20 December 2011 by Dianne Tipping-Woods

Top New Year's parties in South Africa

It’s time to welcome in the New Year, Mzansi style! Whether you’re looking to spend New Year’s Eve far from the madding crowd, in a big, bustling city or at a small-town festival, you’ll have lots of options to choose from. Here are a few of the top events around the country.

Ox Braai has been around since the early eighties. It takes place on 29 December, so it’s not technically a New Year’s party - but it’s close. This year, the Bathurst show ground is expected to house over 10 000 people, 15 tons of wood, 26 spit braais and 2 tons of meat. There is music, dance, drink and of course, lots of meat! Join the Ox Braai facebook page for more info.

The Smoking Dragon Festival takes place at Amphitheatre Backpackers on 31 December. It’s set against one of South Africa’s most magnificent mountain ranges and the musical line-up includes Sonofold, Zaffa, Kathy Raven, Fridge Poetry, SuperJuke & the Silver Pennies and, at 23h00, the inimitable Cortina Whiplash. Every campsite has a view and you can hike off your hangover.

Rock the River’s New Year’s Festival will host lively main and metal stages and,  the festival organisers have signed up Rubadub tto provide some dubstep rhythms too. The festival takes place at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch, away from the bustle of the inner city.

The Summer Sun Festival in Mossel Bay has everything from hot musical acts to beer tents and clothing stalls, with a New Year’s Eve bash on 31 January that is said to be the best along the Garden Route. Some of the country’s top rock artists will be performing.

The Joburg Carnival is a New Year celebration of the creativity and diversity of the city. There will be an assortment of troupes, choirs, bands and floats making their way through the city. Following in the footsteps of the world-famous Rio Carnival, but with a distinctive Mzansi twist, the annual Joburg Carnival gets better each year.

The Savanna & 5FM New Year’s parties are set to be big events. There is one in Ballito (the insane Ballito New Year’s Eve street party in the Village Centre) and one in Cape Town (at the Breakwater Lodge rooftop, V&A Waterfront). Whichever one you attend, you’ll experience some not-to-be missed performances by top DJs.

In Cape Town, Prime Circle will be playing at Kirstenbosch - you can pack a picnic and some wine and spend an evening with one of South Africa’s leading rock bands in one of the country’s most beautiful urban settings. For a completely different vibe, the Resonance Trance Party. It’s not a language I speak, so check out their website for details.

The New Years Festival of Lights in Nieu-Bethesda is a very special way to welcome in 2012 as people from all walks of life embark on magical night walk through this starry Karoo town, followed by a braai and dancing to see the New Year in.

AmaFullThrottle is described as a crazy outdoor festival that features music that ranges from techno to dubstep to progressive trance. Top KZN Dj’s and live bands will perform under an African sky on two weatherproof dance floors. It takes place just 40 mins from Durban in a magical secluded hilltop venue with great views.

Of course, there are also other great celebrations around the country or, my personal favorite, sneaking into the bush with my husband for the night, and celebrating far from the madding crowd! Happy New Year!

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