End of year events and festivals to start planning your festive season vacation

2018-07-23 13:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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End of year events and festivals to start planning

Photo: iStock.

We’ve passed the halfway-mark for 2018 and the year is going by swiftly. If you haven’t met all your travel goals yet, you still have the chance to plan an epic summer vacation and end the year off with a bang.

Whether it’s a hop over to our neighbouring countries for an #AfriTravel escape or a hop on board a cruise ship on the other side of the world, we have some local and international festivals and events worth planning holidays around.

Say cheers to 2018 and ring in the new year with vacations planned around these exciting events and fun-filled festivals:

Vic Falls Carnival 2018

There’s nothing quite like welcoming the new year at one of the seven wonders of the world. The Vic Falls Carnival, in its seventh year, is set to take place from 28 December 2018 until 1 January 2019 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

SEE: #AfriTravel: Delve into the natural and cultural beauty of Zimbabwe

The carnival will feature a 3-day party with some of Africa’s best DJ’s and music acts including Freshly Ground, Prince Kaybee and BCUC among others, a sunset boat cruise, and adrenaline adventures such as white-water rafting, bungee-jumping or a helicopter flip over the Falls! Click here for more info.

TRAVEL PLANNING: Quick Guide to Zimbabwe: Visa-free travel for South Africans

Cirque du Soleil aboard MSC Meraviglia

Fancy a break in the Mediterranean? Well you can make your travel dreams a reality while saying hello to 2019 with a cruise aboard the MSC Meraviglia that returns to Mediterranean waters towards the end of 2018.

With a special festive line-up over Christmas and New Year’s Day, this cruise features exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows where guests can enjoy two different events. These are set to be performed in the Carousel Lounge - a custom-made venue with technology and special rigging especially for the Cirque du Soleil at Sea performances.

ALSO SEE: SA music fans can set sail on the Blues Cruise + 2018/2019 cruises to start planning

You can also make the most of the MSC Yacht Club, indulge in gourmet dining options from around the world - with 20 bars and lounges and 12 restaurants, or rejuvenate at the MSC Aurea Spa, among other relaxation and entertainment facilities. Click here for more information.

Keep it local…

Cape Town Minstrel Carnival

Cape Town Minstrel Carnival is all set for 2 January 2019 – and is the perfect reason to holiday in the Mother City for a truly festive and uniquely South African experience.

The annual festival - a tradition that dates back to SA's 18th century slave era when slaves were only given one day off work a year - brings together thousands of musicians, singers, dancers and tailors who add much festive cheer, colour, glitter and tinsel to the city.

Showcasing the city's history and culture, about 13 000 minstrels in 60 troupes take part in the parade in the city centre ‚ with crowds of more than 50 000 spectators. Hundreds of locals also camp along the main roads for front-row seats at the festival.

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New Year’s Festival of Lights, Nieu-Bethesda

Why not plan an Eastern Cape escape to ring in the new year, with the Festival of Lights set to take place on 31 December 2018 in Nieu-Bethesda.

This lantern parade serves as a symbol of hope, crossing cultural and religious barriers. You can even make your own lantern at one of the workshops and then join the parade. It takes place at 20:00 at the Bethesda Arts Centre. Call 049 841 1731 for more information.

Litchi Festival, Salt Rock

The annual Litchi Festival adds summery flavour to a sunny holiday in KwaZulu-Natal. Set to take place in Salt Rock, along KZN’s Dolphin Coast from 14 December 2018 to 2 January 2019, this festival is all about celebrating delicious litchis.

Go litchi picking, take in the stunning views and indulge in the summer fruit, all while enjoying a family day out in KZN. Call 071 438 4290 for more information.