A Cape Town Christmas Winter Wonderland in June

Christmas for South Africans usually entails a warm summer’s day frolicking in the sun or splashing about in pools. The entire family comes round for a braai or roast accompanied by fresh summer salads and cool drinks.
Rarely do we get to experience a cold, snowy Christmas like Europeans, where locals are wrapped snuggly in fur jackets, nibble on gingerbread and clasp steaming cups of gluhwein or hot chocolate.  That’s why the small town of Tulbagh has decided to put together a Christmas in Winter festival each year, so that we too may experience our very own white Christmas – the South African way.
Tulbagh Christmas in Winter banner
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasinWinterTulbagh

What can you expect?

Tulbagh is a lovely quiet town about a two hour’s drive from Cape Town, depending on traffic. During the festival, you can expect plenty of Christmas cheer accompanied by the delicious aromas of home-cooked food and sugary delights drifting from food stalls. Along Church Street, trees are decorated with twinkling fairy lights and shop windows are dressed with Christmas ornaments and tinsel. Locals join in on the cheer by playfully wearing Father Christmas hats.
People at Christmas in Winter festival in Tulbagh
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasinWinterTulbagh

What can you see and do?

Walk along Church Street where you’ll come across the largest concentration of national monuments in a single street. Admire these from a distance or step inside away from the cold to take a closer look. For children, jumping castles, pony rides and face painting awaits.  It won’t be Christmas without the jolly ‘ho ho ho’ of Father Christmas, who will be making an appearance too! Evenings will bring song and dance with live music at the ‘Rock with Santa’ party.
Winter Christmas festival
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasinWinterTulbagh

Where to eat

Many restaurants will be cooking and serving delectable winter warmer dishes and full-on traditional Christmas fare.  Stalls will also be selling hearty soup with crusty bread and gluhwein (hot wine).
Here are some restaurants in Tulbagh where you can tuck into a delicious winter lunch:
  • De Kreeft Restaurant
  • Olive Terrace Bistro
  • Rijk’s Country House
  • Paddagang Restaurant
  • Forties Pub & Restaurant
If you have your lunch planned beforehand, go wine, cheese and olive tasting instead, which will be held at some of Tulbagh’s wine estates.

How much does a ticket cost?

Tickets for the Christmas in Winter festival are available at the Tulbagh tourism office and cost R60 per person. If you want a wine tasting glass, a ticket will cost R80 per person.  The tickets are valid for both days of the festival* (Saturday and Sunday).
  • Children under the age of 12 years enter free of charge.
  • *Do note that the price of the ticket does not include dinner at the restaurants.

When is the Christmas in Winter festival?

The festival takes place over the weekend of the 25th and 26th of June.

How to get to Tulbagh from Cape Town

Distance is approximately 121km.
1. Drive on the N1 highway from Cape Town towards Paarl.
2. Take the Klapmuts/Wellington turnoff (R44).
3. Just before Wellington turn left again as if you’re driving to Hermon/Ceres (Still the R44).
4. Continue on this road through the Nuwekloof Pass where it becomes the R46.
5. Follow the signs into Tulbagh.
GPS coordinates: -33.28624,19.13851
Map with directions to Tulbagh
If you need accommodation for the weekend of the Christmas in Winter festival, consider booking into the famous Tulbagh Hotel.