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Cape Town’s top summer events

4 November 2019

It’s events season in Cape Town and the itinerary is endless. From corporate meetings to global conferences, international exhibitions and trade shows to horse racing events, yacht races, food shows, cycling, marathons, fashion events, art and music festivals. There isn’t a weekend on the Cape Town calendar when something fantastic isn’t happening.

Upcoming events include the Cape Town-leg of the FIA World RallyCross Championship at the Killarney International Raceway on 9 and 10 November; the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts kick off on 17 November and runs until March 2020 – view the 2019/20 line-up here; the International Motor & Music Festival takes place at the Cape Town Stadium on 23 and 24 November; the Ultra-Trail Cape Town takes place from 28 November to 1 December; and the Cape Town Festival of Lights, officially signalling the start of the festive season in Cape Town, takes place on Sunday, 1 December.

Staging the world’s top events

Cape Town has become the envy of many global cities as a result of its wide-ranging events portfolio.

Jewel events hosted in the city include the HSBC Rugby Sevens, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the Two Oceans Marathon, Mining Indaba,  the Absa Cape Epic, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, the Volvo Ocean Race, and World Travel Market (WTM) Africa.

The city is also growing in popularity as a premier business and tech events destination, and is ranked the number one city in Africa for business tourism events.

Upcoming business and tech events include AfricArena, Design Indaba and Africa Tech Week.

In 2012, the City of Cape Town launched its Integrated Events Strategy and set out to become the events capital of Africa. Since then, Cape Town has continually affirmed its place as a leading events destination. In 2018, the city was named the World’s Leading Festival & Events Destination at the World Travel Awards.


Here’s what some of the world’s top event organisers say about Cape Town as an events city.

Billy Domingo, Cape Town International Jazz Festival director

‘’There are many things that make the Cape Town International Jazz Festival an award-winning, world-famous event, but something that is often overlooked is the crucial supporting infrastructure and communitive ethos of our host city, and the impression Cape Town leaves on global visitors.

“Africa’s Grandest Gathering was born out of this ethos, and today attracts over 35, 000 visitors from South African and aboard. Our visitors not only come to Cape Town to enjoy the exceptional music on offer, but also to explore the beauty of the Mother City and its surroundings. It comes as no surprise that our city is once again being acknowledged as the events capital of the world, a title that is greatly deserved and will continue to contribute to the wonderful attributes that make Cape Town the friendly, exciting and warm place that it is’’

Kevin Vermaak, founder of the Absa Cape Epic

“The trails of the region have had much to do with the fact the Cape Epic is regarded as the premier mountain bike stage race in the world. We have been called the Tour de France of mountain biking, and have set standards for mountain bike events around the world. The excellence of the trails, the infrastructure and the people who build new routes and maintain them each and every year are the lifeblood of our sport.”

Paul Bellamy, managing director of World RallyCross for IMG

“We have found the perfect match in Africa to host our final round of the World Championship:  Cape Town is a desirable international tourist destination and we’ve had tremendous support from both the City of Cape Town and Killarney International Raceway.  The track backdrop of Table Mountain as One of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the heritage, world class track and facilities at Killarney will be the ideal setting for our World Championship season-closer in Cape Town.”

Janet Welham, organiser of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

“We are so blessed to call Cape Town our home. The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon proudly hosted Africa’s only IAAF GOLD Label status marathon. With the on-going support of the City, Western Province Athletics, our Sponsors and Partners and with Cape Town being one of the world’s top tourism destinations, we believe, that in time to come, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will become one of the worlds “must run” destination marathons.’

Cape Town Carnival CEO, Jay Douwes

“A spectacular socially transformative event like the Cape Town Carnival relies on receptive and supportive engagement with our host city. Safely accommodating massive crowds in public open space is a credit to our beautiful tourist friendly city and provides an opportunity for locals & tourists to experience and enjoy South African community, culture & creativity.”

Cape Town Events Office

Cape Town’s Events Office is a one-stop shop that enables event organisers to stage world-class events in the city. The office assist in ensuring that events meet the regulatory requirements and facilitate the necessary services such as traffic, health, safety and environmental services. For more information about the Events application process, click here.