#LoveSA: Escape winter with these 15 events across Western Cape

2018-05-25 10:55 - Kavitha Pillay
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The beauty of living in South Africa - apart from having natural abundance and cultural heritage to enjoy - is that the seasons are pleasurable enough to allow for a myriad of outdoor activities and unique events.

While winter on the east coast of SA mostly provides an escape from the chill, the cold season brings favourable conditions for special festivals and events on the south and west coasts, encouraging local and international tourists to visit.

SEE: Winter 2018 festivals to experience around SA

If you live in the province, take joy in knowing that you neither need to stay indoors during winter, nor travel far in search of excitement. And if you're visiting from around SA, be a tourist in your own country and make a long weekend or mini vacay out of these events and festivals.

Here are some winter events to warm up to in the Western Cape.

Wacky Wine Weekend, Robertson 

The popular Wacky Wine Weekend is set for another year of wine celebration in Robertson. Promising a myriad of activities, socialising and events, festival-goers will get to enjoy the products of 40 wineries that are taking part in this year’s festival.

Make the most of the weekend of wine by booking your accommodation early, and enjoy food pairings, interesting wine tastings, educational wine presentations, boat cruises on the Breede River, and spectacular views of the Robertson Wine Valley as you leisurely sip on local boutique wines.

When: 31 May - 3 June.

Where: Ashton, Bonnievale, Mcgregor, Robertson.

Costs: Tickets are on sale at WebTickets at R200 per person. Free entry for kids under 18.

Winter Sunset Run, Cape Town

Sunset Run, a family-friendly 6km loop route along the Atlantic Seaboard, is back in Cape Town’s Sea Point Promenade.

The event offers easy spectating and is suitable for every age group. RunnersRest Specialist Running Store, an official event sponsor, will give away some prizes, as well as running advice.

When: 26 May. The sun will set at 17:47 so the race will commence at 16:47.

Where: Sea Point Promenade.

Cost: Entries at RunnersRest Sea Point Store at R100 on the day.

Taste the Helderberg, Somerset West

Helderberg farms and vineyards presents its annual showcase of local wine and food at Taste the Helderberg. It will be the first time the event is held on a Friday, giving visitors the perfect opportunity make the most of weekend escape in the countryside.

At the event you will get to sample latest wine releases on the Friday, while on Saturday and Sunday you can explore the farms for first-hand tasting experiences. In addition to the sampling wines of the region and treats from the food theatre, local food will be on sale throughout the evening.

Adding an extra bit if fun to the event, the organisers chose purple - the colour of royalty - to be the theme colour denoting Helderberg quality. "The funkiest-dressed couples will be identified and rewarded for their innovative use of a touch of purple," according to the event organisers.

When: Friday, 8 June, from 17:00 to 21:00.

Where: NH The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West.

Cost: Tickets are R150 per person and includes a glass, tastings and delicious chocolate. booked online at www.wineroute.co.za. If any tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door.

For more information: Visit www.wineroute.co.za or call 021 886 8275.

Encounters Film Festival, Cape Town 

This SA documentary film festival features films from across the country, continent and globe.

It serves as a point of reference for the latest trends in the industry as well as a meeting spot for like-minded individuals to share their stories, debate their points of view and enjoy input from respected artists.

The festival will be running in Cape Town and Johannesburg simultaneously at various venues across the cities. 

When: 31 May - 10 June.

Where: V&A Nouveau, V&A Waterfront.

Cost: Click here for bookings. 

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Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival, Calitzdorp 

Centred around the Little Karoo town's rich dessert wine production culture, the Port & Wine festival is a celebration for the senses, featuring a gourmet food market, secret dinners and music events.

The historical Calitzdorp Railway Station serves as the venue for the main festivities, while Boplaas, De Krantz and Calitzdorp Cellars also host a number of events. 

When: 15 - 17 June.

Where: Calitzdorp Railway Station.

Cost: Different events have different cover charges and some require pre-booking, so be sure to check out the programme to plan your stay.    

Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival, Knysna

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival promises a long weekend of dancing, fun and music, with daily shows held at various locations throughout the town of Knysna.

Set to take place from 24-27 May, the grand finale of the festival - the Parade and after-party - is held on the final weekend of the celebrations. The festival attracts floats, performers and DJ’s from all over the world and local businesses also get involved by competing for the best Pink Loerie window display. 

In addition, this year’s event will make history by hosting the 10th edition of the Mr Gay World competition. "This will be the third time that South Africa has presented the prestigious event; a world first," says Visit Knysna.

When: 24-27 May 2018.

Where: Knysna.

Cost and info: Contact John ONeil at 083 347 9570 or john.oneil@pinkloerie.co.za.

Cartoon Network Live!, Cape Town

Cartoon Network Live! will feature Cartoon Network’s heroes in an interactive stage production for kids aged five-years-old and older.

Kids will go through a journey through the Land of Ooo with Kelvin Gizmo, scientist extraordinaire, as the world of Cartoon Network gets threatened by Zarr, an evil robot. Expect to see Ben 10, The Amazing World of Gumball, Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls live on stage.

When: 26 June - 01 July.

Where: Grand Arena, GrandWest.

Cost: From R95 per person. Book your tickets at Computicket.

Franschhoek Mystery Weekends, Franschhoek

Franschhoek Mystery Weekends are perfect for couples in need of a quality winter escape to enjoy Franschhoek’s finest wines, world-class cuisine and bespoke experiences.

The Franschhoek Mystery Weekend includes two nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, a surprise event on the Friday night, dinner on the Saturday night, a light lunch on the Sunday, and a selection of bespoke Franschhoek experiences which will only be revealed when you check in.

When: 1-2 June, 27-28 July and 24-25 August.

Where: Franschhoek.

Cost and info: Four packages are available, from R5 300 per couple. Click here for more info or contact Carmen Arendse on mysteryweekend@franschhoek.org.za. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist, Cape Town

Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist returns to GrandWest with humour, entertainment and tricks. He will present interactive and comedic performances during the funny hypnosis show that the whole family will enjoy.

When: Until 10 June.

Where: Roxy Revue Bar, GrandWest.

Cost: From R130 per person. Tickets are available at Computicket.

"Behind-the-scenes” wine tasting, Upper Blaauwklippen

Savour wine tastings in a rare "behind-the-scenes experience" with the owners of three boutique wine farms in Upper Blaauwklippen near Stellenbosch.

The vintners annually come together to permit limited access to boutique wine tasting experiences in the valley. Get the opportunity to meet the vintners and owners of the three boutique farms - De Trafford, Keermont and Kleinood - for an exclusive tasting.

When: Saturday, 2 June from 11:00 to 16:00.

Where: Upper Blaauwklippen Valley.

Cost: Only 100 tickets are available at R500 each. Book your tickets by sending an email to sales@keermont.co.za or calling Juanita at Keermont on 021 880 0397.

Knysna Oyster Festival, Knysna

Oysters and sport are the focus at one of the most popular annual events in the Western Cape - the Knysna Oyster Festival. The festival has taken place since 1983, where it began as the Knysna Winter Festival - a combination of sport that drew people to Knysna during the cold and quieter season.

The festival is spread across two weekends of family fun, with the two major sporting events being the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon. Click here for the full programme, more information, and registration and ticket details.

When: 29 June - 8 July 2018.

Where: Knysna.

Cost and info: Contact Glendyrr Fick at 044 382 5510 or glendyrr@worldsport.co.za.

Hermanus FynArts Festival, Hermanus

This diverse arts and culture event is packed with visual arts, literature, music and award-winning food and wine.

Festival-goers can expect musical entertainment, exhibitions and talks around photography and ceramics as well as workshops of those aspiring artists who want to get their hands dirty. The event is also an ideal family escape as there will be a host of kids entertainment for the little ones too. 

When: 9 - 18 June.

Where: Hermanus, across various venues.

Cost: Click here for more information.

Disney On Ice, Cape Town

Tinker Bell takes audiences on an enchanting pixie-dust filled journey with Disney On Ice presents Dream Big

The empowering tales of eight Disney Princesses – Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora and Snow White embark on adventures.

When: 11 - 15 July.

Where: Grand Arena, GrandWest.

Cost: From R51 per person. Click here to book.

126th Rastafari Earth Festival, Knysna

Earth Day, or the birthday of the Rastafarian's spiritual messiah, takes place on 23 July, and is honoured as part of the annual Earth Festival from 22-30 July.

The festival includes musical acts, dancing and singing of traditional songs. Members wear traditional attire, tell stories and recite poems.

The event is family-friendly and open to the public - and serves as a platform for Rastafarians to openly share the traditions and roots of their faith. Tourists are welcome to bring their cameras and learn what Emancipation Day is all about.

When: 20-30 July 2018.

Where: Judah Square, Knysna.

Cost and info: Contact Br Dawie Afrikaner/ Zebulon/ Zebs at 076 649 1034 or dawieafraker99@gmail.com.

Franschhoek Winter Wines, Franschhoek

Head to the Franschhoek Motor Museum, L’Ormarins Estate for Franschhoek Winter Wines for fine wine, food and vintage vehicles. Participating wineries include Topiary, Black Elephant Vintners, Holden Manz, La Bri, Rickety Bridge, Haute Cabrière and Anthonij Rupert Wyne, amongst others. Tasty comfort food and abundant sweet treats will be available.

Visitors will also get to view the vintage and luxury vehicles on display, as the Franschhoek Motor Museum boasts more than 100 years of motoring history. For more information contact 021 876 2861 or info@franschhoek.org.za.

When: Saturday, 16 June, from 11:00 to 16:00.

Where: Franschhoek Motor Museum, L’Ormarins Estate.

Cost: Tickets are available directly from www.webtickets.co.za at R280 per person. This includes a complimentary wine glass, a tasting of all the wines on show, a R20 voucher (to be redeemed on the day), as well as entrance to the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Booking is essential as tickets are limited.