5 unique festivals to attend in South Africa this year

Posted on 26 March 2024 By Savanna Douglas

Did you know that South Africa is home to several unique, fun annual festivals? There’s something for everyone – from the music lovers and the bookworms to the beer bellies, the oyster aficionados, and the whale watchers…

Keen to get your festival goggles on this year? Here are 5 unique festivals to consider attending across South Africa this year:

Splashy Fen Music Festival

When? 28 March to 1 April

Where?  The Drakensberg region

Make your way to Drakensburg for a weekend of camping from 28 March to 1 April, for SA’s longest-runnest, oldest music festival.

Splashy Fen dates back to 1990, after a night of red wine around a fire when Peter Ferraz and Bart Fokkens decided that the Splashy Fen farm was a perfect location for a music gathering. Expecting only a hundred or so fans, the inaugural festival attracted some 400 musicians and festival goers, and by 1995, had become the biggest music festival in the country.


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Over the years, Splashy has welcomed an excess of 150,000 people through its gates and has been rightly dubbed ‘SA’s Friendliest Music Festival’. Festival-goers choose from a variety of camping options available – glamping and powered sites available for creatures of comfort.

Find out more here.

Franschhoek Literary Festival

When? 17 to 19 May

Where? Franschhoek

Each year, over the third weekend in May, Franschhoek streets buzz with book lovers hopping from one village venue to the next, in the name of good literature.

The literary festival creates a platform for renowned local and international authors and thought leaders to facilitate discussions and spirited debates on a variety of topical issues. There are also a plethora of workshops available throughout the weekend for book lovers and writers alike. Oh, and of course, great food and wine – as expected when in Franschhoek.

Find out more here. 

Capital Craft Beer Festival

When? 15 June

Where? Pretoria

Under the golden glow of Mzansi winter skies, beer and music lovers are beckoned with the promise of craft brews, entertainment, food and loads of fun. The Capital Craft Beer Festival takes place on 15 June at Pretoria National Botanical Gardens.

Buzzing crowds, bountiful brewers, and the best local and international beer are on the cards for festival-goers. Parents knock back a beer whilst kids enjoy a day packed with family-friendly entertainment from the Clamber Club.

Brewers including Mohope, Side Hustle, Smack Republic, Just Brewing Binary Brew Worx, Gilroy, Tolokazi, Hazeldean and  Doctrine Brewing will serve a selection of craft beer while live performances from the likes of Spoegwolf, Soweto String Quartet, Schalk Bezuidenhout, Springbok Nude Girls and Dan Patlansky occupy the festival’s three stages.

Find out more here.

Knysna Oyster Festival

When? 21 to 30 June

Where? Knysna

Get ready to shuck and roll, as the Knysna Oyster Festival puts it.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival promises to be a pearl of an event. From 21 to 30 June 2024, locals and oyster aficionados from around the country will descend upon the picturesque shores of Knysna for a feast of fun, food, and festivities.

The 40th Knysna Oyster Festival is set to deliver an epic experience with this year’s theme ‘Have A Whale Of A Time’, chosen because the festival coincides with the thrilling whale watching season in Knysna, which adds an extra layer of excitement to the event.

Visitors can witness the majestic beauty of these magnificent creatures while immersing themselves in the festivities.

For more information, click here.

Hermanus Whale Festival

When? 27 to 29 September

Where? Hermanus

South Africa plays home to the only eoc-marine festival in the world with the Hermanus Whale Festival happening in September this year.

In its 33rd year, the annual festival celebrates the return of the southern right whales to the coastal waters of Hermanus. The event is a tribute to the legacy left to the town by Wendy the Whale, whose story is about man’s ability to live in harmony with nature as well as people’s ability to come together as communities valuing the environment.

All events and activities during the whale festival are focused to create awareness on how to protect the whales and all our marine wildlife who share our coastal waters.  The festival takes place at the end of September, which is the peak of whale activity in the region.

On the cards for the Hermanus Whale Festival this year is a spectacular street parade, vibrant markets showcasing and selling the work of local artisans, great food, educational marine displays, lots of children’s entertainment, live music, and mind-boggling whale-watching experiences.

For more information, click here.

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