Cape Town International Jazz Festival

A crowd at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. © Cape Town International Jazz Festival/Terry February
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival offers superb entertainment and has become known as 'Africa's Grandest Gathering'. The event has attracted some of the world's biggest musical names, among them Lauryn Hill, Dan Brubeck, Earth, Wind & Fire and local greats like Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dludlu.

Did you know?

A free community concert takes place every year in the lead-up to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a highlight on every jazz enthusiast’s calendar. It takes place on the last weekend of March each year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Here you'll find on offer an eclectic mix of local and international jazz, which is why they call it 'Africa’s Grandest Gathering', as the Mother City puts on a show of sexy, soulful jazz and entertains in style.

The first festival took place in 2000 and, over the years, attendance figures have grown from 14 000 to well over 30 000. The event consists of live performances from 40-plus international and African artists over two days across five stages and, for those who love music, it’s a festival of note, with musicians playing to full houses.

Big names to have performed at the festival include Lauryn Hill, Dan Brubeck, James Ingram, Dave Sanchez, Dave Koz, Earth, Wind & Fire and many others. Local musical greats such as Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dludlu continue to thrill audiences and there are also workshops and events highlighting new, young, talents and investing in the future of South African jazz.

Cape Town’s hotels are only too keen to put on special packages for festival-goers and excellent deals are available for those who want to travel to the Mother City. Pre- and post-tours include visits to major attractions such as Robben Island and Table Mountain, as well as visiting the townships for more local flavour (and more local jazz).

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is now ranked as one of the top jazz festivals in the world and is right up there with Holland’s North Sea Jazz Festival and Switzerland’s Montreux Festival.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Tel: +27 (0)21 671 8716

ESP (the organisers of the event)
11 Myhof Road, Glosderry Estate, Claremont, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 671 0506

How to get here

There are direct flights to Cape Town from London and other international capitals. You can also fly from Johannesburg.

Around the area

While you are visiting Cape Town, plan a trip to Robben Island or take a township tour if you'd like to understand more about the history of the country.

Tours to do

Head out to the winelands either before or after festival. Enjoy the wine estates of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

Get around

Having your own car is an advantage if you want to travel further afield.

What will it cost

Tickets start around R440.

Length of stay

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival take's place over a weekend, but you could easily spend a week on holiday in the Western Cape.

Where to stay

Accommodation in Cape Town varies from five-star hotels, to guest houses and B&Bs as well as value-for-money backpackers. It's a good idea to book early (two to three months in advance) if you're visiting for the jazz festival.

What to eat

Cape Town is known for its fine dining. One of the most sought-after restaurants is Luke Dale-Roberts' Test Kitchen in Woodstock, but you'll have to book months in advance to secure a table.

What's happening

There is so much on the go during the Cape Town International Jazz Festival: workshops, master classes, jazz safaris, art displays.

Best buys

Fine Cape wines and music, of course.