July weekend escapes

2013-06-28 15:30
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The Eastern Cape's Grahamstown has been named as one of Africa's unsung cities, according to CNN traveller.

Winter's here. So while it's time to haul out the overcoats and wellingtons, it also brings with it a host of events centred around experiencing the best this season has to offer. We've rounded up a few fun, thought-provoking and entertaining events to plan a weekend escape around.

Knysna Oyster Festival

Probably one of the most popular events in the entire Western Cape. The Knysna Oyster Festival began as the Knysna Winter Festival and has been providing a space to celebrate good life and sport for the past 30 years.

Bring your family and have quality time in this beautiful town along the Garden Route. The event is spread across two weekends of fun and activities for you and your family. You can look forward to a fun-filled festival events such as Geo Oyster Geocaching Competition where you can navigate around the greater Knysna Basin and a Night of 1000 pictures which focuses on photography exhibition and illustrations by local artists.

Oysters are termed, the food for love, so coming here will definitely shower you with lots of love and of course you will enjoy them as different servings.

When: 28 June-07 July 2013
Where: Knysna
Website: www.oysterfestival.co.za

Dullstroom Winter Festival 2013

This huge celebration is hosted by Hilltop Live, the Dullstroom Chamber of Business and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky which is inspired by the Cape Mountains and its natural beauty - the perfect partner in celebrating Dullstroom’s 120 years breathtaking scenery, unpolluted air and clear streams, all the while offering escape from city life.

This year's musical line-up is set to blow away the mid-Winter blues with the legendary Arno Carstens making his debut at the event. Dan Patlansky returns to Dullstroom by popular demand, after shredding the event last year. This home-grown Blues maestro has seen his career storming forward in recent years and he's just released a new album, 'Wooden Thoughts', his first acoustic record.

Apart from a rocking musical line-up, the weekend also features a winter festival trail run, a family fly fishing event and a mountain bike race. So why don't you get yourself tickets and be part of the celebrations?

Tickets are on sale at Ticketbreak from R150.

When: 05-07 July 2013
Where: Dullstroom, Mpumalanga
Website: www.dullstroomwinterfestival.co.za

City Hall Sessions

Perhaps you haven’t seen this South African music icon on stage, this is your chance to catch him live as he makes the first appearance in over five years.

Accompanied by the Lesotho-born songstress Maleh (Malehloka Hlalele), making her debut Cape Town appearance with a five-piece band, Ray ‘Chikapa’ Phiri will absolutely make your weekend an unforgettable one.

Take time out and enjoy your evening with these fine artists who were acknowledged at this year's 19th annual MTN South African Music Awards (SAMAs): Ray Chikapa Phiri was honoured with a Lifetime Achiever Award, whilst the relative newcomer Maleh won the “Best African Adult Album” category for her solo album “Step Child”.

Brought to you by the Creative Cape Town, the City Hall Sessions is fundamentally driven by the sheer pleasure of music, the best quality music, shared by all. You cannot afford to let this golden chance pass you by.

Tickets are available at Computicket from R80 and doors open at 20:00.

When: 06 July 2013
Where: Cape Town City Hall
Website: www.creativecapetown.net

Vodacom Durban July

This is Africa's greatest horse racing event by far and if you’re one of those horse racing fanatics  or just want to meet with the famous and glamorous personalities, this one is for you.

Catch the excitement of this day, expected to woo 56 000 revellers. Be among them at the Greyville Racecourse and see South Africa’s best thoroughbreds storming down the home straight to the finish line to clinch the highly contested R3 million prized Vodacom Durban July.

The event has made it possible for you to come and enjoy the atmosphere in one of the country’s most loved cities, Durban, Greyville. There are restaurants where you can mingle with the crowds and feast on Greyville’s finest cuisine outlets like the popular The Paddock. So don’t forget to place your bets early to avoid disappointment.

When: 06 July 2013
Where: Greyville Racecourse, Durban
Website: www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za

Christmas in July

Log fires, cosy accommodation with electric blankets, hearty food and fantastic local wine combined with a fantastic programme promises to keep the cold at bay.

You can relax around a braai under the legendary fig tree while children are entertained with a movie and special kiddies dinner. Afterwards, a casual but informative evening of stargazing with a local astro expert Fred Smith is what you can look forward to away from the bright lights of the city as you will be learning more about your universe.

Entry is from R250 per person and you can order a picnic basket on arrival.

When: 12-14 July 2013
Where: De Hoop Nature Reserve
Contact details: 021 422 4522.
Website: www.dehoopcollection.co.za

Franschhoek Bastille Festival

It’s time to dust off your berets, pull on your boots and dress up in your finest red, white and blue, head out to South Africa’s leading wine and culinary destination for the annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival.

In its 20th year, the focal point of the festival hasn’t changed as food and wine has been the theme over the years, this meeting place will offer you get a golden opportunity to meet friends while feasting on finest wines from the award winning Franschhoek estates.

The valley’s celebrated chefs will ensure you spoil yourself on tantalising cuisine as you enjoy the best time of your life. Because you’re an avid wine fanatic, make sure you do not miss out on the opportunity to sip and sample the complimentary wines from the valley at your comfort.

Entrance tickets to the Food and Wine Marquee will cost you from R150 per person including a complimentary tasting glass and a booklet of tasting coupons. While booking is essential as tickets are limited, additional coupons can be purchased on the day.

Bring your kids and make you don’t miss out other festivities like the farmers’ market, craft market stalls, musicians and children’s activities are also included in the line up of festival celebrations.

When: 13-14 July 2013
Where: Franschhoek Wine Valley
Contact details: 021 876 2861
Website: www.franschhoek.org.za

Nelson Mandela International Day

What can you do on this day dedicated to this world’s famous political icon? The main objective of this day is to inspire individuals like you to help in changing the world for the better, empower communities everywhere and by doing so, you build a worldwide movement for good.

You may be asking yourself, what is a Nelson Mandela Day? Following the success of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in June 2008, it was decided to do something more fitting to celebrate Mr Mandela’s birthday each year, ensuring his legacy continues forever.

The concept of this day is simple: Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All you are asked is to give 67 minutes of your time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community.

Mandela Day is a call to action, for you to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr Mandela did.

“Take Action, Inspire Change, Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”

When: 18 July 2013
Website: www.mandeladay.com


ScopeX is a public outreach initiative designed to promote interest in astronomy, telescope making, astrophotography and related disciplines within Southern Africa.

You can anticipate a wide variety of quality telescopes, accessories and books as well as exhibitions of self-made telescopes.

In 1993, the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa in Johannesburg Centre started an Amateur Telescope Making class which has operated continuously to this day and it has pulled huge crowds along these years.

Are you interested in how the stars and astronomy? This is your chance to learn more about stars, see presentations on various kinds of telescopes, demonstrations, science shows and a lot more.  Coming here will not only allow you to see various of kinds of telescopes but will you will leave as an informed, educated individual with respect to general astronomy.

When:  20 July 2013
Where: Saxonwold
Contact details: +27 (0) 11 789 35 98
Website: www.scopex.co.za

SA Pink Lifestyle Expo

Widely referred to as Africa’s Gay Capital, Cape Town is now reinforcing that reputation and launching another world’s first SA Pink Lifestyle Expo.

This three day expo will include an array of fabulousness bound to change the way expos have been run, this is where great food, drinks and entertainment will come together.

SA Pink Lifestyle Expo is more than an expo, this is where you get all you’ve needed for your fabulous lifestyle such as decorations, cars, wedding, food and wine as well as adult entertainment.

With the Mother City being named as one of the top ten international gay destinations around the globe, this event will really capture your imagination and bring all you need under one roof.

Entrance fee is R30 per person including an Exhibitors Guide and a gift bag on your arrival.

When: 26, 27 & 28 July 2013
Where: Sea Point Civic Centre, Cape Town
Contact details: 083 626 4615
Website: www.capetown.gaycities.com

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