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Christmas and New Year Events in South Africa

With extraordinary scenery and a vibrant social calendar, it’s no surprise for those looking to spend Christmas in South Africa, that it is such a popular holiday destination for people looking to get into the festive spirit. Whether you’re looking to get away for a sun-filled Christmas or dance until the sun comes up at a fabulous New Year’s Eve party, our Saffa event guide is sure to have something to take your fancy.  Don’t miss out on these fantastic holiday events in Cape Town and Johannesburg…


Along with the rest of the southern hemisphere, South Africa celebrates with a jolly summer Christmas. That means Christmas Eve braais (barbeques) and casual lunches around the pool. However you choose to spend it, a South African Christmas always involves a roasted Turkey, glazed gammon and a smattering of desserts from mince pies and Malva pudding to brandy-soaked Christmas cake. There’s plenty of festive traditions to get you into the spirit – schools, churches and parks open host Christmas carols, homes are adorned with flickering fairy-lights, presents are piled beneath freshly cut pine trees and stockings are hung over the fireplace. And don’t forget the thoughtful offering of milk, cookies and carrots laid out for Father Christmas and his reindeer! While for many South Africans, Christmas is a time of religious celebration, for most it is a time for family.

Christmas in South Africa

Christmas Events in Cape Town

  • The annual switching on of the Adderley Street Christmas lights in early December.
  • Carols by Candlelight held outdoors at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • Boxing Day Sales at Cape Town’s shopping malls, including the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk Shopping Centre – great discounts and special offers hit the shelves on the day after Christmas.
  • Christmas Day films at the Galileo Open Air Cinema at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • Keep the calories at bay with a Christmas Eve yoga class by the Om Revolution at the Company’s Gardens.

Christmas Events in Joburg

  • Christmas Carols at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and the Johannesburg Zoo.
  • The Christmas Village at Montecasino offers plenty of fun activities for all ages.
  • Boxing Day Sales across the city, particularly at Sandton City Shopping Centre.
  • Fantasy of Light show held in the run up to Christmas at Waterfall Park.
  • The Festive Factory at the Glen Shopping Mall with ball games, crafts and workshops.
  • See the spellbinding Garden of Lights at Emperor’s Palace.
  • Experience fun and exciting outdoor adventures at Joburg Zoo over the summer holidays.
  • Watch an outdoor Christmas movie at the Montecasino piazza.
  • Christmas Day and Night Market at the Fourways Farmer’s Market.


Cape Town and Joburg host some of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country– and arguably, the world. December 31st is the highlight of the year. New Year’s Eve celebrations in Jozi and the Mother City include anything from sophisticated sit-down dinners to all-out crazy street parties, beach fests and rooftop shenanigans, where you can party until the sun comes up.

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New Year’s Eve Events in Cape Town

  • Welcome the New Year in style at the V&A Waterfront complete with midnight fireworks and live entertainment.
  • Bring a picnic and sit down to an enjoyable New Year’s Eve concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Previous performances include South African artists such as Mango Groove and Johnny Clegg.
  • Enjoy a razzle and a dazzle at Stardust restaurant and be entertained by musical performances while favouring fantastic gourmet cuisine.
  • See in the New Year at Shimmy Beach Club – Cape Town’s most hip and happening beach club at the V&A Waterfront.
  • Set off on a sunset catamaran cruise and watch the fireworks from the water – complete with a glass of champagne.
  • Celebrate Old Year’s Eve with a street party, Cape Town style, at the Mother City Street Party at the Fire & Ice Hotel.
  • Party into the New Year at a beachfront party at the Bungalow in Camps Bay.

New Year’s Eve Events in Joburg

  • Celebrate with Randlord’s New Year’s Bash at South Point Towers.
  • See in the New Year with a New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Fairway – great live entertainment and buffet awaits!
  • Attend Chicago’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball complete with live bands, dinner and dancing.

South Africa has an exciting event list all year round. Which highlight on the social calendar would you like to celebrate in Cape Town and Joburg?