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Enter Africa: The Wildest South African Festivals

South Africa is more than just lions in the street. Aside from riding hippos, this country can also ride the vibes at a South African festival. These people love being themselves, and in a country as diverse as this one the parties never stop evolving.

And of course it wouldn’t be SA without the all-enveloping family feel. South Africans are one of the friendliest populations in the world, and are always to be found for a joke and a beer. Indeed, if there’s two things the locals do best, it’s food and get-togethers.

D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rocking the Daisies

This eco-friendly music and lifestyle event sets the gold standard every year for what the ultimate South African festival experience should be. Set at the Cloof Wine Estate in the Western Cape, you are guaranteed a grand time both at the festival and beyond.

Treat your palate to every imaginable flavor on the dance floor, at the food stalls, and everything in-between. If you can think it, Rocking the Daisies probably has it – from rock and indie, to electronic and hip-hop. Experience eclectic musical madness like never before!


Via Earthdance JHB Instagram

Get down in the dust with techno, progressive, dance and psytrance brought to you by both local and international musicians. These two days promise a soulful experience less than an hour from Cape Town.

The market has everything from delicious fare to a fully stocked bar and merch. Meanwhile, the Shanti Sanctuary offers an enlightening revival through yoga, martial arts, meditation, an enlightening sound journey and much more.

Wolfkop Weekender

What’s better than a South African festival that returns three times in one year? Three unique themes for each, of course!  January has got the lilo river flow, June features the Cooked Sister (not what it sounds like!), and September concludes with a Power Flower Picnic.

Barefoot adventures and balmy summer days await, along with mouth-watering food, river adventures, hiking trails, firepit gatherings, yoga, and much more. The lucky location for this one is Citrusdal in the Western Cape.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

This festival is the largest jazz fest on the African continent and snatches the title of 4th biggest globally. It started out in 2000 as part of the North Sea Jazz Festival but is now a standalone event held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Both local and international artists and attendees mix to produce “The Grandest South African Festival”. Indeed, dust and shine your fanciest shoes because nothing at this multi-stage event is merely ordinary.

Splashy Fen

This is the oldest and longest running music festival in South Africa. Every Easter sees people gathering on the edge of the breathtaking Drakensberg escarpment on a farm near Underberg. This adds a unique historical vibe to the melting pot of art, music, life, and people at this event.

Splashy Fen was born from camaraderie over a glass of red wine around a fire, and has since grown to attract more than 150 000 people anually. Their ethos is to allow absolute freedom of self and to foster connection between family and friends. Accordingly, it is dubbed “SA’s Friendliest Festival”.

Additionally, Splashy offers merch, fun for families, well-being activities and craft stalls. And of course, it wouldn’t be a true South African festival without excellent food and drink to tie the experience together.

Up the Creek

Via the Up the Creek Facebook page

Up the Creek will have its first return in 2024 since the 2020 pandemic, and there’s A LOT of memory-making to catch up on. So over 4 days, 4 stages, and with more than 50 bands, Up the Creek 2024 is bound to be one for the books. And how could it not be and epic bash, having originally started as a birthday party?

It will be hosted 23 km (14.3 miles) from Swellendam, one of the country’s oldest town. Bring your arm floaties or lounge on your favorite lilo, or Anything That Floats, really. This is the ultimate expect-the-unexpected festival, so kick back and go with the epic awesome flow.

Kunda Valley

Via the Kunda Valley Instagram

Kunda Valley blends the African wilderness with a variety of music genres to bring festivalgoers an unparalleled experience. Here, they’ve learned to love and nurture all things, even the weird and unexpected. Embracing life’s diversity is the key!

Don’t miss this eco-friendly, all-welcoming South African festival! Bring yourself, eco-reusables, and camp at the unique site to remain close to the adventure and bushveld magic. Three days of electronic, acoustic, and traditional sounds, plus workshops and yoga. Rediscover your rhythm in the wild beauty of the Western Cape!

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Inge Strauss