By placing the emphasis on daytime sessions in beautiful locations, music festivals in South Africa are intimate affairs. Expect the intense melodic sounds of Afro-House, live act indie-electronic fusions, upbeat jazz and the uniquely South African Gqom.
Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape area hosts the majority of music festivals in South Africa. Mostly boutique festivals with limited capacities help to create a connected feeling among the audience. Bazique, Origin, Wolfkop Weekender, and Up The Creek are all within a few hours drive of Cape Town’s city centre.
In the Tankwa National Park, there is Afrikaburn which will have a new site for 2022. And in the stunning Drakensburg mountains, Splashy Fen (one of the oldest music festivals in South Africa) welcomes a wide variety of music.
The South African music festival scene is diverse, and promoters host events in locations that are worthy of international travel. Cape Town festivals, in particular, are renowned for making the most of this natural beauty.
There are safaris, wine vineyards, beautiful coastlines and mountains to explore. And highlights like the Garden Route road trip from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay is a fantastic experience for those that make the journey.
Add in a foodie scene that explodes with creativity and flavours to make your mouth water, locals that are famously friendly, and the great exchange rates, there are plenty of reasons to visit.
Music & Culture
As a country, South Africa has produced many exceptional musical acts. The likes of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masakela, Brenda Fassie, Johnny Clegg and Lucky Dube are all well-known internationally.
The electronic scene is thriving, and house music, in particular, holds a special place in the hearts of South Africans. It is not uncommon to hear house on primetime radio.
The meteoric rise of Black Coffee has only fortified this love as many aspiring acts draw inspiration from the man that moves clouds. His infusion of afro-house and tech have been whipping up dancefloors globally.
Another exciting scene is the emergence of indie-electronic. The likes of Goldfish and The Kiffness have cross-pollinated these genres with live instrumentation that is a joy to hear.
Kwaito & Gqom
Kwaito and Gqom (pronounced ‘Gom’ by clicking the G) are two sub-genres unique to South Africa. They are structured on a slow, repetitive beat complimented by rap style lyrics. Famous acts in the genre include Mandoza, TKZee and Oskido.
National travel is cheap and easily available. There are quite large distances between cities so travel can take some time especially if driving.
You should always be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to check your routes before you set off so you don’t mistakenly end up in areas known for crime.
Safari is a great experience and there are plenty of budget-friendly options. The most well-known area is The Kruger National Park (Mpumalanga Province). Private parks are aplenty if you wish to treat yourself to luxurious bush retreat.
South Africa has a temperate climate for most of the year with long sunny days. The rainy season is November to February, except for the Western Cape (Cape Town) which is May to August.
They both work in the main cities (Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban) and if you are travelling on a favourable exchange rate, they are cheap.