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Get in the Christmas Spirit in Cape Town

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and if you will be in Cape Town over the holidays, then we have a treat for you.

One of the coastal hotspots in South Africa, the Mother City is renowned for its sandy beaches, unbelievable ocean views and endless entertainment.
To ensure that you never find yourself sitting around with nothing to do, here are some of the top events that you can look forward to in Cape Town over the Christmas period.

Kirstenbosch Carols by Candlelight Concert

Date: 17-20 December 2015

Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit quite like carols by candlelight. This popular tradition is even more beautiful when it is set on the rolling lawns of the magnificent Kirstenbosch Gardens. You can expect some Christmas classics performed by Cape Town Concert Brass and the Male Voice Choir. There are also a number of other local acts set to perform.

Christmas at Spier Wine Farm

Date: 24-25 December 2015

Spier Wine Farm is a popular spot among locals and for good reason. One of the oldest establishments in the Cape Winelands, Spier caters for families with wonderful picnic opportunities, while the renowned Eight Restaurant will be hosting Christmas Eve dinner as well as a delectable Christmas lunch.

The Nutcracker Ballet and Fairy Parade

Date: 16-24 December 2015 – parade on 24 December only

A popular Christmas tradition, this festive ballet is a must. The parade is held following the show (at 14:00) on 24 December and children are invited to dress up as their favourite fairy tale characters – while Santa will be on hand to dish out some gifts.

Cape Town is also known for the amazing variety of restaurants and venues, so you will not be short of excellent Christmas lunch options around the city.

Top 5 beaches in South Africa

South Africa is renowned for scenic splendour and as the summer grabs a hold, we thought it would be a good time to provide you with a list of some of the best beaches in the country.

When December arrives, many South Africans who live in-land will start the annual migration to the coastline to enjoy a couple of weeks of having fun in the sun.

Many of your days will be spent wading through the waves and running sand through your toes. However, when you are in another part of the country, it is not always easy to determine where the local hotspots are.

To assist in this regard, here are a few of the most beautiful beaches on offer in South Africa.

Camps Bay – Cape Town:

This amazing coastal stretch needs no introduction. The beachfront road is lined with palm trees and boasts a magnificent beach on one side, and an array of restaurants, cocktail bars and shops on the other. This trendy area offers is ideal for sundowners and sunset walks, while the rock pools and grass area also makes it ideal for families.

Clifton – Cape Town:

Another gem from the Western Cape, Clifton Fourth Beach is highly regarded as one of the best beaches in South Africa. Sheltered from the wind and boasting soft, white sands – Clifton is paradise. The water is ice cold, so it is not the best beach for bathing, but it certainly is beautiful.

Durban South Beach – KwaZulu-Natal

The spacious Durban South Beach is home to a number of incredible events. You will also see the famous Durban Pier, and it is close to a number of other attractions in the city.

Umhlanga – Kwa-Zulu Natal:

Umhlanga is a popular destination for locals and visitors – with its soft sands and warm waters. Whether you want to tan, swim or just enjoy some beach games, Umhlanga is a great place to unwind. The vibrant town also has a number of entertainment options once the sun goes down.

Nahoon Beach – East London

This popular beach boasts soft sands, warm waters and is a decent place to catch a wave. You can also enjoy a walk through the dunes along the wooden boardwalk.
Of course, there are a number of hidden gems on the South African coastline, so don’t be shy to veer off the beaten path and find your very own special place.

Bring Out Your Inner German At Bierfest!

You don’t need to head all the way to Germany to enjoy a proper Bierfest – residents in Johannesburg and Cape Town have the chance to drink and be merry in their own backyard.

This is due to the fact that Bierfest is coming to South Africa, with events take place in Gauteng and the Mother City, while Durban have already had their fill – with the event having taken place there early in September.

As per the official website, it is important to note that all events are only open to people over the age of 18, and dogs will unfortunately not be allowed – due to the fact that “dogs shouldn’t drink beer”.

There are loads of competitions and fun events, while you also have the chance to attend the event in true Bavarian style (check out the “Dress Like A German” section of the official site).

Of course, beer will take centre stage and you can sample Bavarian-styled beers that were crafted by No.3 Fransen Street Breweries – including Krystal Weiss, Royal Bavaria and Cream Ale, along with Red Ale.

And while you are at it, you can sample some delicious German food – with a range of platters on offer for you to purchase.

It is important to remember that you will need to use Bierfest Crowns to purchase your beers at the event. These can be bought at Bierfest, just make sure that you don’t buy more than you need, as they are non-refundable.

The event is set to take place in Johannesburg at Montecasino, between 9 and 17 October 2015 (seven events), while in Cape Town it will be held at Newlands Brewery on the weekend of 6-8 November 2015 (four events).

Check out the official website, Bierfest.co.za, for more information or for contact details.

The Legendary Rodriguez Returns To SA In 2016

If you missed out last time, don’t delay in securing your spot to see Rodriguez live in concert in South Africa.

The legendary singer-song-writer will be performing in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town at the end of January and beginning of February 2016.

Rodriguez started performing back in the 1960s, where he featured at a number of bars and clubs in the city of Detroit in the USA.

He went on to record two albums, ‘Cold Fact’ and ‘Coming from Reality’, but they did not light up the charts in the USA and he decided to study philosophy before following different career paths to provide for his family.

In this time, his music had given him star-status in South Africa – and he reportedly even managed to outsell the ‘King’, Elvis Presley, in the country.

However, rumours in South Africa had led many to believe that Rodriguez had committed suicide, until fans managed to make contact with him in the 1990s.

This sparked his music career back to life and the incredible story was told in the Academy Award-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man.

His last visit to South Africa was sold out in minutes, as he went on to perform his hits to over 40 000 fans in nine shows held in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

His 2016 tour of South Africa starts on 29 January 2016, at the Dome in Johannesburg. He then heads to Durban for two shows at the ICC Durban Arena on 31 January and 1 February.

A show at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium follows on 3 February before his final two appearances, which take place at the Grand Arena in Cape Town on 5 and 6 February.

For more details on the shows, check out the event page on Big Concerts’ official website.

Big Bottle Food and Wine Festival

There are few things better than a nice bottle of fine wine – well… except for an abnormally large bottle of fine wine.

Yes, the gigantic Big Bottle Food and Wine Festival is set to take place on 21 and 22 August, at The Cape Town Club.

The event is now in its fifth year, and the organisers are promising an even bigger and better experience – with the festival attracting some of the top chefs in South Africa as well as offering the chance to sample some of the finest wines available.

The big format bottles that have made the event famous will be hauled from some of the most prestigious wine cellars in the country – with over 40 vintners and wine producers set to be present.

The event caters for various people, from budding winemakers to wine fanatics as well as those who just appreciate a great glass of vino every now and then.

Visitors can enjoy big bottle tasting – these massive bottles are not only a sight to behold, but these special occasion creations offer more complex, rich wines due to the lower oxygen-to-wine ratio.

You will also get the chance to sample some rare champagne, thanks to specialist Paul Gerber (Le Lude), who will present an exclusive tasting of 10 champagnes.

An exquisite evening of dining will take place on the Friday, where culinary masterpieces will be paired with world-class wines.

On Saturday, the popular Walk-about Tasting will take pace, with guests getting the chance to sip on some of the finest vintages in South Africa. There will also be incredible canapés and small dishes available for tasting – prepared by celebrity chefs.

Champagne tasting takes place on the Friday between 17:30 and 19:30, with tickets at R1390p/p. The Italian Dinner, at the same time, will be R1990p/p. Walk-about Tasting on Saturday is between 15:00 and 20:00, at R450p/p.

For more information, you can email enjoy@finewineevents.co.za, or check out www.bigbottle.co.za.

Winelands Chocolate Festival – Heaven On Earth!

Heading into the famous Western Cape Winelands means you will send your taste buds into frenzy with world-class… chocolate.

Yes, the Winelands may be renowned for some of the best wine in the world, but chocolate pairs perfectly fermented grapes.

Lourensford Wine Estate provides you the opportunity to enjoy a day of utter indulgence with the annual Winelands Chocolate Festival.

The event will feature different chocolate-focused events and exhibitions – put on by master chocolatiers as well as top pastry chefs in South Africa.
The festival is scheduled to take place from 25-26 July 2015, and is suitable for the entire family.

Some of the highlights at the event include the Afternoon Tea on Saturday afternoon, starting at 15:00 – where chocolate and bubbly combine in the company of the chocolatiers and pastry chefs.

The Wild Chocolate Affair is a dinner at the Millhouse Kitchen on the Saturday evening, where bookings are essential and a special menu, created by Bjorn Guido, will surprise and delight.

The Winelands Chocolate Theatre offers the chance to enjoy special demoes, where you will get professional tips and recipes to help you wow your own guests at your next dinner party. Bookings are also essential for this event.

Lourensford Wine Estate is situated in Somerset West and forms part of beautiful Stellenbosch Wine Route – so why not make a weekend out of it and explore some of the magnificent estates in the area too.

For full details on the annual Winelands Chocolate Festival, as well as contact details and ticket prices, be sure to check out the official website (http://www.winelandschocolatefestival.co.za).

Third Source Africa Trade Show Happens Next Week!

The Source Africa Trade Show is set to get underway next week and has become one of the top pan-African textile, footwear and clothing trade events in the country.

The trade show links buyers, manufacturers and suppliers – while aiding investment in African manufacturing as well as increasing job creation for the future.

The trade show is in its third instalment, having taken place in 2013 and 2014 – and has been successful in proving that African textile, clothing and footwear manufacturers are able to compete at the highest level in terms of price, standards and quality.

Exhibitors at the event will be given a number of opportunities, including making contact with new buyers, forming new business relationships, catching up on industry trends and keeping an eye on the production/design capabilities of other competitors in Africa.

The 2015 trade show will run for two days, 10 and 11 June, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and is expected to have over 1500 decision makers as well as 200 exhibitors.

The Source Africa Trade Show will take place in Halls 1 and 2 of the CTICC, with doors opening on both Wednesday and Thursday at 10:00, and closing at 17:00.

There will also be an international Business Seminar between 09:00 and 10:30 on both days, which takes place in Room 2.41-2.46.

In 2014, there were a host of exhibitors from 18 countries showcasing their products to international and African buyers – this included companies from the USA, Hong Kong, Germany, Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

Registration forms for exhibitors and visitors can be filled out on the official website (www.sourceafrica.co.za), or feel free to chat to the organisers by calling +27 21 790 0037.

If you are in the textile, apparel or footwear industry, this is certainly an event not to be missed.

The Best of the Helderberg Wine Route

The Helderberg Wine Route is one of the five sub-routes in the greater Stellenbosch Wine Route and packed with some of the best wineries in the country.

One of the Western Cape’s major attractions, the Stellenbosch Wine Route was founded back in 1971 and the Helderberg Route boasts the most wineries of all the sub-routes.
A total of 43 wineries can be found on the Helderberg sub-route, which stretches from near Stellenbosch all the way to Sir Lowry’s Pass as well as Croydon.
The other four sub-routes are Greater Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Berg, Stellenbosch Valley and Bottelary Hills.

Some of the more famous wineries on the Helderberg Route include:

Ernie Else Wines
Arguably South Africa’s most famous golfer, Ernie Els has established a popular winery on the Helderberg route. The ‘Big Easy’ has travelled the globe and sampled some of the greatest wines in the world, before pursuing his passion for fine wine by creating his own back in 1999.

Flagstone
This family owned winery, which is housed in the 1901 Dynamite Factory in Somerset West, owns prime placement near the cold waters of False Bay. The grapes are brought in from a range of vineyards across the Western Cape to create their unique wines.

Lourensford
This historic winery was founded in 1700 and is considered one of the gems of the Stellenbosch Wine Route. Lourensford may have a rich history, but they are not stuck in the past as they have a clear vision and have perfected the art of making wines that scream style and sophistication.

Waterkloof
Situated just outside of Somerset West, this winery has conservation in mind with bio-dynamic vineyards used to create complex and unique wines. Waterkloof can be found just off of Old Sir Lowry’s Pass Road and definitely needs to be on your list.

These wineries are a small sample of what awaits when looking to explore the Stellenbosch Wine Route.

Please be sure to enjoy your trip safely by making using of cabs or nominate a designated driver. You should also spread your tour over a few days to allow yourself to not only explore the vineyards, but the historic town of Stellenbosch too.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Can The Boks Salvage 2015 For South Africa?

South Africans may still be trying to get over the Proteas bowing out of the 2015 Cricket World Cup yet again, but we still have hope for glory this year – in the form of the Rugby World Cup!

The Springboks have already climbed to the top of the world on two occasions – having lifted the prestigious William Webb Ellis trophy in 1995 and 2007.

Arguably South Africa’s biggest rivals, New Zealand, were deserved champions in the last instalment of the tournament, which took place in their own backyard.

In the 2007 tournament, the Boks overcame England 15-6 in the final, but when looking to defend the title, they fell short at the quarter-final stage – losing 11-9 to Australia.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is scheduled to run from 18 September to 31 October, and will be hosted in England.

The Springboks will play their first match of the group stages, against Japan, on Saturday 19 September – and are in Pool B, which also features Samoa, Scotland and USA.

Defending champions New Zealand are in Pool C, along with Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.

Pool A is arguably the ‘Group of Death’, as it features Australia, England, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay, while Pool D is also fairly tough – with France, Ireland, Italy, Canada and Romania competing for a place in the knockout rounds.

The quarter-finals will start on Saturday 17 October, with the semi-finals set for the following weekend. The final will take place at the historic Twickenham on Saturday 31 October.

Host cities for the event include Birmingham. Brighton, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle to name just a few, and tickets are available to purchase through the tournament’s official website.

It hasn’t been the best of years for South Africa when it comes to the major sporting codes, considering that the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, were also dumped out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations at the group stages – so let’s hope that the Springboks can turn our fortunes around by putting up a royal fight in England.

Go Bokke!

The IMPI Challenge

Are You Up For The IMPI Challenge?

South Africa’s scenic beauty is best enjoyed outdoors, so get off that couch and schedule the upcoming IMPI Challenge into your diary.
Now, you certainly don’t need to be a super athlete or long-distance runner to enjoy this action-packed day of fun, as the IMPI Challenge offers a social but challenging day out for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.

The IMPI Challenge is a unique event, which takes place in both Cape Town and Gauteng, and brilliantly combines trail running with an obstacle course.

The Categories include the IMPI Mini, which covers a distance of around 1km and is perfect for the young ones.

The IMPI Dash is a 5-6km route with just under 10 obstacles and is for children aged 10 and older. A corporate category is ideal for team building, while the IMPI Challenge is an 11-12km challenge for those aged 18 and older – which will provide a stiff challenge.

For those fitter athletes out there, the IMPI Elite course will certainly test your abilities – with a 20km route dotted with between 26 and 28 obstacles to navigate.
The IMPI Challenge also boasts prizes for the Best Dressed, as well as other competitions and prizes on the day.

Safety is catered for with a world-class medical team while competent marshals are positioned on the course to assist wherever needed.

This event is definitely not to be missed and, of course, is best enjoyed with friends and family. So, as the organisers say, challenge your fears, show your fighting, playful spirit and conquer the IMPI challenge!