2018 South African Festivals to Take Note Of

12 February 2018

It's still early days, but many festivals have announced their dates for 2018. We've got a list of the festivals you should mark in your calendar, ranging from fun food experiences to magical music moments, check out our recommendations below:

Design Indaba
When: 20-24 February
One of the best events to attend if you’re a young creative or an aspiring designer, you will be inspired for days after attending this world-renowned festival. Featuring world-famous artists and designers, including Carolyn Davidson—the woman behind the iconic Nike Swoosh—and Neri Oxman (a pioneer in bio-engineered work), Design Indaba is here to challenge the way you think and to set you up for an inspirational start to 2018.

Cape Town Motor Show
When: 2-4 March
Petrol heads, this is for you. The Cape Town Motor Show is the epitome of #CarGoals, and even if you’re not big on anything with an engine, you’ll be impressed by the vehicles on show and the futuristic tech set to be unveiled. Witness the grand reveal of incredible cars from world-famous brands, along with some mind-blowing drifting, incredible live entertainment featuring top SA bands and other awesome draw-factors for people who don’t care about horsepower or how fast anything goes from 0-100 kilometres.

Splashy Fen
When: 29 March - 1 April
Proudly announcing itself as “SA’s friendliest festival”, Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest running and oldest music festival (yup, even older than the famous OppiKoppi). According to organisers, the festival “celebrates life, art, music, love, laughter and fun” in the incredible world heritage site that is The Drakensberg. The festival is all about coming together and embracing our heritage while having a roaring time. Artists in this year’s lineup include Matthew Mole, Rubber Duc, GoodLuck, Desmond & the Tutus and more.

Bushfire (Swaziland)
When: 25-27 May
Alright, it’s not in South Africa, but it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away and is recognised as the Top African Festival by BBC and one of MTV’s Top 10 International Festivals to visit in 2018. More than twenty thousand people head to Swaziland for the three-day festival which boasts incredible music, theatre, poetry, dance and visual arts to showcase Africa’s finest talent. The festival also has a marketplace, global food village and different stages to enjoy a variety of experiences.

Fire & Feast Meat Festival
When: 8-10 June
Are you a self-professed carnivore? This festival aims not only to satisfy your love and cravings for expertly-prepared meat, but it also aims to educate those who visit on how best to cook and enjoy different types and cuts of meat. Not only limited to red meat, you can also find out more about chicken, fish and game. There is also a Beer & Braai garden which offers an awesome vibe, along with a wine-tasting zone and gin bar if beer isn’t your thing. Live entertainment is also available to see you through the day.

Durban July
When: 7 July
Usually viewed as something “for old people”, you would be surprised at the amount of fun you will have at this event. Not only is it an opportunity to dress the part and act like you’re Mr Big Stuff, but it’s also pretty invigorating seeing the horses as they race past. If that doesn’t hook you though, at least go for the after party, where you can rub shoulders with local celebrities and see awesome live performances from top SA talent.

Robertson Slow Food & Wine Festival 2018
When: 3-5 August
Wine is an acquired taste, and not the first drink that we tend to order at a bar… but consider that this festival is in August and by then our palates might just be refined enough to not only drink but also enjoy some wine! If you are already a wino though, you need to save these dates now. Not only will you feel fanceh, but you might just learn a thing or two about wine and what to enjoy it with. There’s incredible tapas-style food on offer which means you cancel out FOMO because you’ll probably have the chance to try a little bit of everything.

OppiKoppi - August/September/October
When: TBC, but the festival usually takes place towards the end of the year
Much like Splashy, OppiKoppi is one of the most famous festivals in South Africa. Known for the global acts that it draws across all genres, not to mention incredible local acts who have even launched themselves into international stardom (we’re looking at you, Kongos). Not for the faint of heart, OppiKoppi calls for rough ‘n ready conditions that involve camping, “dust lung” (the term attendees have affectionately given to describe the endless coughing that people endure because of the dust) and… of course… the dreaded communal toilets. Despite how “rough” it may be, anyone who’s ever been will tell you it was one of the best experiences of their life (and... YOLO, right?).

rAGE - October
When: Exact dates TBC
This one is for the gamers. An annual event that is marked as a highlight on any geek’s calendar, you can enjoy crazy specials on tech, new game launches, witness awesome cosplay (and take part in it yourself) and get your hands on all sorts of comic-themed paraphernalia. The event takes place over three days and features incredible sponsorts, stands and delicious eats to enjoy while you walk the aisles of geek paradise. Those who are committed can purchase a three-day pass granting them access to the LAN area, where you can enjoy networking with other gamers, facing off in online games and taking advantage of the high-speed WiFi.

Cape Town Festival of Beer - November
When: Exact dates TBC
Enjoy the works of local breweries and global beers at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest festival of beer. An annual gathering of both beer experts and those just looking for a decent pint, you’ll be able to choose from over two hundred beers offered by over sixty breweries, not to mention live entertainment, artisan food stalls and also some live rugby (which is said to be one of the highlights).

Unplugged 62 Festival - December
When: Exact dates TBC

Held every year just before New Year’s Eve, the Unplugged 62 Festival usually falls over two days and takes place at the gorgeous Joubert-Tradauw Vineyards & Wine Cellar farm. To give you an idea of the kind of talent you can enjoy, 2017 performers included Francois Van Coke, Jack Parow, Jesse Clegg and other hot and up and coming local artists. It’s a great way to end off the year and offers a perfect excuse to soak up the sun while sipping on great wine and enjoying the food on offer at the Alfresco Deli.

There you have it, those are just some of the awesome events lined up for 2018 in and around SA. Music, food, art… you name it! South Africa once again delivers with all its exciting offerings that cater to any like. If the festival you want to attend isn’t in your area, be sure to contact one of our travel experts today to make sure you don’t miss out.