Expect exotic themes, delectable brunch dishes and destination-inspired cocktails
December Events in Cape Town & Surrounds
Get ready for the silly season with this month’s slew of annual festivals, free to-dos and festive happenings!
If you blinked in January and found yourself in the twelfth month of 2016, you are not alone. The year blew by and now we’re in December: the office is [hopefully] closed, the party’s just begun and the Mother City’s pristine beaches, rooftop restaurants and weekend-long fiestas have oodles of fun on the cards.
As always, we’ve got the lowdown on Cape Town’s annual happenings.
We’ve also got comprehensive overviews of Christmas festivities and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations in the Mother City and a killer Christmas gift guide. Don’t forget it’s World AIDS Day on Thursday, 1 December and, for those who don’t know, South Africa has four public holidays in December: Day of Reconciliation on Friday, 16 December, Christmas Day on Sunday, 25 and Day of Goodwill on Monday, 26 December, as well as an extra public holiday declared by President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, 27 December (LONG WEEKEND!).
2016 DECEMBER EVENTS IN CAPE TOWN AND BEYOND
HORSE RACES AT THE KENILWORTH RACE COURSE (OCT 2016 – FEB 2017)
Much like strawberries, watermelon and beach days at Clifton, horse racing in Cape Town is synonymous with the summer season, and what better way to celebrate than with a day of fun in the sun at the track. Kenilworth Racecourse, one of only two racecourses in Cape Town, is home to some of the Western Cape’s (and South Africa’s) most prestigious equestrian events, and believe it or not, the horse racing happenings also make great afternoons of entertainment for the entire family. We’ve got the lowdown on what to do and where to be seen at the races this summer in Cape Town.
COST: Entry fees to the events vary. Click through to the events for more information.
THE GALILEO OPEN AIR CINEMA (OCT 2016 – APR 2017)
If the idea of cuddling up under the stars whilst watching a movie, munching popcorn and intermittently gazing at gorgeous surrounds appeals, then best you book to watch your favourite movie with The Galileo Open Air Cinema. Bringing the best of the outdoor movie experience to the Mother City, the company has continued its regular Friday and Saturday screenings this year, on top of the weeknight shows. Every week cinephiles can grab some popcorn (or other tasty gourmet treats from the exhibiting vendors), settle down on the lush lawns at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the V&A Waterfront, Hillcrest Quarry and various venues in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands and see firm favourites, cult classics and many others.
- The Galileo Open Air Cinema at Hillcrest Quarry (Tuesday)
- The Galileo Open Air Cinema at Kirstenbosch (Wednesday)
- The Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A Waterfront (Thursday)
- The Galileo Open Air Cinema in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands (Friday & Saturday)
COST: Tickets are sold online via TheGalileo.co.za and go on sale three weeks prior to each screening. If the show sells out online, no tickets will be available at the door. Space is limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. Costs vary according to ticket type. Click through to the events for more information.
KIRSTENBOSCH SUMMER CONCERTS (NOV 2016 – APR 2017)
The Kirstenbosch hills liven up with the sound of music every Sunday from November 2016 to April 2017 for the annual summer sunset concerts. Each year, hordes of music lovers pack picnic baskets and blankets for the chilled out live music sessions on the historic botanical garden’s sprawling greens. This year, the exciting bill includes some seriously big names and local lekker acts such as Jimmy Nevis, Jeremy Loops, Mi Casa, Al Bairre, The Soil and more. Additionally, some concerts will have childcare facilities, so moms and pops can rest assured that their kiddies are in good hands.
COST: Tickets are available via Webtickets.co.za and costs vary according to the performer; concessions do apply. Click through to the event for more information on the line-up and costs.
HOPE@PAULCLUVER SUMMER FESTIVAL (NOV 2016 – FEB 2017)
Support the Thembalitsha Foundation and enjoy top tunes, theatre, comedy and cinema at the Hope@PaulCluver Summer Festival in the Elgin Valley wine estate’s magical forest amphitheatre from November 2016 to February 2017. This season’s line-up will no doubt keep patrons enthralled and is set to feature first-rate musical acts, including Karen Zoid, Elvis Blue, Watershed, and The Parlotones. Bring along a picnic, some cushions and blankets and make yourself comfortable for an outdoor experience like no other. All profits from the tickets sales will be donated to the Thembalitsha Foundation, a non-profit organisation that uplifts impoverished communities in the area.
COST: Tickets are available via Computicket.com and Computicket outlets, and costs range from R200p/p to R300p/p. Click through to the article for more information.
FRANSCHHOEK CAP CLASSIQUE & CHAMPAGNE FESTIVAL (3 – 4 DEC)
What better way to kick off the silly season than with the fizzy Franschhoek ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique and Champagne Festival at the majestic Cape Winelands village’s iconic Huguenot Monument. The sparkling, sophisticated soirée, which pops its cork on Saturday, 3 and runs until Sunday, 4 December 2016, features the best in local Méthode Cap Classiques from the likes of Boschendal, La Motte and many more. Since Franschhoek is a world class culinary destination, fair-goers can also expect nothing but the most mouth-watering of morsels to enjoy with the bubbles. Not to mention, guests are encouraged to dress according to the theme – this year it’s black and white with a floral flair – for a chance to win some fabulous prizes.
COST: Tickets for the festival are available via Webtickets.co.za and cost between R315p/p and R350p/p per day. Click through to the event for more information.
WAVESCAPE FILM SCREENING AT CLIFTON FOURTH BEACH (3 DEC)
Barrel rolling onto the Mother City’s 2016 summer social scene, the Wavescape Film Festival’s movie night at Clifton Fourth Beach gears up for what is, arguably, the largest outdoor film screening in Cape Town on Saturday, 3 December 2016. The surf film evening features short- and feature-length movies devoted to big wave hunters, epic surfing legends and oceaneers. The three-week Wavescape celebration also includes an art surfboard exhibition and auction, an innovative ocean-inspired presentation-based slide night, a fish fry and so much more. Though, as always, the highlight of the wave rider fest is this FREE open-air movie screening on Clifton Fourth Beach. In other words, get stoked and start reading more about scheduling.
COST: The screening on Clifton Fourth Beach is free! Other movie screening throughout the duration of the festival are not. Click through to the event for more information
ADDERLEY STREET FESTIVE LIGHTS SWITCH-ON (4 DEC)
For decades, locals and tourists alike flock to the CBD for the annual tradition of witnessing the official switch-on of the festive lights in Adderley Street. On Sunday, 4 December 2016, attendees can look forward to seeing Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille flip the switch and brighten up South Africa’s historic main pathway and kick-start the festive season with a bang! As always, there will loads of festive flavour to get you in the mood for the holiday season.
COST: Access to the event is gratis, mahala and for FREE!
TWILIGHT TEAM RUN (6 DEC)
Costumed walkers, runners and fun-loving peeps will flock to the Mother City’s CBD in droves for the annual Twilight Team Run on Tuesday, 6 December 2016. This highly anticipated yearly fun run calls on locals to band together and to walk, skip, jog, gallop or monster mash their way through the streets of Cape Town in support of the Community Chest of the Western Cape, the province’s oldest charitable organisation. The catch? Participants are encouraged to dress up in wild, wacky and positively kooky costumes. Prior to the fun run, a best dressed competition will be held, and after the walk, participants are invited to enjoy live entertainment into the evening.
COST: Registration for the 2016 Twilight Team Run opened in the first week of November. Enter via Topevents.co.za (group entries), at the City Hall or online via the Community Chest website. Entries cost R70p/p.
VORTEX TRANCE PARTY (8 – 10 DEC)
Trance heads, let your mind unwind and your spirit soar at the harmony-infused legendary Open Source Vortex Trance Party at the Circle of Dreams campsite in Riviersonderend (roughly 170km from Cape Town) from Thursday, 8 to Monday, 12 December 2016. Held twice a year in the sultry summer months (once in December and again over Easter), this psychedelic outdoor music festival is a favourite among electro enthusiasts and eco-warriors on a quest to reconnect with nature. As a colourful celebration of psy-culture, this trance party will create a whimsical world where dance and art are infinitely fused and where body, environment and soul are reunited.
COST: A full festival pass, which includes the booking fee, is valid for a five-day camping and party experience. Those who can’t make the entire five-day festival can purchase a weekend pass or day passes, which are available at the gate. Click through to the event for more info.
KIRSTENBOSCH CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT CONCERT (15 – 18 DEC)
Sing age-old Christmas carols at the 2016 Carols by Candlelight concert series at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens from Thursday, 15 to Sunday, 18 December 2016. Relive your younger days and introduce your children to classic Christmassy tunes with the Cape Town Concert Brass and the Male Voice Choir. Each evening’s main attraction is preceded by a line-up that features hot local talent as opening acts.
COST: Tickets are available via Webtickets.co.za only and will be released one month before the concert series gets underway. Click through to the event for more information.
RCS GUGULETHU RECONCILIATION DAY RACE (16 DEC)
Commemorate our national day of unity and forgiveness this year by taking to the streets of one of the Mother City’s largest and most colourful townships as part of the RCS Gugulethu Reconciliation Day Race. Starting bright and early on Friday, 16 December 2016 at the NY49 Stadium, the annual run – there is a more serious 10-km option and a child-friendly 4.2-km one – offers participants plenty of fun in the summer sun as well as an opportunity to experience this settlement on foot. The routes pass by a number of significant monuments and landmarks, so runners can learn more about the community they’re soaring through. What’s more, a portion of the proceeds from entry fees is donated to support local projects, so it’s a responsible way to celebrate the Day of Reconciliation too.
COST: Interested individuals and teams can register for the race either online via Entrytime.com or at the venue (the NY49 Stadium) on the day of the race between 5:30am and 6:45am. Click through to the event for more information.
MCQP PARTY IN CAPE TOWN (17 DEC)
The (queen) mother of pink parties saunters onto the Cape Town calendar and makes a royal entrance at the Zip Zap Circus Dome in Foreshore on Saturday, 17 December 2016. In short, the Mother City Queer Project, better known as MCQP, is set to celebrate with a bigger, better and queerer party than before! This proudly Capetonian jol – this year’s theme is ‘The Musical’ – is as massive as it is memorable and is billed as the biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) event in Africa.
COST: Tickets are available via MCQP.co.za. Click through to the event for details on ticket prices.
FESTIVAL OF CHARIOTS (18 DEC)
Head to the sunny suburb of Sea Point for the upcoming 2016 Festival of Chariots on Sunday, 18 December 2016. The Hindu celebration, which is observed in major cities all over the world and hosted locally by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, involves towing statues of religious deities on a hand-pulled, brightly decorated wooden chariot. Revellers sing and dance, creating a lively street parade for young and old to enjoy.
COST: Entry is FREE! The celebrations start at 10am.Click through to the event for more information.
CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY IN CAPE TOWN (24 – 25 DEC)
Eat, drink and be merry, and celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Cape Town and surrounds with a scrumptious dinner or lunch at one of the Mother City’s countless top restaurants, eateries and wine estates. Forego slaving over a hot stove in a busy kitchen and rather enjoy gourmet fare and the company of family and friends at a swanky establishment of your choice (we’ve put together an overview of options). Book your spot early to avoid disappointment.
COST: Prices vary according to the venue; click through to the individual events for more information on what to expect and ticket prices.
REZONANCE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY (30 DEC 2016 – 2 JAN 2017)
Hit slick groovies into the new year at the annual four-day long New Year’s Eve jol Rezonance. Kicking off on Friday, 30 December 2016 and running, with wild abandon, until Monday, 2 January 2017, the electro extravaganza boasts a heady line-up, four different stages and a lake to cool off in. The venue this year is Pat Busch Mountain Reserve in Robertson and it is only two hours outside of Cape Town.
COST: Tickets cost R620p/p and can be bought online via Quicket.co.za or from select retail outlets. Click through to the event for more information.
NEW YEAR’S EVE AND NEW YEAR’S DAY IN CAPE TOWN (31 DEC 2016 – 1 JAN 2017)
Spending New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in the Mother City and still not sure how to celebrate? Rest assured, we’ve compiled an overview of the hottest NYE parties, events, dinners, concerts and festivals happening in Cape Town and surrounds. From wining, dining and dancing to three-day music festivals and more, we’ve got it all.
COST: Prices vary according to the event; click through to the individual events for more information on what to expect and ticket prices.
PLEASE NOTE: All dates are subject to change.
These are only a few of the happenings in Cape Town and surrounds for the month of December, so be sure to check out our use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smart phone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!
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