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South African festivals

• Origin Festival
Where: Dutoitskloof, Western Cape
Website: www.originfestival.com
The Origin Festival is found at Rainbow's End farm near Dutoitskloof in January. A gathering of trance music travellers, the three-year-old festival is organised by Nano Records and Vortex Productions. Lots of kites, tie-dye, hair, peace, love and electronica resonate in the lovely mountains of the Western Cape.

• FNB Dance Umbrella
Where: Johannesburg, Gauteng
Website: www.at.artslink.co.za 
A festival of contemporary choreography and dance, for 18 years the FNB Dance Umbrella has presented work ranging from community-based dance troupes to international companies. It’s launched many South African choreographers into international dance, including Vincent Mantsoe, Robyn Orlin and Boyzie Cekwana. T

• Cape Town Jazz Festival
Where: Cape Town, Western Cape
Website: www.capetownjazzfest.com 
Cape Town International Jazz takes the stage every year on the last weekend in March. It’s a two-day festival featuring some 40 international and African acts performing on five stages to an audience of 15 000. The jazz is accompanied by photographic and other exhibitions.
• Lambert’s Bay Kreeffees
Where: Lambert's Bay, West Coast, Western Cape
Website: www.kreeffeeslambertsbaai.co.za 
Kreef is Afrikaans for crayfish, and a fees can be both festival and feast. At the Kreeffees, held every March in the West Coast town of Lambert’s Bay, you’ll feast on fresh crayfish and get festive at rock concerts by some of South Africa’s favourite musicians. There’s also bungee jumping, aerial displays, a half-marathon, beer tents and more.
• Oppikoppi Easter Festival
Where: Northam, North West
Website: www.oppikoppi.co.za 
Although smaller than the Oppikoppi bushveld bash in August, the Oppikoppi Easter Festival is the highlight of the year for some music lovers. Held over the Easter holidays - late March or early April - the show has one stage only and draws a traditional blues-and-folk crowd of roughly 1 500 people.
• Tonteldoos Peach Festival
Where: Dullstroom, Mpumalanga
Website: www.dullstroom.co.za 
The Tonteldoos Peach Festival happens in late March or early April at Tonteldoos Farm near Dullstroom, two hours from Johannesburg. It offers peaches and pretty much everything that can be made from the fruit, including peach mampoer.
• Sedgefield Lakes Festival
Where: Sedgefield, Western Cape
Website: www.visitknysna.co.za 
Held in March, the Sedgefield Lakes Festival has an action-packed programme for adventure and sport lovers. Highlights include a coastal paragliding classic, a rock and surf angling competition, a cycling race and a Gowild adventure race.
• Windybrow Theatre Festival
Where: Johannesburg, Gauteng
Website: www.windybrowarts.co.za 
The Windybrow Theatre Festival, which takes place in March, showcases work by local and international artists.

• Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees
Where: Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
Website: www.kknk.co.za 
The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn features well-known and young up-and-coming artists in dance and theatre. Started as an Afrikaans alternative to the mainly English National Arts Festival, KKNK has 200 different shows on three different stages. 
• Splashy Fen
Where: Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal
Website: www.splashyfen.co.za 
The Splashy Fen music festival has attracted thousands of people to a farm near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal for 16 years. In early days the focus was folk, light rock and black music styles such as mbaqanga and iscathamiya. This has now broadened to include mainstream and alternative rock and pop. The site has electricity, telephones, ablutions, market stalls, three stages, and medical and security personnel. There are great bed-and-breakfasts in nearby towns for those who believe music festivals can be enjoyed without mud.
• Tulbagh Goes Dutch
Where: Tulbagh, Western Cape
Website: www.tulbaghtourism.org.za 
Tulbagh Tourism describes its two-day Dutch Festival as "a Gezellig Feestje for the whole family". In April the town's Church Street with its beautiful Cape Dutch architecture hosts cultural activities, appetising spijs en drank temptations and authentic treasures. It includes a traditional Dutch beer garden and a tulip exhibition at the Volksmuseum.
• Philippolis Witblits Festival
Where: Philippolis, Free State
Website: www.philippolis.org.za 
The Philippolis Witblits Festival, held in early April, will give you a taste of a proud local tradition - witblits (Afrikaans for "white lightning") is South African moonshine. Held in the oldest town in the Free State, the festival has boeresports for the kids, food, drink and more witblits. Phillipolis also offers an artist's retreat, the Laurens van der Post Memorial Garden, the Transgariep Museum, safari packages, birdwatching and fishing.

• Calitzdorp Port Festival
• Prince Albert Olive, Food & Wine Festival
Where: Prince Albert, Western Cape
Website: www.patourism.co.za 
The two-day Prince Albert Food and Wine Festival, held in the Swartberg region of the Western Cape in May, offers a whole lot more than just the region's famous olives and wine. There's an art exhibition, beer tents, live music, witblits tastings, crafts for kids, historic tours, a cycle race, an olive pip-spitting competition, culinary demonstrations, a midnight ghost walk, stalls, cabaret, a dance and more.
• Pink Loerie Mardi Gras
Where: Knysna, Western Cape
Website: www.pinkloerie.com 
The Knysna loerie is a green bird, but the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras is different. A gay festival held in the beautiful coastal town of Knysna in May, the Mardi Gras offers four days of non-stop entertainment for anyone who enjoys a party.
• Riebeek Kasteel Olive Festival
Where: Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape
Website: www.riebeekvalley.info
The Riebeek Kasteel Olive Festival takes place in the Swartland area of the Western Cape in May. A feast of wine and the best olives in SA, the festival also has an art competition, live entertainment, stalls and lots of food.

• National Arts Festival
Where: Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
Website: www.nafest.co.za
The Grahamstown National Arts Festival, held in late June or early July every year, is South Africa's oldest, biggest and best-known arts festival. The 10-day event offers culture hounds every indulgence of theatre, music, song, dance, film and a whole lot more. If there's one South African festival you have to attend, this is it. 

• Knysna Oyster Festival
Where: Knysna, Western Cape
Website: www.oysterfestival.co.za 
The coastal town of Knysna is famous for its oysters, and increasingly famous for the July festival that celebrates them. In addition to oyster braais, oyster tasting, oyster-eating competitions and other molluscular activities, there's live entertainment and lots of sporting events - cycling, running, canoeing, down-hill racing and sailing.
Where: Calitzdorp, Western Cape
Website: www.sappa.co.za 
The Klein Karoo town of Calitzdorp is the port-wine Capital of South Africa. Its annual port festival, held over a weekend in July, was inaugurated by the SA Port Producers Association (Sappa) in 1992 and showcases the top 15 South African port makers. There's a blind port tasting judged by SA’s top wine critics, a potjiekos competition and ostrich farm tours, as well as the annual South African boules championships.

• Oppikoppi Bushveld Festival
Where: Northam, North West
Website: www.oppikoppi.co.za 
Held in August, Oppikoppi has been showcasing the country's original musical talent for 11 years. It started on Oppikoppi - "op die koppie" in Afrikaans, or "on the hill" - farm in the bushveld, made a turn in Worcester in the Cape, moved to Tshwane for three years and finally settled for good at the original venue in 2004. There are three permanent thatched stages, a smaller comedy stage and a stage for more chilled music at the top of the koppie. Oppikoppi has helped establish many South African musicians' careers, but it's not for the faint-hearted. This is real bushveld: hot, dry and covered in red dust and thorn trees. Expect to shower a lot when you get home. (Oppikoppi also hosts an Easter Festival in March.)
• Joy of Jazz
Where: Johannesburg, Gauteng
Website: www.joyofjazz.co.za 
Johannesburg's biggest annual jazz festival is an ideal family outing, featuring a range of musical styles but with a strong emphasis on jazz. Over 200 local and international artists perform at different venues across the city, particularly in Newtown. 
• Hantam Vleisvees
Where: Calvinia, Northern Cape
Website: www.vleisvees.co.za 
Calvinia in the Northern Cape is sheep country, and this festival celebrates meat. There's meat braaied, stewed, curried, in pita, on sosaties, in potjies - you can even pick up a done-to-perfection sheep's head for a mere R30. Now in its 16th year, the three-day Hantam Vleisvees has a music concert, a street party, a vintage car rally and, a highlight for many, the Miss Vleisvees competition - a glittering affair with dinner and dancing. T

• Arts Alive
Where: Johannesburg, Gauteng
Website: www.artsalive.co.za 
Arts Alive, held in September and now in its 14th year, features a heady mix of dance, visual art, poetry and music at venues in the Joburg inner city. The main concert, held at the Johannesburg Stadium, headlines international superstars such as 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes. Over 600 artists perform during the four-day festival, with most shows at various venues in Newtown. The ever-popular Jazz on the Lake is held on the final day.
• Aardklop Arts Festival
Where: Potchefstroom, Free State
Website: www.aardklop.co.za 
Aardklop Arts Festival offers a feast of arts and an all-round good jol for five days in late September and early October. Now in its eighth year, Aardklop - Afrikaans roughly translated as "earth beat" - has over 90 productions, with classical music, jazz, hard rock, cabaret, visual arts, theatre, circus performances, opera, African and World music, poetry and more, ending with the OppiAarde rock festival on the final day.
• Woodstock
Where: Hartbeeshoek, North West
Website: www.woodstock.co.za 
Woodstock is the largest youth-oriented music and lifestyle festival in South Africa, now in its seventh year. In addition to mainstream music, the festival offers a market of crafters and alternative lifestyle products over four days. It is held at Hartbeeshoek Holiday resort near Hartbeespoort Dam in North West.
• Gariep Kunstefees
Where: Kimberley, Northern Cape
Website: www.gariepfees.co.za 
Now in its sixth year, the Gariep Kunstefees (arts festival) has an impressive line-up of local musicians, a film festival showcasing South Africa's new film-makers, as well as art exhibitions and children's theatre.
• Hermanus Whale Festival
Where: Hermanus, Western Cape
Website: www.whalefestival.co.za 
Every year, southern right whales travel thousands of miles to the Cape south coast to mate and calve in the bays. Join the villagers of Hermanus for an entertainment-packed festival, in the town with the best land-based whale watching in the world. The next Hermanus Whale Festival will be held from 234to 28 September 2008.
• Rustler's Valley Spring Equinox Gathering
Where: Fouriesburg, Free State
Website: www.rustlers.co.za 
Rustler’s Valley in the eastern Free State was the first to host music festivals in South Africa, although it now does so on a much smaller scale. 
• Awesome Africa Music Festival
Where: Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Website: www.awesomeafricafestival.co.za 
The Standard Bank Awesome Africa Music Festival is now in its seventh year, held in Durban's Albert Park. It has three stages of non-stop music, with over 200 artists from more than 20 countries. The focus is on collaboration with musicians from Africa and beyond.
• Knysna Gastronomica
Where: Knysna, Western Cape
Website: www.gastronomicakny.co.za  
The year 2005 sees the launch of Knysna Gastronomica, a celebration of good food, wine and culture in the coastal town of Knysna.
• Prince Albert Agricultural Show
Where: Prince Albert, Western Cape
Website: www.patourism.co.za 
Join the people of Prince Albert as they celebrate their agricultural heritage in September. The show offers homecrafts, art and flowers, horses on show, motorbike obstacle route, sheep and angora goat competitions, local products, delicious food, bar facilities and entertainment for young and old. The farm breakfast and steak braai are a must.

• Bosman Weekend
Where: Groot Marico, North West
Website: www.marico.co.za 
Herman Charles Bosman was one of South Africa's greatest writers, and this weekend festival celebrates his work in dry town of Groot Marico, the setting for many of his stories. Some of South Africa's top actors read from and perform Bosman's work; there's also good food, good company - and lots of mampoer.

• Ficksburg Cherry Festival
Where: Ficksburg, Free State
Website: www.cherryfestival.co.za 
One of the oldest festivals in South Africa, the Ficksburg Cherry Festival is now in its 37th year, attracting 20 000 visitors to this small eastern Free State town. The scenery is magnificent, and the festival offers cherry and asparagus tastings, tours, picnics, music, and the Miss Cherry Blossom and Miss Cherry Pip competitions.
• Rustler's Valley
Where: Fouriesburg, Free State
Website: www.rustlers.co.za 
Rustler’s Valley in the eastern Free State was the first to host music festivals in South Africa, although it now does so on a much smaller scale.  Rustlers also offers the African Sweat Hut, permaculture design courses, a backpacker's lodge, cottages, a game reserve, the Saucery Restaurant and Marimba House. The majestic scenery on the foothills of the Maluti Mountains alone is worth the trip.
• Spier Summer Festival
Where: Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Website: www.spierarts.co.za 
In the lush winelands of the Western Cape, at the amphitheatre on the Spier Estate, the annual Spier Summer Festival offers four months of music, opera, dance, stand-up comedy and theatre. Now 10 years old, the festival runs from December to March.

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