Living in Cape Town – The 15 best days
Just about any time spent living in Cape Town is better than living anywhere else (yes, I am unashamedly biased). Even so, there are some days that are even better than others. Guess that’s why we love living here so much…
Cape Minstrel Carnival day
Not content with celebrating new year once, Capetonians take a day to recover and then hit the streets again for Tweede Nuwe Jaar, also known as the Coon Carnival or Kaapse Klopse (‘Minstrel Carnival’ is the PC version) – the city’s longest-running street party, on 2 January.
First day of snow on the mountain
Table Mountain seldom sees snow. When it does, Cape Town goes into overdrive and social media sees an inordinate amount of traffic as everyone posts their photos and talks about how brrrrr cold it is!
In Cape Town people like to tackle Lion’s Head on a clear evening at Full Moon. The idea is to scramble the heights as fast as possible in the rays of the dying sun and to greet the full moon from the summit, having braved the chain ladders – picnic and champagne intact.
Grown up Halloween
Strictly speaking South Africans have only begun celebrating Halloween recently, but Cape Town goes all out with their dress up neighbourhood parties. Look out for the South Africa Horrorfest at the Labia and the Great Cape Town Zombie Walk, amongst others.
Harfield Village Street Carnival day
Second Avenue in the quirky southern suburb of Claremont comes alive with nigh on 250 stalls (food, crafts), live music, fun for the kids, craft beers, wine and art. A great family vibe on the last Saturday of March. The pedestrianised streets transforms as the neighbourhood celebrates.
International Kite Festival
Africa’s biggest kite festival held annually in Muizenberg on the lawns of Zandvlei. The wind usually howls, there is no parking and the kites for the most part blow from here to next year in the howling Cape Doctor. But it’s so much fun…
Last day of Ramadan
The day when Capetonians going without food during the day can finally end their fast and hit Bismillah restaurant in Bo Kaap, Sea Point or Gatesville for a feast, whilst the rest of us practice our Eid Mubarak on social media.
Miss Gay Western Cape
The day people in Cape Town get to see the city’s glam drag queens strut their stuff at the Baxter.
Shakespeare at Maynardville opening night
Cape Town’s annual Shakespeare in the Park, this open air theatre set in amongst the trees has attracted the crowds to Wynberg’s celebrated park for 58 years and continues to do so. Expect anything from As You Like It to Richard III. Capetonians do this in style, taking champagne picnics to the banks of the pond ahead of the show. Opening night sees the who’s who of the theatre world in Wynberg.
Suidoosterfees opening day
Performance, music, historical tours, art exhibitions and a feast of Kaapse lifestyle and cultural events and the that pay tribute to Cape Town and all her people in the last weekend of January, including the annual celebration of the Afrikaans language. Expect anything from Athol Fugard to the Gugulethu Tenors.
The annual Cape Argus Cycle Tour (that is actually a one-day race), the first event outside of Europe included in the International Cycling Union’s Golden Bike Series, sees as many as 35 000 cyclists ride the 109 km circular route from Cape Town to the Cape Peninsula and back. Capetonians come out in their droves either to ride, or support friends along the route, as traffic comes to a standstill.
The Big Walk
Yet another sporting institution of the city, the Big Walk involves thousands of violently swinging hips as Capetonians of every age and size pit themselves against one of 10 routes at various starting points around the peninsula. Anything from 5 km to 80 km makes this the third biggest social sporting event after the Argus and the Two Oceans.
The day the lights go out
Whether its routine upgrades of electrical substations or Eskom flexing its muscles with periodic emergency blackouts, every Capetonian has a story to tell about their day without electricity. For some it will be cause to gripe. For others it is reason to celebrate the luxury on every other day.
The day they tackle the unfinished highway
The Foreshore’s unfinished freeway that, admittedly serves as a great film and fashion shoot location, is nonetheless an eyesore. What to do with it? This is now the subject of one of Design Capital 2014’s projects – Future Foreshore project – where University of Cape Town students will come up with ideas on how to transform it as part of their degree.
Two Oceans Marathon
Cape Town boasts one of the world’s most beautiful marathon set against some of the most superlative scenery. This 56 km ultra marathon that coincides every year with Easter starts in Newlands and circles round False Bay until it ends at the UCT campus. It’s the marathon event of the year for those in Cape Town, with 11 000 runners entering the ultra marathon and 16 000 in the half marathon. Everyone has a friend running.