December is party time in Cape Town. Visit the beaches, eat out, do day trips, go wine tasting, hike in the mountains, attend festivals, and shop at markets. The entertainment is non-stop!
Visiting Cape Town in December is always fun because summer is sunny and the days are long.
Here we reveal some of the most exciting things you can expect when spending your December holidays in Cape Town – the official month of festivity and celebration in South Africa.
December is silly season, so there is lots of entertainment happening everywhere. Bring lots of patience and a sense of fun to participate in everything on offer.
Make your December holiday happen
Schools break up early in December, which is South Africa’s summer holiday period. Visitors from upcountry and abroad come down to Cape Town to enjoy the magical scenery and seaside.
A successful December holiday in Cape Town depends a lot on your planning skills. The flights to Cape Town in December can get booked up. Therefore, one should book flights early to secure your seat to this prime holiday destination. Browse flight sites such as travelstart.co.za to find the best deals.
As soon as your flights are confirmed, it is time to book your accommodation. Browse the options on Cape Town Villas to find the perfect home for your holiday. We have a large selection of luxury villas and stand ready to help you find the best place to stay.
Fun things to do in December
During December, you will find all the usual stuff on offer, such as going to the beaches and indulging in luxury experiences.
Water sports are popular. You can go swimming, surfing, kayaking, kite surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. Sunbathe to your heart’s content, visit vibey restaurants and bars and party the night away at Cape Town’s clubs.
The great outdoors is also a drawcard in the warm summer months. Hiking, running and mountain biking are favourite sports to enjoy in and around Cape Town and its mountains.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Cape Town in December. However, here are some of the extraordinary things that make it worth your while to visit during December.
Watch the switching on of the festive lights in Adderley Street, Cape Town, on 1 December. This annual event is presided by the executive mayor of Cape Town, and the festivities kick off with a music concert in the late afternoon.
Make the most of hot summer nights and watch a movie under the stars with The Galileo Open Air Cinema. Venues include Kirstenbosch Gardens in Newlands, Central Park in Century City, Battery Park at the V&A Waterfront and various other Cape Town and Winelands venues.
The Summer Sunset Concerts at Kirstenbosch brings musical delights and a delicious picnic together to be enjoyed in the gardens of Cape Town’s botanical park. Also, watch out or the annual Carols by Candlelight at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
Picnic in the Winelands
Head out to the Winelands for a full moon or star gazing picnic at Die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum in Paarl.
Check out the bright and colourful Cape Minstrels. Many of the minstrel groups practice throughout December for the piece de resistance performance in the streets of Cape Town on 2 January.
Don’t miss these popular markets in Cape Town:
- Bay Harbour Market (Hout Bay)
- Made in the Cape Festive Fair (Claremont)
- Simply South Craft & Gift Fair (Bergvliet)
- Pinelands Craft & Gift Fair
- Edgemead Christmas Market
- Kirstenbosch Craft Market
- Neighbourgoods Holiday Market (Old Biscuit Mill)
South Africans can make use of the Sunset Special at the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway during the first half of December. Half-price tickets are available to take the cableway up Table Mountain after 18:00. (Terms and conditions apply.)
Summer is a great time to catch a Yellowfin tuna. Book with a deep-sea fishing charter company like Hooked on Africa that offers offshore tuna fishing trips.
Don’t miss the beach scene
Camps Bay beach in the summer is one of the best places to be. Sunbathing, walking along the beach, swimming in the sea or playing a game of touch rugby or volleyball are all on the cards.
Many visitors bring portable barbecues and cook picnics on the lawn section before the beach. Others head over the road to hang out at one of the many restaurants and bars on the Camps Bay strip.
Brace yourself for the traffic on the roads because December is a busy month. Embrace the holiday spirit, take it easy and do not rush around during your December holidays – it will only frustrate you.
Weather in December
The weather in Cape Town in December can be hot and windy. The South Easter wind is usually active during the summer months. The “Cape Doctor” is the nickname of this notorious wind. It has an important job! The presence of the Cape Doctor ensures that smog is blown away to ensure magnificent clear skies around the Cape Peninsula.
Do not be put off by the potential presence of this wind. It is still worth your while to come to Cape Town in December. The wind also plays a role in cooling things down in Cape Town, which can be very welcome on a hot summer’s day. There are enough wind-free beaches around Cape Town where one can escape the South Easter.
The temperature in Cape Town during December months varies between a low of 17ᵒ C and a high of 27ᵒ C. There is very little rain in December. December visitors to Cape Town may only experience drizzle or overcast conditions for a maximum of four days during the entire month.
If you are not sure about the best time to visit Cape Town, decide what your ideal holiday looks like, then you can match your goals with the right season.
Cape Town is a relaxed city. Your holiday packing should focus on fun, easy-wearing clothes. You can, of course, pack a few items that are more glamorous if you have secured bookings at upmarket restaurants.
However, you can generally relax, dress down and enjoy your summer holiday in shorts and T-shirts.
As hot as it gets during the day, Cape Town evenings can cool down significantly. Always take a warm top or pashmina to wrap yourself up against the breeze. When planning a night outdoors, such as a picnic or show, take warm layers along.
Throw a picnic blanket in your luggage. Mosquito spray may be necessary when you spend the evening outdoors. Sun hats, sunglasses, beach wraps and bags come in handy when spending leisurely days on the beach.
Most importantly, do not stress too much about packing for your trip in December. Cape Town has everything you need. You will be able to buy any item(s) you may have forgotten to pack for your trip. You may even enjoy having a good excuse to spend the day in one of Cape Town’s magnificent shopping malls.