If you’re from the cool Northern Hemisphere, South Africa’s sultry December weather might make you forget that the holidays are near. But Christmas and the New Year are just around the corner, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate, South African-style. From craft markets, to caroling, to New Year’s Eve parties, here are some of the best holiday events happening in South Africa over the next few weeks.
Kirstenbosch Gardens is hosting its annual Christmas Carols again this year between December 17-20. The event features the Cape Town Concert Brass and the Cape Town Male Voice Choir. For more information, see the official website.
For more family fun, Ice Galaxy has a 90 meter double loop ice slide that will provide thrilling rides for everybody. Each session gets a rider 45 minutes on the slide and the exhibition is open from now until January 10. For more information and tickets, click here.
Music lovers will appreciate the Holiday Pops concert, put on by Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and other South African singers at the Green Point Track. The event is on December 27. For more info and tickets, click here.
People in Cape Town will be spoilt for choice come New Year’s Eve with dozens of high caliber events and parties including a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza at Shimmy Beach Club, the Rezonance Trance Party, and plenty of restaurant events. For a full list of New Year’s Eve events, click here.
Christmas And All That Jazz will lift your holiday spirit from December 13-19 at the Sandton Auto and General Theatre in Nelson Mandela Square. The event is a jazz concert that features Cat Simoni and American jazz pianist John Fresk. For tickets and more information, click here.
The Emperor’s Palace casino and hotel is hosting several events throughout the holiday season. First up is the Christmas Craft Market which runs from December 11-20 and features everything from toys to jewelry. For children, the casino is hosting Aurelia’s Kiddies Christmas Programme from December 19-January 3 and will include arts and crafts, a miniature train cruise, water balloon games and face painting activities. Finally, there is the much anticipated Garden of Lights from December 5-January 3, the perfect place to walk through at night to get in the holiday spirit.
Those staying at Montecasino will be in for a treat throughout the holidays. The complex is hosting Swan Lake on Ice from December 3-January 10, featuring the award-winning Imperial Ice Stars, which is made up of over 24 Olympic and World Championship level ice skaters.
New Year’s Eve celebrations will be happening all around the city at different venues, including events at Reef Hotel, Rodizio, Randlords and Beefcakes. However, one of the more impressive sites is the gigantic street party in Soweto — the Vilakazi Street Party.
A few hours north of the city, Sun City resort is hosting several pool parties during the holiday season, along with live music performances and carols by candlelight.
On December 19, MTN is sponsoring the 20th edition of the Joyous Celebration at Moses Mabhida Stadium featuring some of the best gospel singers in the area.
If you’re in the partying mood, the CK Aquafest is throwing a giant beach party at Durban New Beach on December 19. The event will host some of South Africa’s best DJs.
Just north of the city, Hirsch’s is having a giant snow globe event and a chance to win an R20,000 travel voucher. The event runs from December 21-24.
For New Year’s Eve, many people head to the popular Ballito NYE street party which is always a wild event. For those looking for something more chilled-out, you can always just go to the beach, watch fireworks, and light up the braai.