Festivals in South Africa

The other evening my family and I were trying to list some of the festivals that happen every year in South Africa. When I googled it, I realized that there were an awful lot more that we haven’t even heard of, which isn’t too surprising when you come across ones with names like the Vrede Paddadors Fees (http://www.vredefees.co.za/)!

If you have a particular interest, why not try to visit a festival that caters to that interest while travelling through South Africa? I found a pretty extensive list on the www.southafrica.info/travel/cultural/festivals.htm website. It’s conveniently arranged according to date, so have a look.

Another website may also be helpful is: http://www.expatcapetown.com/south-africa-festivals.html To give you an appetizer, I thought I’d list a couple that caught my eye, here too, although unfortunately some fun sounding ones like the Prickly Pear Festival; the Peach or Tonteldoos Country Festival and Tulbagh Goes Dutch do not seem to have their own websites yet. Nevertheless, whether you’re interested in food, arts and culture or something else, there are some fun festivals that may be worth looking into.

February: Rhodes Rhodes Stoepsitfees
This inspiring event will be held for the first time this year. A therapeutic weekend spent mingling with locals, and drifting from stoep to stoep, enjoying rusks, pancakes, koeksisters and more in this quaint village which is set in spectacular scenery.

March: Lambert’s Bay Kreeffees
Crayfish is the main attraction and highlight of this festival and is available in a variety of traditional recipies.

April:  Oudtshoorn Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees
This is one of the better known Afrikaans festivals and it showcases national arts, dance and theatre in South Africa. Here you will get to see both renowned and up and coming artists performing.

May: Riebeek Kasteel Olive Festival
This sounds like a feast, what with olives, wine, pickles, cheese and much, much more…

June: Grahamstown National Arts Festival
This showcase of performing arts is one of the longest running arts festivals in South Africa. It encompasses theatre, dance, music to name a few. This is a must for culture enthusiasts to experience.

July: Knysna Knysna Oyster Festival
This immensely popular festival includes events that range from cycling to adventure racing through impressive indigenous forests to oyster-shucking competitions. Naturally there is a wide selection of oyster dishes available, catering to various tastes.

August: Calvinia Hantam Vleisfees
Remaining true to its origins the aim of this festival is to promote the region’s delicious, fragrant mutton. Throw in some musicians and arena activities and it could be a winning recipe!


September: Hermanus Hermanus Whale Festival
Hermanus offers some of the best land-based whale watching in the world. This festival is known as an enviro/arts festival, so you get to watch whales, enjoy a music programme and sample some tantalizing cuisine.

September: Bloemfontein Macufe
One of the largest cultural festivals in Africa, Macufe stands for the Mangaung African Cultural Festival and it features a wide variety of music and dance as well as some traditional crafts. It covers an extraordinarily wide base and includes things such as jazz, hip-hop, gospel, cabaret and poetry.

October: Marico Herman Charles Bosman Weekend
Herman Charles Bosman was a renouned author. This festival features performances, art exhibitions and workshops, all of which are Bosman inspired and true to the area that he loved, the Marico bushveld

November: Ficksburg Cherry Festival
This is one of the oldest festivals in South Africa, and with a program that includes jazz, tours and workshops it draws people from across the country. You will also be able to sample fresh asparagus.

There’s a variety to choose from so take the route less travelled, enjoy the view and remember that life’s a journey, not a destination.

Photos by: Douwe Baas of Suid Afrika Reise

Gwyn Fryer
087 940 3553

About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
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