2 Jan Karnaval.
Begins in the Bo-Kaap district and ends up near the Green Point Stadium, it includes a procession of competing minstrel bands, complete with painted faces, straw boaters and bright satin suits.
Feb FNB Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg, http://www.at.artslink.co.za.
A festival of contemporary choreography and dance from community-based dance troupes to international companies.
Feb Prickly Pear Festival, Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, http://www.nmbt.co.za.
A day of traditional food such as ginger beer, pancakes, potjiekos, home-made jam, a spit braai and fish braai, bunny chow and home-made puddings.
Mar Cape Town Carnival, Cape Town, http://www.capetowncarnival.com.
New to the mother city, this annual event will be first held on the 3rd weekend of Mar in 2010. Copying the model of the Rio Carnival, it will include a 1-km procession of floats, dancers and musicians and there will numerous balls, beach and street parties over the weekend.
Mar Lambert’s Bay Kreeffees, Lambert’s Bay, West Coast, http://kreeffees.com.
Crayfish festival and rock concerts by some of South Africa’s Afrikaans musicians. Bungee jumping, aerial displays, a half-marathon, beer tents.
Mar Splashy Fen, Underberg, KwaZulu Natal, http://www.splashyfen.co.za.
A musical gathering on a farm close to Underberg. This is a mix of popular sounds and jazz bands from all walks of life, akin to the summer festivals held in Europe, with camping and fringe activities.
Apr Cape Town Jazz Festival, Cape Town, http://www.capetownjazzfest.com.
2-day festival featuring some 40 international and African acts performing on 5 stages at the Cape Town International Convention Centre to an audience of 15,000. The night before, a free concert is held in Greenmarket Sq.
Apr Morija Arts and Cultural Festival, Lesotho, http://www.morijafest.com .
Apr Pink Loerie Mardi Gras, Knysna, http://www.pinkloerie.com.
A gay festival with parade and 4 days of non-stop entertain-ment for anyone who enjoys a party.
Apr Prince Albert Olive, Food and Wine Festival, Prince Albert, Western Cape, http://www.patourism.co.za.
2-day festival with an art exhibition, beer tents, live music, wine and olive tastings, a cycle race, an olive pip- spitting competition and live entertainment.
Apr Sasol Scifest, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, http://www.scifest.org.za.
The 7-day festival features 600 events: game drives, laser shows, robotics competitions, science olympics and a film festival. Attendance now exceeds 40,000 visitors a year, most of which are school children.
Jun-Jul National Arts Festival, Grahams- town, Eastern Cape, http://www.nafest.co.za.
South Africa’s oldest, biggest and best-known arts festival. A 10-day event with hundreds of performances of theatre, music, song, dance and film. If there’s one South African festival you have to attend, this is it.
Jul Knysna Oyster Festival, Knysna, Western Cape, http://www.oysterfestival.co.za.
Oyster braais, oyster tasting, oyster-eating competitions and other molluscular activities; there’s live entertainment and lots of sporting events – cycling, running, canoeing, downhill racing and sailing.
Aug Joy of Jazz, Johannesburg, http://www.joyofjazz.co.za.
Jo’burg’s biggest annual jazz festival with over 200 local and international performers at different venues across the city, particularly in Newtown.
Aug Oppikoppi Bushveld Festival, Northam, North West, http://www.oppikoppi.co.za.
Popular rock festival that has helped establish many South African musicians’ careers. This is real bushveld: hot, dry and covered in red dust and thorn trees. Expect to shower a lot when you get home. (Oppikoppi also hosts an Easter Festival in Mar/Apr.)
Sep Arts Alive, Johannesburg, www.arts alive.co.za.
4-day festival with over 600 performers in dance, visual art, poetry and music at venues in the Jo’burg inner city area; the main concert is held at the Johannesburg Stadium.
Sep Hermanus Whale Festival, Hermanus, Western Cape, http://www.whalefestival.co.za.
An entertainment-packed festival, with the best land-based whale watching in the world.
Sep Macufe, Bloemfontein, Free State, http://www.macufe.co.za.
10-day African cultural festival, featuring jazz, gospel, kwaito, hip- hop, R&B, rock and classical music, as well as dance, drama, musical theatre, poetry, fine art and traditional arts and crafts.
Nov Woodstock, Harrismith, Free State, http://www.woodstock.co.za.
4-day youth-oriented music and lifestyle festival, with bands and a market of crafters and alternative lifestyle products.
Dec Spier Summer Festival, Stellenbosch, http://www.spier.co.za.
At the amphitheatre on the Spier Estate, 4 months of music, opera, dance, stand-up comedy and theatre from Dec to Mar.