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A New Year Celebrating The African New Year in South Africa

A New Year: Celebrating The African New Year in South Africa

The New Year is a cherished celebration worldwide, and in South Africa, it’s a special occasion focused on family and positivity. The locals celebrate it in a variety of unique ways.

If you’re curious about how locals celebrate the holiday, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about how they ring in the New Year with enthusiasm in South Africa!

1. Watching the Sunrise 

1. Watching the Sunrise

Observing the sunrise on New Year’s Day holds significance worldwide, and this tradition is equally cherished among South Africans. Many people embrace the idea of watching the sunrise on New Year’s Day, viewing it as a symbol of new beginnings.

Some choose to watch the sunrise at the beach, where the sounds of the waves harmonize with the emergence of sunlight, creating a tranquil atmosphere. Others opt to visit the mountains, which offer breathtaking views of the valleys and rivers below.

2. New Year’s Day Brunch

2. New Year's Day Brunch

In South Africa, New Year’s Day brunches have transformed into a custom, offering a way for people to bond, share stories, and savour a meal. It brings family and friends around a table embodying the essence of what New Year is all about in South Africa.

These New Year’s Day brunches also provide a chance for individuals who may not have celebrated together on New Year’s Eve to partake in the festive spirit. The menu for these brunches is diverse, offering dishes like quiches, sandwiches, and much more.

3. First-Footing

3. First-Footing

Similar to the Scottish, South Africans also observe the New Year with the first-footing practice. This tradition is thought to usher in good luck, prosperity, and positive energy for the upcoming year.

In the South African first-footer tradition, the symbolic gift presented by the first-footer is bread and salt, symbolizing sustenance and flavour in life.

4. Countdown

4. Countdown

Countdowns are integral for New Year’s celebrations, creating moments of anticipation. They mark the crucial moment to bid farewell to the past and embrace the present. 

These countdowns are often accompanied by festive music, lively dances, and an abundance of champagne that doesn’t stop pouring until the sun rises.

5. Doing Charitable Acts

5. Doing Charitable Acts

South Africans believe that, similar to Christmas, starting the new year is grounded in the spirit of generosity, compassion, and acts of service. For many of them, it involves contributing to the well-being of the community.

It’s common to participate in fundraising drives, make donations, and engage in volunteering on New Year’s Day.

6. Braai

6. Braai

On New Year’s Day, families and friends come together for a traditional braai, the Afrikaans term for a barbecue. Having a plate of grilled meat and beer is a cherished South African tradition for celebrating any occasion.

A New Year’s braai offers a joyful and vibrant start to the year, setting a tone of positivity, fun, and good vibes that are hoped to persist throughout the entire year.

7. Beach Celebration

7. Beach Celebration

South Africa’s warm climate creates an ideal setting for lively beach celebrations, and places like Cape Town are good spots to enjoy the first day of the new year. As the year starts, numerous South Africans head to the beach, enjoying a day of under the sun.

There, families and friends come together to enjoy picnics and barbecues. 

8. New Year Events

1. Secrets of Summer Festival

Address: Cape Town, South Africa

Price: R 390

Secrets of Summer is a fun festival to celebrate New Year’s in South Africa, with renowned artists like Faithless and Shapeless gracing its previous stages. 

This event is filled with artists who deliver performances that’ll leave you in awe. Additionally, dance arenas are set up, providing perfect spaces to dance the night away and create lasting memories.

2. The Smoking Dragon New Year Festival

Address: Amphitheatre Lodge, R74, Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal

Contact: ​​​​​​+27(0)768227508

Price: R 695

The Drakensberg is one of the most breathtaking mountain ranges in Lesotho, making it the perfect destination to celebrate New Year in South Africa. Here you can enjoy The Smoking Dragon New Year Festival packed with music, games, and all types of fun. 

This festival, hosted at the Amphitheater Backpackers Lodge, boasts four stages featuring a lineup of 40 acts. The hosts provide additional amenities, including a campsite with hot showers, a jacuzzi, a sauna, and a rock pool.

3. New Year’s Festival of Light

Address: Cape Town, South Africa

The lantern parade is a heartwarming community event orchestrated by the Bethesda Arts Center in the quaint Eastern Cape town of Nieu-Bethesda. This parade will have you walking under a starlit sky as you watch hundreds of lanterns light up!

This New Year tradition involves crafting your lantern at a workshop or having a community artist create one for you and releasing it into the night. You’ll also be able to enjoy a bountiful feast at the Bethesda Arts Center after the parade. 

4. The Barnyard Theatre 99 Hits Party

Address: Emperors Palace, 64 Jones Rd, Boksburg, Kempton Park, 1627, South Africa

Price: R 395

Emperor’s Palace is home to The Barnyard Theatre, where a New Year’s Eve party with a retro 90s theme takes center stage. Here, you can party all night until the clock strikes 12, welcoming the new year with more music, dancing, and fun until the sun comes up.

This event serves as a vibrant celebration of the 90s, featuring an array of cool music genres such as pop, rock, and alternative, transporting attendees back to that iconic decade. 

5. Rezonance New Year’s Eve Trance Party

Address: Bergendal Farm, Bergendal Road, Klaasvoogds West, Robertson, 6705, South Africa

Price: R 500 – R 600

For those seeking to retreat from the city lights while still enjoying an energetic New Year’s celebration, consider attending Rezonance. 

This four-day event pulsates with wild beats and showcases a stellar lineup of international psytrance, dub, techno, and electronica DJs. Guests have the option to pitch their own tents or opt for renting pre-pitched tents for the extended weekend.

6. Hot-Air Balloon Safari

Address: Skeerpoort, 2146, South Africa

Contact details: +27 11 705 3201

Price: R 2570

If you’re seeking a fun way to experience the beauty of the new year, we suggest going on a hot-air balloon safari. Witness the enchanting spectacle of the first sunrise of the new year as you soar above the breathtaking Magalies River Valley.

Soaring above the landscape offers breathtaking panoramic views and a unique perspective to see the fireworks and festivities. After the flight, you can enjoy a delightful champagne breakfast at Bill Harrop’s balloon base in the Cradle of Nature.

7. NYE Cruise

Address: Table Bay, South Africa

Price: R 750

Another enjoyable and popular way to welcome the new year is by indulging in a fun New Year’s Eve cruise. Here, you can glide along Table Bay Harbor, savoring the balmy atmosphere while sipping on sparkling wine.

You can soak up the good vibes aboard a traditional catamaran and marvel at the spectacular midnight fireworks display.

8. Revolution New Year Open Air Music Festival

Address: Gauteng, South Africa

Price: R 380

Revolution is an annual outdoor festival held in Gauteng, offering a lively three-day open-air extravaganza. Attendees can anticipate dozens of performances by international artists, over 40 DJs, and live shows.

The festival promises a captivating experience with mind-boggling UV decor and appealing sound and lighting effects. Additionally, attendees can enjoy various amenities, including tent zones, spaces for hot showers, pools, and licensed retro bars.

9. Orange River Rafting

Address: South Namibia, Namibia

Contact details: +27 21 559 1573

Price: R 3,190

Celebrate the new year in a distinctive South African fashion by enjoying a fun river rafting session. Visitors can enjoy looking at wildlife while floating along the waters of the Orange River surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

Outdoor lovers can partake in a canoe journey down the river, bask in the warm sun, and share stories around a campfire.

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