21 things to do around South Africa for the long weekend

Posted by Devlin Nightingale on 16 April 2012

The problem with April in our beautiful country is that it is very hard to keep getting back into the monotony of work when you know there is another holiday just around the corner. Wait, did I say it was a problem? I must have misspoke. The only problem I can foresee is that you have not had enough time to spot any events with yet another long weekend on the way. Fear not! We have been sleuthing around and have found some things for you to do with your spare time on the long weekend in South Africa from 27 April to 2 May 2012 (take off Monday 30 April and you’ll get 5 days of weekend – there are two public holidays), or you could catch up on some much needed nap time … your choice.

Gauteng Events

Freedom Day Celebrations & Weekend Market

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Saturday 28 April 2012
Instead of kipping on the couch why not get out to Auchtermuchty, Pretoria for a celebration of your freedom. There will be fire dancing, drumming, music, assorted artists, stalls, talks on a variety of topics and much more. You could even make a weekend of it with camping available at R50 per tent and safe parking at R10 per car. If you would like to just make a day of it however it is completely free. Bring your pets (on leashes) and your children (not on leashes) and have some fun.
Contact +27 (0)72 171-9047 for more information.

Cradle of Humankind Sheepdog Trials

When: Saturday 28 April 2012 to Sunday 29 April 2012

If you are a sheepdog enthusiast or even just a general dog lover why not pop up to Borderbrook Farm in Muldersdrift for the Cradle of Humankind Sheepdog Trials. Refreshments and catering will be available on the field. Just be sure to bring your umbrellas, deck chairs and sunscreen. Entrance fees are R25 for adults, R15 for pensioners and children, and no charge for children under 7 years old. Contact Carol on +27 (0)72 288-1558 or Elsie on +27 (0)82 441-9646 for more information.

Traumeel Wally Hayward Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km

When: Tuesday 01 May 2012

Perhaps all these holidays have left you feeling overly energetic? Well why not come through and celebrate the 36th Annual Marathon dedicated to the memory of this South African great. The event starts at the Hoerskool Zwartkop in Mopanie Road, Pretoria with the marathon being a fast race but also one of the easiest marathon courses. Just be sure to keep a lookout for Hakkin Hill. For more information call Mike Summerfield on +27 (0)82 781-4357 or have a look here


Mpumalanga Events

Blue Swallow Festival

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Saturday 28 April 2012

Like hugging trees? Come and support the conservation of the beautiful Graskop forests and grasslands by attending this festival located on Louis Trichardt Street. There will be an open-air market on the street with fine food, arts and crafts, an art exhibition, nature talks, potjiekos competition and a fun run. Through the Blue Swallow Festival the Graskop Conservancy hopes to raise funds to improve the ecological, tourism and social environment around the area. Get in contact with Esmé on +27 (0)83 585-1635 or Merle on +27 (0)82 465 -2827 for more information. Alternatively you can  email [email protected]

KwaZulu Natal Events

Africa Bike Week

When: Thursday 26 April 2012 to Monday 30 April 2012

Having a quiet month? I suggest you look no further than Africa Bike Week. This annual event is set to attract more than 20 000 Harley-Davidson® riders from all over the world to Margate. Nothing like a little bit of VROOM to get your motor running. The event will include a line-up of attractions and activities to entertain both bikers and their families. The programme features live bands, non-stop street parties, VIP lounges and bars, a ride-in bike show and culminates in a mass ride out which will include a Parade of Flags. All bike riders are welcome so bring the family for a weekend of entertainment! For more information or enquiries call Lisa Johnson on +27 (0)21 657-4952 or click here

Sustainable Living & Indigenous Plant Fair

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Sunday 29 April 2012

If all this downtime and excessive TV use has you pondering your carbon footprint then I suggest you check out this event. The Sustainable Living & Indigenous Plant Fair taking place at the Cattle Arena, Royal Show Grounds, Hyslop Road, Pietermaritzburg provides an opportunity for you to shop for a wide selection of planet-friendly indigenous plants, fruit trees and vegetables and stock up on inspiration for your homestead garden. There will also be numerous stalls showcasing solutions for sustainable living and
interesting environmental movies will be screened throughout the weekend, interspersed with speakers on fascinating topics focused on low-carbon living. Contact Karen on +27 (0)33 343-1739 or +27 (0)83 235-8628 for more information. You can also visit here or email [email protected]

Freedom Day Regatta

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Tuesday 01 May 2012

I know some of you will be itching to get your sailing fixing. If the call of the ocean is being exascerbated by all this free time or you just love yachts and sailing do not miss this regatta. The Point Yacht Club and Royal Natal Yacht Club will be hosting the Riverview Manor Freedom Day Regatta and 2012 SA Laser Nationals at Vetches Pier offshore from Durban over the Freedom Day long weekend. Give Sophie a call on +27 (0)31 201-1638 or email [email protected] for more information. Or click here

KZN Bubbly Festival

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Saturday 28 April 2012

If you have an appreciation of sparkling wines come taste the South African bubbly stars at this year’s inaugural KwaZulu-Natal bubbly festival/celebration on 27 and 28 April at Makaranga Lodge in Kloof and at The Piggly Wiggly at Howick in The Midlands. With more than 30 bubbly producers showcasing a selection of their finest produce, this is a star-studded date not to be missed. Tickets are R180 and include a complimentary bubbly glass and 10 wine tasting coupons. Food will be available to buy and you will be able to purchase your favourite bubbly to take home at the tasting. Tickets are available from www.webtickets.co.za, and pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited. For more information call +27 (0)82 909 1116/ +27(0)84 207 3840 or email [email protected]

Hiking with Hi-Tec and the Getaway crew

When: Sunday 29 April 2012 to Sunday 27 May 2012

Want some company? I know we do. Why not join Hi-Tec and Getaway for picturesque hikes in some of South Africa’s most awe-inspiring locations? Enjoy the fresh air with fellow hikers as our experienced leaders guide you along beautiful trails, on which you’ll have the chance to spot various wild flowers and creatures. We will be setting out from KwaZulu-Natal: Summerveld, Outer West Durban and from Western Cape: Corridor Ravine, Table Mountain. Entry will only set you back R50 and this includes a trail pack and gift. We look forward to sharing this enjoyable experience with you. Give us a call on +27 (0)21 530 3379 or email [email protected]


Northern Cape


When: Wednesday 25 April to Monday 30 April

If you are in the mood to absolutely lose your mind and express your creativity then AfrikaBurn is calling for you. As with each year since it started in 2007, AfrikaBurn takes place in the Tankwa Karoo. A year’s worth of anticipation, dreaming, planning, building and creating comes together to create Tankwa Town, a temporary city formed from the imaginations of its participants. If past years are anything to go by, the result will be nothing short of spectacular: a gathering of self-reliant, expressive people who create themed camps, mutant vehicles, colourful costume, fantastic music… and share a taste of how the world could be made anew. For more information contact [email protected] and be sure to visit their comprehensive website here

John Dory’s Orange River Canoe Marathon

When: Saturday 28 April 2012 to Sunday 29 April 2012

Want to splash around some rapids? The 25th John Dory’s Orange River Canoe Marathon will be held on the Orange River at Hopetown in the Northern Cape.  The race also serves as the official SA K3 championships for the second year in a row. Pre-registrations end on 20 April but you can register on the day. Entries for Senior participants is R250 and Junior participants is R175 per paddler. This includes a meal after the race on each day and they also throw in a bag and cap. Give Rudi a call on +27 (0)79 876 4875 or email [email protected]. Alternatively you can visit this website for more information.


Western Cape

Decorex Cape Town

When: Thursday 26 April 2012 to Sunday 29 April 2012

As you have had more time at home of late you may have noticed that your interior needs a bit of sprucing up. Come on through to the Cape Town International Convention Centre for the annual, multi-award winning Decorex Cape Town as it brings together the most exquisite collection of exhibitors, design icons and rising stars – a perfect recipe for inspiration and ideas. Showcasing everything from furniture, kitchens and bathrooms, fabrics, and décor accessories to lighting, fine finishes and all essentials for in- and out-door living. Adults get in for R65, Pensioners and Students R55, and Children under 12 R10. Call +27 (0)11 549 8300 for more information or visit their website

Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Saturday 28 April 2012

Olive lover? Be sure to arrive in Prince Albert for a multitude of feasts and festivity! Enjoy the games and activities or meander around town to take in the arts, crafts, unusual shops and amazing collections. The unique architecture, art and music, art galleries, gardens, food and music all tell their own tales. Local food and wine steal the show with bountiful produce, organic vegetables, olives and olive oil, legendary Karoo lamb and an abundance of fresh and dried fruit to get your taste buds on a roll. Information on the festival and accommodation is available from Prince Albert Tourism Office at +27 (0)23 5411 366 or click here.

Cederberg Arts Festival

When: Friday, 27 April 2012 to Sunday, 29 April 2012

Come and enjoy a weekend of fun and festivities with the people of Clanwilliam and Cederberg. People from all over the region and further afield come to enjoy the special atmosphere that erupts out of the Main Street festival. Be sure not to miss the official opening of the festival, as it is a very special event with local as well as national artists performing. Lots of shows, book exhibitions, lectures and workshops are held in the different venues. Contact Clanwilliam Tourism on +27 (0)27 482-2024 for any enquiries.

Dirtopia Mountain Bike Festival

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Sunday 29 April 2012

If you have an insatiable need to go off the beaten track, on two wheels, then this festival is for you. The Dirtopia Mountain Bike Festival is South Africa’s original and only true MTB festival and is held in Tarentaalkraal campsite, near Greyton in the Overberg. An exciting weekend with activities for young and old ranging from night rides, trail riding, gravity events (downhill, dual & dirt jumping), cross country fun-rides, a trail run and kid’s activities. You can camp for three days or just for a day with prices varying from between R150 to R200 per day. This price includes camping and riding with pre-entries receiving a T-shirt & goodybag. Call in to +27 (0)21 884-4752 or email [email protected] for more information. Or visit this website

Franschhoek Mystery Weekend

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Saturday 28 April 2012

Add a dash of intrigue and spice to your life with the Franschhoek Mystery Weekend. Taking place in the Franschhoek Wine Valley, it is set to be the best surprise of 2012.  Representatives at the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices will randomly select a range of fabulous Franschhoek adventures and create your unique couple Mystery Weekend Package. This means that you have no idea where you’re staying, where you’re eating or what other experiences are in store for you. A truly unique experience! For a mere R1 850 per couple, for the weekend, you’ll be able to experience the finest Franschhoek offerings in this ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ opportunity. Call Carmen on +27 (0)21 876 2861 or email: [email protected].

SA Cheese Festival

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Monday 30 April 2012

Even if you have already made plans you might want to consider dropping them in favour of this tasty event. Be sure to wear loose pants and come on through to the SA Cheese Festival happening at Sandringham Estate in Stellenbosch (close to Paarl and Franschhoek). Whether you have a well-trained palate, simply enjoy savouring new tastes, or are looking for the perfect cheese match among the delicacies galore – wine, nuts and olives to name but a few – you will again be spoiled for choice at the 2012 SA Cheese Festival. The entrance fee (R110) includes a shopping bag, festival programme, scrumptious tastings and demonstrations by famous South African food personalities. Wine tasting glasses are available at the gates. Discounted tickets for senior citizens (R90) will be available for the duration of the festival and entry for children under 13 is free. Tickets for this mouth-watering event will be available from Computicket outlets countrywide. For more information call +27 (0)21 975-4440/1/2/3 or visit their website

Delta Draf at Solms-Delta

When: Saturday 28 April 2012

The Delta Draf is run through the vineyards surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the Winelands – in and around the Solms Delta wine estate (on the R45 to Franschhoek) – and has quickly become a firm favourite on the Cape running calendar. Entry fee for the 10km is R35 for licensed athletes and R55 for unlicensed athletes, and for the fun run the price is set at R15. After the race you can enjoy the live traditional Cape rural music watching the Delta bands whilst enjoying a bite to eat. If you would like to know more call +27 (0)21 874‑3937 or click here

Energy Expo

When: Monday 30 April 2012 to Tuesday 01 May 2012

Why not get your grey matter worked over at the Whale Coast Conservation’s Energy Expo? Adults and kids are in for a really fun and educational experience at the Expo which is free to the public. There are solar toys, wind generators, a merry-go-round, a bungee-jumping bear, hands-on experiments; and enough energy facts to light up your brain. So come on over to the Whale House Lawns and Village Square in Hermanus and perhaps you might come away with a trick or two on conservation. To learn more click here


Freestate Events

Bloemfontein Show

When: Thursday 26 April 2012 to Saturday 05 May 2012

If you happen to be in the Freestate this Freedom Weekend be sure to attend the Bloemfontein Show being held at the Showgrounds, Curie Avenue, Bloemfontein. This show annually hosts the largest agricultural and entertainment show in South Africa and is crowned as one of the three largest shows in the country. With a multitude of events taking place, approximately 160 000 visitors are drawn to the show from all over South Africa as well as various parts of the world. Contact Elmarie Prinsloo +27 (0)51 4489 894/5/6 or visit this website for more information.


Eastern Cape Events

East London Show

When: Friday 27 April 2012 to Tuesday 01 May 2012

As the weather seems to be heading more towards the chilly side this time of year perhaps you are looking for something aside from the beach? Well, the East London Agricultural and Industrial Society, a non-profitable organization, sets the platform for all agricultural, industrial, commercial stalls to exhibit their wares. Come on through to the East London Show Grounds, Gonubie Farmers Hall and bring your family to be entertained by various ongoing events. Various forms of entertainment will be provided including a fun fair, bumper car rides and so much more. Give Fiona a call on +27 (0)82 874 8214 or Theunis on +27 (0)83 281 9556 or visit their website for more information.


I think it is safe to assume that your Freedom Day weekend has just become jam-packed full of fun. I know mine has.

If you know of something happening over the long weekend that we may have missed drop us a comment below.


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