Winter is here and many South African provinces are capitalising on the season by hosting a few events. Here are a few recommendations by Flight Centre:
Knysna Oyster Festival
When: June 21-30, 2019.
Best summed up as a celebration of seafood, sport and family fun, the Knysna Oyster Festival is held over two weekends in June. The Cycle Tour and Forest Marathon will keep the sports enthusiasts active, and there are more than 100 scheduled events planned over the festival, from geocaching competitions to the Night of 1,000 Pictures, an exhibition of work by local artists and photographers who are raising funds for the Knysna Hospice. Then there is the oysters. Whether you prefer them fresh from the sea, cooked or garnished, take your pick at any of Knysna’s friendly restaurants and culinary hotspots.
National Arts Festival
When: June 27 to July 7, 2019.
Book quickly and you could also still visit Africa’s largest arts festival, taking over the small university town of Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) each winter. Catch big and up-and-coming names in music, jazz, comedy, ballet, film and performance art at one of the featured shows. Wander through the Standard Bank Village Green Fair and browse more than 300 stalls selling hand-crafted arts and crafts, toys, clothing and jewellery, then stop in at the food and beer tent. There are activities for the whole family, from sundowner concerts to street parades. The Fair is open every day of the festival from 9am to 5pm.
The Sardine Run
When: June to July, 2019.
If you’re in KwaZulu-Natal, head to the coast to witness the magnificent Sardine Run. Millions of silver sardines make their way along the East Coast, with sharks, whales, dolphins and diving birds in a feeding frenzy. The phenomenon is one of the world’s most amazing marine sights. Conditions sometimes drive the fish so close to shore that families can catch them in buckets and anglers and divers can add on a helicopter flip to see the spectacle from a different perspective.
Prawn and Food Festival in Johannesburg
When: July 1, 2019.
Feast on Portuguese prawns and other food and drink at The Portuguese Prawn and Food Festival, taking place at the Johannesburg Expo Centre. Parents can enjoy the live bands and beer tent while the kids hit the theme parks. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the flea market and classic car shows. Open from 8am to 4pm. Entrance is R60 per person. Buy tickets here.
Vodacom Durban July
When: July 6, 2019.
One of the biggest horse racing events on the continent, fashionistas and equine enthusiasts will descend on Durban’s Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 6 July 2019. “The Vodacom Durban July is the fashion and social event of the year,” says Sue Garrett of Flight Centre. This year’s theme is Stars of Africa, so plan your outfit accordingly.
Winter wonderland in Hogsback
When: July 26-28, 2019.
The village of Hogsback hides in the Amathole mountains in the Eastern Cape, approximately 140km from East London airport. This quiet village is said to have inspired the setting of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings saga. Hike and walk through the unspoilt forest to the many famous waterfalls. Arrive in time for the Winter Celebration, with Christmas in July festivities from July 26 - 28. Expect great food, music, arts and crafts, carols and other ‘wintery’ activities. Don’t forget to snap the ultimate photo for social media at the Away with the Fairies hostel. It has an outdoor bathtub nestled on the edge of a cliff.
Slow Food and Wine Festival
When: August 9-11, 2019.
Slow down and head to the sleepy town of Robertson for the annual Slow Food and Wine Festival in August. Robertson is incredibly scenic with its mountain topped surroundings and Victorian buildings. Meet the winemakers along the famous Route 62 and enjoy farm-to-table dining.