Top South African Events to look forward to in 2016


For some of us, it’s back to work and the grindstone. The festive season has passed,  leaving us reminiscing over those lazy days spent at the beach or the long nights of partying the night away at music festivals. To beat those January blues, take a look at these exciting South African events that you can look forward to in 2016.

Events in the Western Cape:

Cape Town International Jazz Festival: 1-2 April 2016

jazz fest

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is considered ‘Africa’s grandest gathering’, a renowned event for lovers of jazz and other musical genres.

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to witness performances by the most iconic – local and international- jazz artists. Furthermore, the festival is a platform for up-and-coming musicians, so keep an ear out for the new talent!

Lambert’s Bay Crayfish Festival: 29 April – 11 May 2016


If you like to indulge on ocean-fresh crayfish, immerse in South African culture while enjoying heaps of fun in the sun, we suggest you venture down to Lambert’s Bay for their much-anticipated Crayfish fiesta.

You can expect a day of crayfish-eating and relax to the smooth tunes of home-grown musicians. If you’re looking to be a bit more active, why not participate in a range of family-fun activities? Either dive to the depths of the ocean with a crayfish diving competition, peruse the deli stalls for some nibbles and if you’ve got kids, keep them entertained at the Kid’s Play Area.

Franschhoek Literary Festival: 13-15 May 2016

franschhoek lit fest

If you’re a bookworm or looking to reawaken your love affair with the written word, the Franschhoek Literary Festival is an event that shall introduce you to the latest releases and the best of South African literature.

Not only is the festival an opportunity for readers to rub shoulders with some of the finest novelists in the country, but is also a means to inspire a reading culture among the youth of today. So if you’ve got children who prefer getting square eyes in front of the television rather than curling up with a good book, then take them along to this not-to-be-missed festival!

Wacky Wine Weekend: 2-5 June 2016

wacky wine weekend

Wacky Wine Weekend is in the name, so if you to have a glass of the good stuff from time-to-time then this booze-fuelled event is for you!

While sampling and purchasing the region’s finest wines is the main activity, the aims of Wacky Wine Weekends are to ensure the attendees gain a deeper insight and appreciation of the Robertson Valley varietals.

While having a good time and the enjoyment of wine is a high priority to the organisers, so too is safety. Following their successful ‘Designated Driver System’ that was introduced last year, designated drivers of the event will be rewarded with complimentary breakfasts, coffee, and soft drinks.

Knysna Oyster Festival: 1-10 July 2016


 While some of us are curled up underneath blankets sipping hot chocolate, participants of The Knysna Oyster Festival do not let the cold get the better of them. The festival, which has been described as the ‘best ten days of Winter’ offers a multi-faceted event which combines sports, family-fun activities and more importantly, gives sea-food lovers the opportunity to dine on fresh-from-the-ocean oysters.

Apart from indulging on the delicacy with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, the festival is the host of two major sporting events, the Knysna Half Marathon and the Pick n Pay Argus Rotary Cycle. Each year, athlete and spectators flock to the town to either participate or cheer on those who do.

Hermanus Whale Festival: 30 September- 2 October 2016


This festival is all about putting the creature of the deep under the spotlight, synchronising their vocals with some of South Africa’s top-performing artists.

While the Southern Right Whales are certainly the stars of the show, they will be joined on land by top-notch performances by local musicians, great food and several sporting events for the kids and fitness fanatics.

Come along for a day of fine music, good food and the spotting of a whale or two.

Events in Gauteng:

Rand Show: 25 March – 3 April 2016

rand show

Bargain shopping, the latest market releases and the best in entertainment, this is what you can expect at the Rand Show in Johannesburg.

Considered the largest consumer exhibition outside of the United States, the Rand Show is a much-anticipated, 10-day event of shopping and bargain hunting.

Highlights of the event included the all-exclusive ‘man cave’ – bored husbands, teenagers and boyfriends are invited to check out the latest in home entertainment. Children can be duly entertained at Kid’s Kingdom while the veritable science whizzes can venture over to the Science and Tech Lab. Here they can find the latest in technological and scientific advancements.

Taste of Joburg: TBC


Taste of Joburg is an unmissable foodie day, where the province’s finest restaurants will be putting together a menu of tasting dishes that align with their food philosophies.

Attendees can also look forward to a miscellany of boutique exhibitors, artisan producers, premium drink brands and award-winning wineries. If you’re a lover of food but on the lookout for a more relaxed dining affair, venture down to the boutique food market. Here you can feast on odds and sods from various food stalls.

Events in Kwazulu Natal:

Vodacom Durban July – 2 July 2016


There’s nothing quite like a day at the races. Unless you have been hiding under a rock or not that much into horses, you’ll know about the Durban July.

Considered Durban’s most prestigious event and Africa’s largest horse races, attendees of this regal event are known to dress up to the nines – sporting the most elegant and chic South African fashions.

Apart from being the social event of the season, spectators have the opportunity to witness some of South Africa’s finest thoroughbreds galloping around the race course.

Events in Mpumalanga:

Dullstroom Winter Festival: 8-10 July 2016


Find some warmth and merriment during the winter months at the Dullstroom Winter Festival. This quaint Mpumalanga town comes abuzz with festivities with their own version of ‘Christmas in July’.

Partake in a range of activities from various wine, whisky and beer tastings to fly-fishing competitions. If you’re looking to get a bit cultured, various pop-up art exhibitions will display the incredible works of local artists.

Events in Swaziland:

MTN Bushfire Festival: 27-29 May 2016

bushfire festival

The MTN Bushfire Festival is considered one of the ‘seven African music festivals that you have to see before you die’, taking place in Swaziland.

As always, this internationally renowned music and arts festival has a stellar, African-inspired lineup. Attendees can expect tunes from various music genres as well as a myriad of theatre and dance performances, poetry workshops, art exhibits and more.

Aspiring artists looking for a creative space can make use of the ‘House on Fire’ – a platform for the sharing of ideas.

Events in Free State:

Macufe Festival: 1-9 October 2016


The nine-day Mangaung African Cultural Festival showcases the best African and international talents, and is considered the most culturally diverse exhibits of African arts and culture.

With a motto that is ‘When your heart and soul is Africa’, you can best bet to feel a sense of pride in being an African when perusing various artworks by those who are deemed experts in their respected crafts.

Ficksburg Cherry Festival: 19-21 November 2016


To round off the year and to celebrate the start of Summer, the unassuming town hosts a cherry festival. This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill fruit picking event, but takes place in an area considered the ‘cherry capital of the world’.

If your typical summer is characterised by cherry-kissed lips and sucking on flavour-filled fruits, then you best bring your friends and family along for this festive occasion.

If you’re not a fan a big fan of cherries, come on along anyway, there are plenty of unique, farm-based activities for the whole family to take part in

Events in the Eastern Cape:

Grahamstown National Arts Festival: 30 June- 11 July 2016


Considered South Africa’s biggest arts and crafts event to date, thousands of visitors flock to Grahamstown for the much anticipated National Arts Festival. If you’re looking for a winter vacation of cultural enlightenment, the festival gives you a glimpse into the artier side of life.

The entire town gets in on the action, where various buildings and open spaces are utilised for various art exhibitions, theatre productions, music, ballet and dance performances.

Events in the North West Province:

Aardklop Arts Festival: 4-8 October 2016


The annual Afrikaans event is popular among all types of theatre fanatics, with its staging of many, diverse theatre productions.

The festival is an opportunity to foster a love for the art form and changes the mind-set of the biggest theatre sceptics.

Not only has the festival put the South African theatre on the map, but has played has played an active role in the development of the local arts.

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