Cape Town Family Holiday Magic

Cape Town Christmas

A Merry Festive December in the Mother City

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Cape Town Christmas is special. If you are from the northern hemisphere, though, it may not feel like Xmas at all!

Why is that... ?

"CapeTown festive season" means

cape town christmas

  • baking sunshine
  • beaching and swimming
  • "Dad's office is closed"
  • lazy days in the vineyards
  • picnicking and dining outdoors
  • sunset concerts
  • sundowners on the beach
  • waiting languidly for twilight to surrender to velvety warm nights after 8pm.

Basically it's the epitome of the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer!

Christmas in Cape Town Annual Events

In the flurry of Christmas shopping and markets, carol concerts, eating and playing, there are a few annual events that make Cape Town Christmas season unique.

Carols (at Kirstenbosch and other places)

Very traditional, very atmospheric, Kirstenbosch Carols by Candlelight are very much top of the seasonal pops.

Held in the evening, to the familiar summer idea of "bring your family, bring your picnic", you arrive before sunset and enjoy twilight in the gardens before the concert starts.

All the candles are a glorious sight and if you like Carols, this is not to be missed.

In the Winelands, you can attend similar Carol services at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, just outside Stellenbosch.

More details here =>Cape Town Carols

Cape Town Christmas Lights

Adderley Street is adorned with funky Christmas lights every year, and the end of November always brings the traditional "Switching On" ceremony.

One trend I have enjoyed over the last 10 years is seeing increasingly local and African themes in the lights, alongside the traditional Christmas nativity scenes.

Christmas in Africa is more Yellowwoods and Baobabs than firs and spruces, and the season is never snowy or cold, so I am loving the homegrown, "owning-this-not-importing-it" feeling of monkeys and meerkats up in the lights!.

Somerset West is also justly renowned for their High Street festive season light decorations, so if you are out that way it's a good place to stop in. And they always have a Christmas market that is well worth a visit.

Christmas Markets

If you just have to shop at this time of year, you can definitely do it away from the malls.

Pia of Mother City Living has put togther the most comprehensive 2011 guide to the Christmas markets in and near Cape Town, so be inspired to support the 'little guys' with your cash, rather than the chain stores round the shopping centres.

Another Christmas shopping option is the vendor-crafters near Silwood in Rondebosch, or on Rhodes Drive near Kirstenbosch. You can spread the love and joy a little further afield by giving them a hand up!

They have amazing, beautiful things that are uniquely African plus an amazing creative variety of small, hand-made items for gift and tree adornments and Christmas decorations.

Clifton Beach Challenge

Always in December, the Clifton Beach volleyball challenge is quite a spectacle. Playing beach volleyball in the heat of a Cape Town summer takes some doing, and people always turn out in droves to see this local event.

Cape Town New Year Carnival - Minstrel March

Okay, so it happens after Christmas, but the Klopse is still very much part of the vibe of this crazy time of year! On January 2nd, Cape Town's city centre comes alive with jaunty jigs and marching bands as the Malay comunity celebrates Tweede Nuwe Jaar (second New Year). It deserves a page of its own, so don't miss out - click-on through and read all about it.

More info here => Cape Town Minstrels - Coon Carnival

You may find the following related pages helpful:
Cape Town Carols
Cape Town Christmas Lunch
Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
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