#LoveSA: 15 Must-do winter events in KZN

2018-05-25 12:19 - Kavitha Pillay
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Durban / iStock

If there’s one thing to love about KwaZulu-Natal, it’s certainly getting to enjoy the warm beaches and many sunny days throughout winter.

That’s what makes KZN the perfect destination for many winter events – especially if you’re the type of person who prefers basking in all things summery – as it provides the ideal weather conditions for all types of events, from major races, to cultural festivals and more.

SEE: 5 Unique KZN experiences you have to try

Whether you want to escape winter in much colder parts of SA or if you just want to experience a slice of east coast sunshine, here are some events worth attending while embarking on your trek through the Zulu Kingdom.

Comrades Marathon 2018

The 93rd Ultimate Human Race is set to be a Down Run, beginning in Pietermaritzburg and finishing in Durban - with the race route annually alternating its starting points between these two KwaZulu-Natal cities.

While 20 000 runners will take on the 89km stretch, if you're not running then make the most of the sunny KZN winter and cash in on the fun along the race route. Spectators usually line the streets of the route, cheering on runners.

SEE: Comrades Marathon 2018: A guide to SA's 'ultimate human race'

There are also special spectator spots boasting entertainment acts such as DJs, bands, professional dancers, cheerleaders and local sports personalities - as well as dedicated kids' zones, food stalls and large screens to view the race. Click here for more information.

When: Sunday, 10 June.

Where: The 46th Down Run starts at 5:30 outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and ends 12 hours later at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium. This is the first time that the race is finishing at the stadium.

Cost: Free. 

Ballito Pro Surfing Competition

Another athletic highlight on KwaZulu Natal’s winter calendar is the Ballito Pro surfing competition – an international surf and lifestyle event hosted in Ballito. Set to take place over 12 days from 21 June – 1 July, Ballito Pro combines world-class surfing with a vibrant festival.

While surfers compete, spectators enjoy live music performances across a variety of genres, shopping, beach football and other beach and extreme sports, food contests and stalls, among other entertainment.

When: 21 June - 1 July.

Where: Willard Beach in Ballito on the KwaDukuza coast.

Cost: Free entry for spectators.

Zakifo Music Festival

The fourth annual Zakifo Music Festival returns to Durban from 25 - 27 May, set to feature a line-up of musicians from across the African continent and beyond. The festival will take place across three Durban venues - the BAT Centre, Views @ Twenty5, and Blue Lagoon Beach.

The festival begins with a fundraising concert for the Nelson Mandela Foundation at the BAT Centre, featuring Sekou Kouyate - a kora player from Guinea, and Elida Almeida - a Cape Verdean folk singer. Headlining this evening is South African musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse.

MUST-SEE: Adventure out on these KZN summer road trips

Other national and international performers throughout the weekend include Nasty C, DJ Lag, Flavia Coelho, Nathalie Natiembé, DJ Doowap, Oki Dub Ainu Band, K-$, Alice Phoebe Lou, Nakhane, Dub Inc, Guy Buttery, Kanada Narahari, and major international act Aloe Blacc.

Also expect satellite events, workshops and parties, as well as industry-focused events that are a platform for exchanging musical knowledge and experiences.

When: 25 - 27 May.

Where: Durban’s BAT Centre, Views @ Twenty5, and Blue Lagoon Beach.

Cost: Tickets are available via Nutickets at the following prices:

  • R500 - 3-day weekend pass (excluding Madiba concert)
  • R150 - Friday pass - Views @ Twenty5
  • R150 - Saturday pass - Views @ Twenty5
  • R300 - Sunday pass - Blue Lagoon Beach
  • R300 - Friday Madiba concert - BAT Centre

The Royal Show

The Royal Agricultural Show is an annual mixed exhibition that takes place in KZN’s capital city, Pietermaritzburg, boasting a predominantly agricultural component.

According to the event organisers, the Royal Show is “Africa’s largest mixed agricultural show”.

The ten-day event includes shows of livestock and agricultural equipment, a range of public-interest exhibits, displays and activities covering a variety of industries, and a myriad of lifestyle exhibitions.

In addition to the exhibits, stalls and displays, there’s entertainment lined-up for the whole family to enjoy including music concerts, a funfair, and food, craft and shopping stalls.

When: 25 May - 3 June. Opens at 9:00 daily and closes at 18:00 daily (19:00 on Saturdays).

Where: Royal Agricultural Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg.

Cost: Tickets can be bought at the entrance gate or online, and are priced as follows:

  • Super Friday Ticket - R50
  • Adult (12 – 59 years) – R65
  • Junior (6-12 years) – R45
  • Pensioner (60 years + with ID) – R45
  • Children (under 5 years) – Free entry.

ALSO SEE: #FindYourEscape at the Gin, Wine and Jazz Festival in Lesotho's Maluti Mountains

Braver than dad #ferriswheel #royalagriculturalshow

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Theatre: Camelot

Camelot is a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the epic TH White novel The Once and Future King. It features some of Lerner and Loewe’s most beautiful music, with songs like Camelot, If Ever I Would Leave You, It’s May and I Loved You Once in Silence.

Note: the play is not suitable for children under eight years old.

When: 18 May – 3 June.

Where: Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UZKN Durban campus.

Cost: From R185 per person. Book at Computicket.

Vodacom Durban July

With the first race run in 1897, The Vodacom Durban July is one of South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious events.

While horse racing started off being the focus of the event, the race shares the spotlight with the local fashion industry and has grown to be one of the biggest lifestyle events on the country’s social calendar.

This year’s fashion theme is “Time”, so get ready to strut your stuff in those avant-garde garments that reflect the theme and your creativity at this chic KZN event.

Be sure to also explore food and entertainment stalls in between races and enjoy the local music line-up set to entertain at special marquees (which you will need to purchase a ticket for separately). Dress up, turn up and catch the uber-luxurious party vibes at the Durban July.

When: Saturday, 7 July.

Where: Greyville Racecourse, Durban.

Cost: Entry is R220 per person. Tickets can be purchased from Computicket.


Wow Experience Gospel Music Festival

This family event aims to bring peace in the city, featuring top local gospel artists.

When: 13 July.

Where: Esikhawini College.

Cost: Tickets from R180 each. Click here for tickets.

Nature, Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers Congress

Registration is open for the second edition of the Nature, Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers Congress (NEWF) which creates a path to conservation through film by providing a platform for delegates to engage, network and contribute to the industry.

NEWF2018 offers topics to inspire story and spark lively and robust debate, informative panel sessions, case studies and interactive demonstrations. An array of keynote speakers, industry leaders and special guests have been invited

When: 16 - 18 July.

Where: Durban Botanic Gardens.

Cost: For more info email registration@newf.co.za or contact Pragna on 064 294 0669.

Drakensberg Boys Choir Live Concert

The acclaimed Drakensberg Boys Choir will present an afternoon of choral entertainment.

You don’t have to be a music connoisseur to enjoy this blend of western classical, pop and indigenous folklore music presented by the young talent.

When: 6 June.

Where: Drakensberg Boys Choir Auditorium, Winterton.

Cost: Tickets from R135. Click here to buy tickets.

Jump City Challenge at uShaka

Run, jump and crawl your way through 24 built obstacles for all levels of athletes, at this night event on 22 June.

The Jump City Challenge at uShaka Marine World boasts a new route, as you make your way along a gauntlet of new and exciting challenges.

When: 22 June.

Where: uShaka Marine World.

Cost: Limited entries available. Click here for more information and for bookings. Book early to reserve your batch and receive a free t-shirt with your entry.

Vuma 103 Family Day

Vuma 103 presents a family-friendly food and music event featuring some of SA’s top acts to thrill audiences. It promises to keep the whole family enthralled. Click here for more information.

When: 16 June.

Where: People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Cost: R200 per person. Book at Computicket.

iSimangaliso Trail Challenge

The iSimangaliso Trail Challenge takes place from 29 June – 1 July, at St Lucia’s Sugarloaf Campsite where the race village is set within earshot of hippos at the Lake St Lucia Estuary mouth.

From the outset, the event is about spectators and family involvement with the weekend starting off with a 6km ‘Full Moon’ leg-stretcher on the beach being open to all.

The event consists of 3 stages. All stages start and finish at Sugarloaf Campsite where the race village is located, other than the third and final stage that starts at Cape Vidal.

  • Stage 1 (29 June 2018): Full moon beach run 6km (Open to spectators, family and friends not doing the full event)
  • Stage 2 (30 June 2018): Maphelane Loop 37km / 20km
  • Stage 3 (01 July 2018): Cape Vidal to Sugarloaf Campsite, Lake St Lucia Estuary 39km / 16km

When:  29 June – 01 July 2018

Where: Sugarloaf Campsite, Lake St Lucia Estuary, iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Cost and info: For entries visit isimangalisotrailchallenge.co.za

Madiba Jive Music Festival

DJ Fresh, Shekhina, Tbo Touch, DJ Ganyoni and Khuzani will entertain the crowd at this family-friendly event in celebration of Nelson Mandela. With the theme centred on nation and unity, the event aims to send messages about Madiba’s legacy.

When: 28-29 July.

Where: Umhlathuze Sports Ground, Richards Bay.

Cost: Tickets range from R100 - R500. Click here to book.

Ethekwini Motor Festival Fashion Show

The Ethekwini Motor Festival Fashion Show is a networking platform where automotive meets fashion.

Local designers get paired with a car brand to create its fashion identity in a night of glitz, glamour and creative inspiration. Bring your friends over and enjoy some food, wine and music. No children allowed.

When: 23 June at 16:00.

Where: Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Cost: R150 each at Computicket.

Durban International Film Festival

The 39th Durban International Film Festival is the one of the biggest film festivals on the continent, set to take place in conjunction with the Durban Film Mart and Talents Durban. If you are a lover of fine art, nouveau films and have an appreciation for creative and provocative cinema, then this is the film festival not to be missed.

When: 19 – 29 July.

Where: Various venues across Durban. Click here for all the venues.

Cost: Click here for more information.