7 Winter festivals to check out

2014-05-13 09:19
It seems rather sudden, doesn’t it?  

One day the sun was still awake before you were, the next you’re having to perform your morning pre-work routine while the stars still twinkle outside.  

It feels like just a week ago that you were frolicking on the beach and now… now you’re wearing your fleece-lined parka.

*Sigh* Winter is no longer coming, it’s pretty much here.

But that doesn’t mean you have to go into dismal hibernation mode. There’s a lot of fun to be had right across the country over the next few months!

Check out these seven fun festivals worth travelling for:  

kykNet Wacky Wine Weekend, Robertson, 5 – 8 June




Taking place for the ELEVENTH year, Wacky Wine 2014 promises yet another weekend of wine-fuelled fun in the Robertson valley. Unlike other set venue festivals, this one takes place at participating wineries right across the valley. So, you can tailor-make your program, deciding for yourself when to go where. A weekend pass costs R110. You purchase it at your first port of call and receive a glass with it that you will use throughout the weekend.

If you haven’t booked accommodation yet, check out the site for last minute options. Note: camping is probably going to be your most likely option at this point.  

More info: Wacky Wine Weekend website  

Knysna Oyster Festival, Knysna, 4 – 13 July





Whether you’re into nature, food, art, sports, partying, family fun… or all of the above, the Knysna Oyster Festival is sure to beat away even the worst case of winter blues by offering you JUST what you love.  

Apart from guzzling highly acclaimed oysters paired with your choice of drink (wine, champagne and beer are always popular options, if you’re unsure), the festival offers a huge array of activities and attractions, including the hugely popular Pick n Pay Times Knysna Forest marathon and half marathon.

If you want to experience the Garden Route capital at its most bright and buzzing, the festival is a good excuse to go!

More info: Oyster Festival website  


National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, 3 – 13 July



If you’ve never attended South Africa’s biggest, oldest and most famous arts festival, it’s time you made a plan! The 10-day event offers culture vultures every indulgence of theatre, music, song, dance and film, set in one of our country’s quaintest and most well-maintained old towns.

Not much of a culture vulture? Well, shopping is also always an option – the festival boasts a huge selection of amazing goods stalls – so is food and, of course, partying. Just take note, being in the heart of winter, it does get pretty damn chilly! So, be sure to bundle up and stay warm!

Ticket prices vary from show to show, so take a look at the program to browse this year’s offerings and secure your seat as soon as possible – tickets tend to fly!  

More info: National Arts Festival website   

Durban July, Durban, 5 July



Okay, so it's not really a festival, but it's still a pretty cool and iconic event to check out! 

Taking part at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban, this horse racing event is a stylish affair followed by an epic party. So, best dress to impress, but pack a pair of comfy shoes in your purse for late night dancing.

More info: Durban July website

Dullstroom Winter Festival, Dullstroom, 4 – 6 July




Formerly known as Christmas in July, the Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky Dullstroom Winter Festival sees the sleepy fly-fishing village take on a yuletide cheerfulness. A variety of outdoor activities – including mountain biking and trail running – will keep the blood pumping, while whisky and chocolate tastings as well as all sorts of other gastronomical treats will warm you up from the belly on out.

Also, remember to pack your dancing shoes, as the weekend will be laced with foot-tapping performances from a range of local Blues and Folk artists. The hop on/hop off Buddy Bus will be running all weekend long to take festival goers from one side of town to the other, with stops in between. So no need to worry about parking or driving under the influence.

Not much has been revealed about the 2014 line-up of events yet, but keep a close eye on the Dullstroom Winter Festival Facebook page for details.  

Oppikoppi, Northam, 7 – 9 August



Oppikoppi is South Africa’s quintessential outdoor rock festival and definitely worth checking out if you’re a free spirit with a taste for adventure and a good dose of rhythm in your soul.  

This year is the festival’s 20th anniversary, so if you haven’t been before, it’s probably a good one to attend. The theme for 2014 is Odyssey and promises all sorts of musical craziness.  

The exact lineup has not yet been confirmed, but you can look forward to grooving along to the likes of Albert Frost, aKing, PHFat, Shortstraw and Zebra and Giraffe.  General admission tickets are going for R700.  

More info: Oppikoppi website  

Hantam Vleisfees, Calvinia, 29 & 30 August



Although it falls right on the cusp of Spring, we thought it good to still include Calvinia’s famous celebration of all things meaty in the Winter events round-up… Just because we need as much fun as possible to get us through the cold months. Or what?

While the festival’s focus is mainly on Karoo-style cuisine, it’s also a great opportunity to experience the culture of a bygone farming era. So what can you expect? Think sheep shearing competitions, whip-making, drum majorettes and veldskoen-making workshops.  

Check out the Calvinia Vleisfees Facebook page for more details.

Also check out our May events to keep your eye on

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Read more on:    travel  |  travel south africa
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