09 December 2013 by Andrea Weiss

Festive events in December 2013

There’s nothing quite like December in South Africa to make you feel extra-festive and jolly. If you’re in the country and not sure what to do, here’s a taste of what’s on offer.

Wavescape Surf Film Festival outdoor screening at Clifton Fourth Beach. Picture courtesy of Jonx Pillemer

1. Wavescape Surf Film Festival in Cape Town

If you are a die-hard surf fanatic, or perhaps just love the sea, then this surf film festival is for you. The film festival, which kicked off with a free screening at Clifton Fourth Beach on December 7, is the ideal opportunity to enjoy some roller-coaster surf action on the big screen. A number of iconic surf movies will be shown at Brass Bell restaurant in Kalk Bay until December 11 and the Labia Theatre until December 16. There will also be a slide night at the Two Oceans Aquarium, also on December 11. For more information, go to Wavescape.

2. The Mother City Queer Project (MCQP), Cape Town

Mother City Queer Project is Cape Town's annual, massive dress-up party that draws party-goers from around the country. This year it celebrates its 20 th anniversary, having been first held in 1994 as a celebration of South Africa's new constitution that enshrined gay rights, though it is by no means an exclusively gay event. Each year the theme changes and the competition is on to see who can come up with the most outrageous outfit. This year the party is being held at the Cape Town Stadium. The theme is Space Cowboys. Tickets from the MCQP Ticket Shop cost R320 for general admission; R480 for VIP; and R100 extra for the after party.

The team behind the annual MCQP party. Image courtesy of Jade Reidy The team behind the annual MCQP party. Image courtesy of Jade Reidy

3. Old Mutual Music at the Lake – Carols by Candlelight at the Durban Botanic Gardens, KwaZulu-Natal

The annual Carols by Candlelight at the Durban Botanic Gardens is a popular family event featuring the Durban City Orchestra, vocal soloists and several choirs. Nothing beats the atmosphere of a beautiful summer's night and remarkable acoustics with the beautiful backdrop of a botanical garden. Bring the family, a picnic basket and enjoy the spectacular show, but be sure to get there early as numbers are limited to 5 000 (the gates open at 6pm). This year's event is on December 12 and tickets cost R110 online or R130 on the day. Children aged eight to 12 pay only R50 each. Tickets available at Webticket.

4. Cape Bonsai Kai Show, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town

If you've always wanted to get into the fine art of bonsai, then this event is for you. More than 100 bonsai will be on show in the Sanlam Hall near Gate 2. Experts will be on hand to demonstrate how to care for these miniature trees and, in celebration of the garden's 100 th anniversary, there will also be bonsai created from cuttings taken in the gardens more than 20 years ago. The show is on from December 14 to 16 and entrance is free (outside of the garden entrance fee).

Brush cherry bonsai. Image courtesy of Terry Erasmus Brush cherry bonsai. Image courtesy of Terry Erasmus

5. Vodacom Jazz Picnic, Dries Niemand Picnic Grounds, Kempton Park, Gauteng

Jazz lovers can enjoy the sounds of musicians Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse, Kwani Experience, Malaika and many more at this annual jazz picnic. Pack your picnic basket and be ready to get your groove on. Regrettably, no glass (bottles) will be allowed into the venue. This year's picnic is on December 16. Tickets cost R30 at the gate and the venue opens at 2pm.

6. A Time of Enchantment, Cape Sun, Cape Town

Get into the spirit of the festive season with dinner and a magic show at this grand old Cape venue on December 28. For R300, enjoy a three-course dinner and an evening of magic, entertainment and wizardry with international magician Sieko.

Magician Sieko. Image courtesy of Neal Kernohan Magician Sieko. Image courtesy of Neal Kernohan

7. Festival of Ideas, Emthonjeni Arts, Hamburg, Eastern Cape

If you happen to be visiting the tiny seaside town of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape, consider going through to the Festival of Ideas at the Emthonjeni Arts project, an artists-in-residency programme, on December 13. The festival includes an expo, poetry session and open mic performances during which artists will get together to share their ideas and innovations. Entrance is free.

8. Christmas Night Market with Manouche, Somerset West, Western Cape

On December 18 at Hathersage Farm in Somerset West, a R20 entrance fee will give you access to this popular night market where you can do your last-minute Christmas shopping. The main event is live music from famous Gypsy jazz band Manouche, who will keep shoppers in high spirits.

The band Manouche. Image courtesy of Manouche The band Manouche. Image courtesy of Manouche
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