around the university town. Open air performances and a huge craft market form part of the event that draws no fewer than 140 000 people. There is also a series of free performances. Book your accommodation way in advance to avoid disappointment.
When: 6-10 October
6. GRAHAMSTOWN FLOWER FESTIVAL
The Makana Botanical Gardens is the venue for the annual festival of floral displays that include a huge array of colourful flowers and plants in the gardens’ marquee. There are workshops, a plant sale and open gardens throughout the City of Saints. Grahamstown, once the second largest city in the Cape, is a vivid combination of broad tree-lined streets, historical buildings, museums and a plethora of churches. If you are a flower lover book your accommodation way in advance.
When: 10-11 October
The Cape knows how to celebrate its wines and, in this case, the Breede River forms the backdrop to over 300 wines from 42 different wineries. Live music, arts and crafts, cheese, olive, chocolate, coffee, nougat tasting and wine sold on site at cellar prices promises a good weekend.
When: 16-18 October
The Namakwa hots up as local artists, and their audience, head to the town of Springbok – the area’s major town that usually functions as a stopover for those en route to Namibia. A line-up of local arts and music talent combines with a beer tent, a market for local goods and an art gallery. Well-known local dance company, Dance Garage, will give a special Nama-GÔi production.
When: 29-31 October
9. FRANSCHHOEK OPEN GARDENS
Few people need an excuse to visit one of the Western Cape’s most popular towns – the French corner of the Cape is not only the food and wine capital of the country but is also alive with restored historical buildings, plays host to numerous festivals, including the Literary Festival in May every year, and has some of the most beautiful gardens to boot. Visit 10 of the town’s most spectacular gardens as they burst into bloom.
When: 30 October-1 November
The village of Riebeek Kasteel on the slopes of the Kasteelberg has worked its charm on many Capetonian artists, writers and alternate life-stylers, which means the peaceful village exudes an energy of its own over and above its reputation for olives and Shiraz. It hosts the annual Swartland Revolution, a weekend that combines visitors from European and American, who come for the wine trade, and a celebration known as the Real Men Ferment Wild Festival. Go for the weekend!
When: 6-7 November
11. THE BIG WALK
One of Cape Town’s largest and oldest mass participation sporting events, the Discovery Cape Times Big Walk sees thousands of people step out for the good of others. Walking anything from 5km to 80km there is a walk for everyone. Entry fees go to charity and beneficiaries include CANSA, Steenberg Foundation and Nazareth House.
When: 8 November
The combination of perfect bike trails and some of the most spectacular and immaculate scenery on offer in the country is too much to resist. This year is the second annual Magoebaskloof MTB Classic at the foot of the northern tip of the Drakensberg Mountains. The Afromontane forests and dramatic landscape of the Magoebaskloof – its misty mornings, constant bird calls, lush gardens, and mountain peaks – form the perfect backdrop for a popular sport.
When: 14 November