Cape Town's very identity is shaped by its iconic annual events, drawing locals and visitors together into these periodic celebrations.
Cape Minstrel Carnival (January)
A uniquely Cape Town experience as members of the coloured community celebrate 2 January ('tweede nuwe jaar') with a minstrel party and march to the city centre. Troupes will prepare for months for this colourful and uniquely South African procession, competing for various prizes and accolades.
Cape Argus Pick ’n Pay Cycle Tour (March)
The largest timed cycle race in the world attracts over 35,000 riders and is a city-stopping showpiece for spectators and cyclists alike. The route starts in the city centre before winding around the coast, over Chapman's Peak, to the finish in Green Point. The vast majority of riders are amateurs lending this race a carnival, fun-filled atmosphere that belies the testing nature of the strenuous 109km route.
J&B Met (February)
This is both the biggest horseracing event of the year, and a fashion lifestyle event without compare. All the beautiful people are in attendance competing for the coveted best-dressed prize - and there's a horse race at some point in the afternoon too.
Kirstenbosch Concerts (November to April)
Every Sunday evening in summer magnificent Kirstenbosch Gardens hosts a series of sunset concerts featuring local and international artists. Bring a blanket and a picnic basket and enjoy great music under a summer sky framed by Table Mountain.
Hermanus Whale Festival (September)
The best land-based whale watching venue in the world, Hermanus celebrates its aquatic visitors with music, merrymaking and the consumption of many smaller aquatic creatures. Walker Bay hosts the breeding southern-right whales for several months so if one misses the festival, or prefers quieter conditions, there are other chances of seeing these magnificent creatures.
Started back in 1994, the world-famous Mother City Queer Party has become the biggest costume party on the city's calendar. Each year's theme invites outrageous and imaginative costumes attracting party people from across the spectrum of gay and straight, young and old, black and white.