Christmas in Cape Town

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Christmas in Cape Town?

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'Why don’t you write a blog – on Christmas in South Africa?' suggested Liz, 'perhaps you can write about the differences between living in Cape Town and living in the UK?'

I lived in Cape Town for over 14 years and moved back to the UK in 2014.  

Christmas in Cape Town or Christmas in UK?

The days are really long – so that's 87% more Christmas in Cape Town! 
Christmas falls in summer in South Africa. The days are long, hot and often sunny. In the UK it’s the Winter Solstice on the 21st December, in South Africa this is the summer solstice.  Here in the UK we have about 7½ hours of daylight, in Cape Town they are enjoying over 14 hours of warming daylight. 

It's hot 
December is generally not the hottest month in Cape Town, but daytime temperatures do reach about 26 degrees. I would describe it as a 'bearable heat'. Additionally a strong South East wind (known locally as the Cape Doctor) does keep the temperature down. That said, it's swimming pool weather, flip flops and sunscreen. Compare that with the average temperature in Yorkshire - a chilling 3 degrees! - it is no wonder so many people go to Cape Town for their holidays. 

Whats on the menu?
In Cape Town you can still expect to enjoy turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and all the trimmings – but only if you want to.

Some of the lodges and camps have special Christmas menus on the 24th or 25th – but for the most part it's meals as usual. With great steaks, fresh seafood, salads and top class chefs, you certainly will not go hungry. South Africa, and in particular Cape Town and the Winelands, have some of the best restaurants and wine estates.

I would celebrate Christmas with friends in Cape Town who would cook the turkey in the Weber Kettle Braai. Braai being an Afrikaans word for a BBQ! 

Do they have Christmas decorations?
As incongruous as they may look when you are wearing flip flops and a sundress, South Africans do put up Christmas decorations. If you spend time at the V&A Waterfront you will see winter scenes in the shop windows, complete with snow, Santa’s grottos, elfs on the shelves, Rudolphs and red robins! 

Carols at Kirstenbosch
I think one of the nicest things to do in Cape Town over Christmas is to go to Kirstenbosch Gardens for carols. This is a Cape Town institution. Take a picnic, bring some blankets (it gets cold once the sun has gone down). Carols are sung on the lawn and it's magical. For many years this was done by candlelight, however a few mishaps with candles has meant that candles have now been replaced by glowsticks! 

Some handy hints 

  • If you plan to go to Cape Town or South Africa at Christmas time it does need to be pre-planned. It’s a busy time of year and we suggest planning well ahead of time in order to get space (many hotels book out from one year to the next). 
  • Want to live like a Capetonian and celebrate Christmas as a local? Then why not rent an apartment or villa. Don’t feel like doing the house work or the cooking? Don’t panic, we can ensure your villa is staffed (in the past we’ve arranged everything from a nannies, to private chefs, personal trainers and yogis!).
  • On the 24th and 25th December Father Christmas and his helper visit Table Mountain. Check the Table Mountain website for more information.

Contact us

Give us a call on 01904 866 033 or email: for us to create your unique festive escape.

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Rather than take online bookings, we prefer to talk through your requirements before we start to create your holiday . Contact us – or speak to your travel agent to discuss your ideas in more depth.