Winter awaits. Exploring Cape Town during the green season

Explore the top events of the Green Season

Discerning travellers wait for the lights to be dimmed a little, as the evenings become shorter and cooler and the big crowds dissipate without realising what they are about to miss. This is the start of the Green Season, from May through to September when the Cape comes on stage and starts to show off its talents. And what a performance it has to offer – culture, theatre, music, fine dining and blissful bucolic escapes to tranquil estates without the hubbub crowds, the impatient queues and the frustrating quest for seats at a top restaurant or event.

Green season
Winter bliss in Cape Town

Linda Pampallis, on Cape Town in the Green Season

Have you heard about the benefits of searching out local knowledge? As born ‘n bred Capetonians we have some insight concerning a very special time to visit Cape Town – it is called the Green Season.

The Western Cape, unlike the rest of South Africa, enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cold, rainy winters. This means that the days get shorter and chillier from May onwards. Not only that, dramatic cloudscapes thunder in over the Atlantic Ocean and the winter rains begin. The Green Season has arrived.

In summer, as wonderful as it is to enjoy high, cloudless, blue skies and soaring temperatures every day, the landscape scorches and ends up with an arid aspect. The gentle winter rains soften that and coax a lush verdancy back into the mountains and valleys of the Cape.

This is the time to take slow drives out into the countryside and explore the Western Cape’s charming country towns like Tulbagh, Wellington, Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Here you will find excellent restaurants that welcome a long, languorous lunch. Afterwards, you can walk it off as you explore the boutiques and craft & gift shops that offer delightful local wares. The fine wines of the Cape are always recommended but the deep reds and speciality dessert wines definitely taste better when they are enjoyed in front of a roaring fire with the puttering of rain on the window as a backtrack.

Green season
Franschhoek during the rainy season

Unlike many other Mediterranean cities, Cape Town does not close down during winter. On the contrary. Art, music and food lovers adore winters in Cape Town because there are tons of fabulous shows and productions to enjoy, winter specials at restaurants to take advantage of and food and wine events to indulge in.

Drama in the dramatic season

Winter brings drama to Cape Town. Thunder, lightning, rain, Northwester gales, surging, sodden seas and marvellous theatrical productions. If your tastes run to culture, there is no better time to explore Cape Town’s theatre scene. Most theatres are just a few minutes away from the Cape Grace by taxi or why not make use of the complimentary chauffeur service that Cape Grace offers our guests? The Artscape Theatre on the Foreshore is a large complex that offers drama, music and dance, ballet and opera. A little further away is the Baxter Theatre Centre, in Rondebosch, just below the University of Cape Town. This is a popular theatre complex, offering a range of alternative venues for shows, from the small and cosy to the impressively magnificent. A bit further, along the Atlantic Seaboard, one can find the Theatre on The Bay. Imagine going to a theatre, arriving in the setting sun, being met with glasses tinkling with ice, champagne corks popping and then a performance by top South African stars in an internationally acclaimed play.

Green season
Large sweeping concrete drapes adorn the façade of the Theatre on the Bay Image: Theatre on the Bay Facebook

Find and book for shows here

Tune in to the Green Season

The city’s philharmonic orchestra, founded in 1914,  is arguably the most versatile and active orchestra on the continent of Africa, contributing notably to Cape Town’s global status and cultural appeal. Concerts are housed in the Cape Town City Hall, a handsome Edwardian building in Cape Town city centre which was built in 1905. It is located on the Grand Parade, from where Nelson Mandela made his famous release speech, just west of the historic Castle of Good Hope.  The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra traditionally prepares a series of Autumn Symphonies that take place on Thursday nights. Could there be a more blissful way to hide away from the wild weather?

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The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the newly revamped Cape Town City Hall. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams

Perhaps the serious classics are not your style. You can still tune in to the Green Season at the many jazz and contemporary music venues in the city. Such as The Piano Bar, The Blue Room and Urban Soul to name just a few.

Green season
The Blue Room at Grub & Vine pays homage to the soulful sounds of jazz and the blues. Image: The Blue Room website

Funnies, Flowers and Festivals

Winter is the festival season in and around the Mother City. The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival is South Africa’s oldest and foremost comedy festival showcasing the best local stand-up comedians together with top international variety acts. It’s Cape Town’s winter comedic talent and a great night out!

Green season
Cape Town Funny Festival 2023 Image: Jive Cape Town Funny Festival Facebook

There are also amazing foodie festivals less than an hour outside of the city centre. The Knysna Oyster Festival is a fun way to explore the Garden Route. Although it does feature the delicious, buttery, briny mollusc, with most restaurants in the area presenting special tastings, the Knysna Oyster Festival offers so much more than that. It’s a 10-day family-friendly adventure that includes boat rides, cycle races, forest marathons, music events and loads of kids’ activities.

Green Season
A romantic date over oysters at the Knysna Oyster Festive. Image: Knysna Oyster Festive Facebook

If you are a Fynbos fan, a botanical culture you will see reflected everywhere within Cape Grace, then you do not miss the Clanwilliam Wildflower Show if you are in Cape Town as winter turns to spring. The Cape Floral Kingdom is broken up into eight flower districts boasting their own unique plants and flowers. The Cederberg district is unique in the sense that it is situated at a point where four of the eight floral districts meet. The merge between the floral districts creates a unique ecosystem which has to be seen to be believed. Plus, this is the home of the world-famous health phenomenon, Rooibos tea. In Clanwilliam, the Rooibos hub of the world, you will find the only Rooibos Route in the world.

At the end of the day, Cape Grace

A chauffeur service to any location within a 10km radius is just one of the several complimentary guest services, the little luxuries, that Cape Grace offers our guests. The experience of staying at Cape Grace is unmatched, and we are dedicated to ensuring that the finer details of your journey are flawless. A nightcap of impeccable whiskey in the Bascule Bar perhaps? A quick call to Room Service for a sandwich and hot chocolate, tucked up in the most luxurious bed in the world while you watch your own winter weather drama happening outside your bedroom window? At the end of the day, Cape Grace will welcome you home.

green season
Bascule Bar offers the perfect cosy environment for a Whiskey Tasting of note.
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A little more to explore.

Our blog serves as a guide and gateway for the luxury traveller. Through our well-informed concierge team, we provide our readers with up to date information on the finest restaurants and places to explore in and around the Mother City.
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