New Year’s Eve is fast approaching and if you still haven’t decided where you’re going or what you’re doing, we’re here to help out. It might be a bit short notice to book yourself an overseas trip to take in the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge or watch the ball drop in New York’s Time Square, but it’s certainly not too late to plan an amazing night in South Africa. Here are our top choices for where to spend New Year’s Eve.
The sleepy town of Nieu Bethesda comes alive during New Year’s Eve, and is possibly one of the friendliest, safest, and most family-friendly NYE’s celebrations in the country. The Festival of Lights is a beautiful lantern parade which ends with a braai and dancing under the stars. You even get to make your own lantern – it’s an alcohol-free event designed to bond the community and transcend religious barriers. The kids will be completely in awe as the lanterns illuminate the night sky.
There’s not a South African alive who hasn’t wanted to spend at least one New Year’s Eve in Cape Town. Arguably one of the country’s most atmospheric cities, the New Year’s Eve vibe is second to none. It’s busy, of course, but that’s part of the appeal. Whether you opt for live music, fireworks, elegant cocktails, a restaurant with the whole family, stylish bars or a quiet celebration on the beachfront, Cape Town always delivers. You can party without worrying thanks to Uber being easily available and having loads of accommodation options no matter whereabouts you choose to welcome 2019 in style.
Where to spend it: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, V&A Waterfront, Heritage Square all-white party, or Strandloper in Langebaan
The City of Gold tends to be really quiet over the festive period as the Gauteng crowd vacate for December and visit the coastal regions instead. What this means is that for those left behind or those who want to experience New Year’s Eve somewhere new, you’re less likely to struggle to find accommodation, tickets, or flights to Joburg.
You can choose from a big city vibe in Sandton, edgy hipster bars in Maboneng or culture and arts at the theatre. There’s also loads of family-friendly restaurants in Joburg, making it a fun option for almost everyone
Where to go: Wine Not Rooftop Event, Four Seasons at The Westcliff, H20 with Black Coffee, Movies in the Park at Riversands
Wine, scenery and amazing food all comes together to make an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in the Winelands. You can celebrate the start of a brand new year in the classiest way possible; by sipping on award-winning wines and MCC’s in award-winning restaurants as the clock chimes midnight. Or you could join in a huge party with stages, music, camping and everything that we love about music festivals. The following day, why not take in the glorious surrounds with a picnic at one of the vineyards? Now that’s the way get the year off to a positive start!
Where to go: Reuben’s restaurant, Kinky Summer party, Boschendal Wine Estate, Allee Bleue, La Residence
The SA Bushveld
Lots of local game reserves and lodges offer special New Year’s Eve programmes, from boma fires and tribal dancing through to classy starlit dinners. And just think about it; there’s nothing more South African than celebrating New Year’s Eve out in the bush surrounded by wildlife and nature. Even if you can’t find a suitable lodge complete with all the bells and whistles, there’s nothing to stop you camping or visiting a reserve that has smaller game rather than the Big Five. You can shake off the hangover with the wind from an early-morning game drive. Nothing will wake you up faster than a beautiful sighting of your favourite animal.
New Year’s Eve Champagne: