Capetonians are generally keen outdoors and sports enthusiasts and there are a number of annual sport, music and food & wine events that have become extremely popular and an important part of the Cape Town calender.
Cape Argus/Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour - arguably one of the biggest sporting events on the Cape Town calender the cycle tour has become increasingly popular over the years and now sees close to 30 000 cyclists taking part in the one of the most scenic cycle tours in the world. The event attracts both competitive and casual cyclists alike and includes various events for the whole family during the week leading up to the cycle. Takes place in March.
Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon - since humble beginnings in 1970, this marathon following a beautiful 56km scenic route around the Cape Peninsula now attracts over 12 000 entrants, including competitors from overseas. Spectators line the course to cheer participants along and the race ends at the University of Cape Town with a carnival for the whole family. Takes place in April.
J&B Met: This is one of the top attractions on the Cape Town event calendar (Jan/Feb). If a day of glitz, glamour, festivities and horse races appeals to you, mark the J&B Met down on your list of things to do in Cape Town. With prizes for the best dressed couple, food, entertainment, drink, evening parties and a whole day of horse racing, the J&B Met is always a fantastic occasion; certainly a top Cape Town event.
Red Bull Big Wave, Dungeons: Cape Town was home to the first Big Wave Surf contest in Africa. The first competition was held in 1999. Since then the competition has gone from strength to strength attracting international and local surfers with the hunger for big wave action. Dungeons is the location, which is just off the Sentinel in Hout Bay. The surf spot catches massive sea swell around May, June when the contest is held. These waves are huge! There is a view point situated on the sentinel which can be accessed from the Hout Bay Harbour. Red Bull vehicles will take you up the mountain and steer you in the direction of the viewpoint. An alternative is to watch the action from a boat which you board from Hout Bay harbour. This Cape Town event is something different that offers great action. “The surfer who demonstrates the most commitment on the largest waves in a controlled manner will receive the highest score.” The competition month keeps surfers on stand-by until the waves are at a competitive size. A really extreme Cape Town event!
Music & Entertainment Events
North Sea Jazz Festival - held in the city centre, this event offers a full weekend of Jazz showcasing artists from South Africa, Africa and abroad. Takes place in March.
Klein Karoo National Arts Festival - held in the ostrich farming town of Oudtshoorn in the Karoo this festival offers music, dance, poetry, theatre and cabaret and is aimed at the whole family. Accommodation needs to be booked well in advance. Takes place March/April.
Cape Town International Comedy Festival - an international comedy festival showcasing both local talent as well as well-known American and British comedians. Takes place early September.
Dunhill Symphony of Fire: For 4 nights the city is treated to this spectacular extravaganza. Competing nations synchronise firework displays to music, and the event culminates in an exciting play-off on the last night.
Food & Wine Festivals
Cape Times V&A Waterfront Wine Affair – showcases over 75 Western Cape wine estates all under one roof. Includes food and wine pairings and many special dinner offers at Waterfront restaurants. Takes place 6-9 May.
Cape Gourmet Festival - two weeks of food and wine and more food and wine. The festival encompasses a host of events from the Good Food and Wine show to cookery demonstrations with top international and local chefs, restaurant promotions and the Table of Unity luncheon at the foot of Table Mountain. Takes place in May.
Fashion, Decor & Lifestyle
Design Indaba Expo - a variety of exclusive architects, decorators and designers showcase their cutting edge creations. Also on offer are fashion shows, films and other performances. Takes place 27 Feb – 1 March.
Cape Town Book Fair – a massive show encompassing many aspects of literature including discussions and readings by renowned authors. Special childrens programme. Takes place 13-16 June.
Cape Town Fashion Week - a proudly South African show sporting the latest designs from talented local designers. Takes place in early August.
Hermanus Whale Festival: The Hermanus Whale festival runs from the 24 September to 28 September 2008 and is organised to coincide with the arrival of the whales in Walker Bay. Just over an hour from Cape Town, the seaside town of Hermanus comes alive for the very popular Whale festival. The cliffs surrounding the bay offer you spectacular views of the whales. This Cape Town event is very popular because apart from whale watching, there are a host of other activities for the whole family. Jazz, blues, cabaret, comedy, food stalls, art, markets… you are spoiled for choice. The whales are around for a couple of months so if you miss the festival you still have a very good chance of seeing whales at this time of year.
Kirstenbosch Concerts: The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Cape Town provides a unique, natural setting for summer concerts in Cape Town. Take a picnic basket and enjoy the sounds of many artists who play at the gardens. Christmas time is very popular for carols by candle light and New Year often attracts an international artist. Summer weather is perfect for evening Concerts at Kirstenbosch.
Mother City Queer Projects (MCQP) party: This has become one of Cape Town's biggest and best annual parties. Gays, lesbians and friends- dressed in elaborate, sexy, dazzling costumes- party the night away in a fun-filled fatasyland. Leave all inhibitions at home!