December Events in Cape Town and Surrounds

Eat, drink and be merry in the Mother City this festive season

December: the office is (hopefully) closed and the parties are finally starting! You can enjoy the city’s pristine beaches, rooftop restaurants and hikes up its mountains. If none of that interests you, read our roundup of the biggest annual events happening in Cape Town and surrounds.

Also, don’t forget, it’s World AIDS Day on Sunday, 1 December. Plus, for those of you who don’t know, South Africa has three public holidays in December: Day of Reconciliation on Monday, 16 December (LONG WEEKEND!); Christmas Day on Wednesday, 25; and Day of Goodwill on Thursday, 26 December.

Aside from the events featured here, the Mother City has a string of must-see concerts, including Matt Bianco (2 December), Maxwell (5 December), Nickelback (11 and 12 December) and Alison Moyet (15 December). What’s more, two of the world’s top DJs are destined to drop banging beats in Cape Town; Dutch-born DJ Hardwell is taking over the Bellville Velodrome on Friday, 6 December, and merrymakers can ring in the new year with the triple-deck wizard Carl Cox at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).


Galileo Open Air Cinema (November 2013 – April 2014)
Wile away the midweek blues with a unique and invigorating outdoor experience at the Galileo Open Air Cinema in Cape Town each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from November 2013 to April 2014. Each week cinephiles can grab some popcorn (or other yummy gourmet treats from the exhibiting vendors), settle down on the lush lawns at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the V&A Waterfront or the Hillcrest Quarry and see firm favourites, cult classics – like the (original) Star Wars and Back to the Future – and ultimate chick flicks, such as The NotebookMamma Mia and so much more. 

Tickets: Tickets are sold online via and go on sale three weeks prior to each screening (on a Tuesday morning). 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 event for more information.

Hope at Paul Cluver Summer Concert Series (November 2013 – February 2014)
Support the Thembalitsha Foundation and enjoy top tunes by local and international artists at the Hope at Paul Cluver Summer Concert Series in the wine estate’s magical forest amphitheatre from November 2013 to February 2014. This season’s line-up will no doubt keep patrons enthralled and is set to feature first-rate acts, including US-born folk singer Suzanne Vega, crafty one-man-band Jeremy Loops, MacStanley, The Parlotones and many more. Bring along a picnic, some cushions and blankets and make yourself comfortable for an outdoor experience like no other.

Tickets: Tickets are available via and Computicket outlets, and costs vary according to the artists. Click through to the article for more information.

Old Mutual Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts (November 2013 – April 2014) 
The Kirstenbosch hills liven up with the sound of music every Sunday from November 2013 to April 2014 for the annual summer sunset concerts in Cape Town’s historic botanical gardens. Each year, hordes of music lovers pack picnic baskets and blankets for the chilled out live music sessions on the sprawling greens. This year, patrons can enjoy a mix of performances, from the classic tunes of Oliver Mtukudzi, Mango Groove and Johnny Clegg to the pop and rock acts of Jack Parow, Jimmy Nevis and Fokofpolisiekar, to name just a few. What’s more, some concerts will have childcare facilities, so moms and pops can rest assured that their kiddies are in good hands.

Tickets: Tickets are available via and costs vary according to the performer; concessions do apply. Click through to the event for more information on the line-up and costs.

Free Summer Concerts in De Waal Park (November 2013 – March 2014)
The best things in life are free, and so are these monthly Sunday shows! Back on the social calendar for a third season, the mahala Summer Concert series in De Waal Park is set to enthral locals, tourists and suburbanites alike with the sounds of top-notch Mzansi music icons and up-and-coming artists, including the likes of Freshlyground, The Rudimentals, The Rockets, Saudiq Khan and many more. Hosted in the historic inner-city recreational area, the laidback Sunday affairs take place on the third weekend of each month.

Tickets: Entry to the concerts is gratis, mahala, FREE! Click through to the event for more information.

Wavescape Surf Film Festival (27 November – 16 December)
Barrel rolling onto the Mother City’s summer social scene from the end of November to mid-December, the annual Wavescape Surf Film Festival features more than just movies devoted to big wave hunters and epic surfing legends and luminaries. The three-week celebration also includes an art surfboard exhibition and auction, an innovative ocean-inspired presentation-based slide night and so much more. Though, as always, the highlight of the wave rider fest is the FREE open-air movie screening on Clifton Fourth Beach.  In other words, get stoked and start reading more about scheduling. 

Tickets: While many of the Wavescape Surf Film Festival events are free, including the screening on Clifton Fourth Beach, individual films will cost R35p/p to R40p/p, and entrance to the slide night will run you R100p/p. Tickets are available at the door of each venue.

Horse Races at the Kenilworth Racecourse (December 2013 – February 2014)
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.

Tickets: Entry fees to the events vary. Click through to the events for more information.

Synergy Live – The Return (29 November – 1 December)
The legendary outdoor music festival Synergy Live is back with a line-up set to rock the Theewaterskloof Dam – just outside of Grabouw – from Friday, 29 November to Sunday, 1 December 2013. Revellers can expect a massive moshpit jol with no less than four stages. This year, the annual shindig imports emo punk band The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and hip-hop dubstep group Foreign Beggars to headline the extravaganza along with top-notch local bands, comedy acts, DJs and more. Aside from the killer line-up of superstars, the weekend-long fiesta in the woods has a slew of attractions billed to keep party-goers entertained, and the campsite will be kitted out with all the necessary creature comforts to ensure a relaxing stay.

Tickets: Early bird tickets are officially sold out, and regular tickets are available online via as well as at participating retailers. Click through to the event for more information on ticket prices and outlets.

Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival (30 November – 1 December)
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 features the best in local Méthode Cap Classiques from the Western Cape’s top producers, plus some French Champagne from the likes of Veuve Clicquot, Billecart-Salmon and Champagne Guy Charbaut. Since Franschhoek is a world class culinary destination, fair-goers can 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 an emphasis on spots and stripes – for a chance to win some fabulous prizes.

Tickets: Tickets for the festival are available via and cost R200p/p. Click through to the event for more information.

Twilight Team Run (3 December)
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, 3 December 2013. This highly anticipated yearly fun run calls on locals to band together in teams of four to six 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.

Tickets: Registration opens on Monday, 4 November 2013 and entrance fees are R50p/p for individuals and R200 per team (four to six people); participants can register online via Click through to the event for more information.

Vortex Trance Party in Cape Town (5 – 9 December)
Electronic music lovers listen up: Head to the Open Source Vortex Trance Party for its yearly December jol from Thursday, 5 to Monday, 9 December 2013. The venue is 160km outside of Cape Town, an enchanted space at the Circle of Dreams in Riviersonderend. It’s the perfect getaway for those who jam to psytrance and dance music and appreciate its art.  Top international and local DJs will be on stage.

Tickets: Tickets cost R400p/p for pre-sold spots and R450p/p for passes bought at the gate; click through to the event for more information.

Kommetjie Festival (7 December)
It’s going to be a full-day of fun on the pristine beaches of Kommetjie, which is about halfway down the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, on Saturday, 7 December. Known for its sweet surfing and crayfishing spots, the quaint seaside village will become a lively hub with Christmas craft market stalls, food vendors, a beer tent and friendly competitions on and off the waves. Be sure not to miss the wacky Surf Showdown, where surfers dress themselves and their boards up for fun, or the Anything that Floats contest for any kind of embellished vessel that can sit on the water. And as the sun begins to set festival goers will be serenaded by local Kommetjie bands and a few acts from Cape Town, like the legendary Wendy Oldfield and blues outfit Crimson House Blues.
Tickets: Entry to the Kommetjie Festival is free, however, tickets are required for the live music, which starts at 4:40pm. They cost R80p/p or R50p/p for children under the age of 16. 

MCQP in Cape Town (14 December)
The (queen) mother of all annual gay and lesbian parties touches down at the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point for an intergalactic jol on Saturday, 14 December 2013. The Mother City Queer Project, better known as MCQP, gears up for its 20th anniversary and promises to be bigger and better than before! This proudly Capetonian party – this year’s theme is ‘Space Cowboys’ – is as massive as it is memorable, and is billed as the biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) event in Africa.

Tickets: Tickets are available via Click through to the event for details on ticket prices.

Summer Markets in Cape Town (14 – 30 December)
Cape Town’s two summer markets look to bring weary mall-goers a fresh take on shopping just in time for the holiday season. The Cape Town Summer Market (formerly the Adderley Street Night Market) is billed to transform Government Avenue in the Company’s Garden from Saturday, 14 to Monday, 30 December (excluding Christmas and Boxing Day), while the Langa Quarter Summer Market invites residents, locals and tourists alike to experience the vibrancy and culture of the Mother City’s oldest township from Friday, 20 to Tuesday, 24 December 2013. Aside from the obvious retail therapy, shoppers can expect live entertainment and things for the kiddies to do. So, whether you pop in for a quick look-see or decide to spend the day basking in the summer sun, it’s bound to be a good time filled with seasonal cheer.

Tickets: Entry into the Cape Town and Langa Quarter Summer Markets is free. Click through to the events for more information.

Festival of Chariots in Cape Town (15 December 2013)
East meets west at Green Point’s Urban Park for the annual Festival of Chariots on Sunday, 15 December 2013. 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. Before and after the main festivities, attendees can explore and appreciate this colourful culture through the live performances, traditional Hare Krishna food and discussions led by enlightened practitioners. Not to mention, there will be imported clothing and books on sale, henna tattooing and face painting and a jumping castle for the little ones, making this a fun family outing with a unique and entertaining cultural twist.

Tickets: Entry is FREE! The celebrations start at 12pm, the grand procession rolls forward at 2pm and the festivities draw to a close at 6:30pm.

RCS Gugulethu Reconciliation Day Race (16 December 2013)
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 Monday, 16 December 2013 at the NY 49 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.

Tickets: Interested individuals and teams can register for the race either online via (this portal closes on Thursday, 12 December 2013) or at the starting venue (the NY 49 Stadium) on the day before the run, between 5:30am and 6:45am.Check the event page for fees.  

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Cape Town (24 – 25 December)
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. 

Tickets: Prices vary according to the venue; click through to the individual events for more information on what to expect and ticket prices.

New Year’s Outdoor Music Festivals (31 December – 2 January)
Looking for a (three-day long) New Year’s celebration in Cape Town to rival all the rest? The Mother City pulls out all the stops and offers locals and international visitors alike not one but two outdoor electronic music parties to choose from. Both shindigs are located just minutes outside of the city limits and set up a psytrance mecca for eager NYE stompers.

Tickets: Prices vary according to event; click through to the individual events for more information on what to expect and ticket prices.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Cape Town (31 December – 1 January)
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.

Tickets: 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 smartphone, add to your home screen for quick access on the go!

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