The Ultimate Guide to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2018

Known as ‘Africa’s Grandest Gathering,’ the Cape Town International Jazz Festival doesn’t disappoint. Each year tens of thousands of festival-goers descend on Cape Town to experience one of the largest jazz festivals in the world. With past headliners such as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Leela James, Mos Def, and Erykah Badu, the event alone is reason enough to visit South Africa.

While the two-day festival is worth the trip, the jazz enthusiasts who come from abroad like to stick around and soak up the sights and sounds of the city itself. Consider this your ultimate guide to Cape Town before, during, and after the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Guide to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2018

Key Jazz Festival Information

Dates: March 23 – 24, 2018

Location: Cape Town International Convention Center

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The Cape Town International Jazz Festival boasts five stages with 40 artists performing over two nights. While the lineup for 2018 hasn’t been announced yet, last year’s performances included South Africa natives Darren English, Camillo Lombard, and Nomfundo Xaluva as well as the all-female R&B trio En Vogue and Grammy-nominated urban contemporary artists The Internet. In addition to music performances, the festival also features a craft market where visitors can browse local wares from artisans from across Africa.

Where to Stay in Cape Town

Many of the jazz enthusiasts who come to Cape Town for the festival are international travelers. With 37,000 people attending each year, hotels surrounding the Cape Town International Convention Center become overwhelmed with guests. Many accommodations sell out 9 months in advance. Here are our suggestions for the best accommodations in Cape Town:

Southern Sun Cullinan

Steps from the festival at the Cape Town International Convention Center is the Southern Sun Cullinan, an award-winning luxury hotel in the heart of Cape Town. Located in the renowned Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the hotel is walking distance from high-end shopping, fine dining, and the new Zeitz MOCAA — the largest contemporary art museum to open on the continent in the last 100 years.

Taj Hotel Cape Town

The Taj Hotel is a grand hotel located in the Cape Town City Center. Luxurious amenities include fine dining at the swanky Bombay Brasserie and use of the full-service Jiva Grande Spa. The Taj is not only walking distance to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, it’s also near sights like the District Six Museum, the Castle of Good Hope, and The Company’s Garden.

The Commodore Hotel

The Commodore Hotel is a beautiful and affordable option that spares no luxury. Also conveniently located near the V&A Waterfront, many rooms in the Commodore boast waterfront views where travelers can wake up to the sparkling bay and Table Mountain. The hotel is also walking distance to The Cape Wheel, Two Oceans Aquarium, and the Cape Town Diamond Museum.

Where to Drink and Dine in Cape Town

Whether you want to grab a bite before the festival or party into the wee hours of the night, there are number of excellent bars and restaurants located within a short distance of the Cape Town International Convention Center.

Asoka

For a chic upscale experience, visit Asoka and take in the sleek surroundings, romantic lighting, and intimate setting where you can enjoy beautifully crafted cocktails and Instagram-worthy Asian-inspired tapas.

The Piano Bar

If you would like to keep the party going after the show, head to The Piano Bar. The bar boasts nightly shows spanning a number of genres from jazz, soul, and folk as well as a number of singer-songwriters.

The Crypt Jazz Restaurant in St. George’s Cathedral

St. George’s Cathedral is known as ‘the people’s Cathedral’ for its role in the resistance against apartheid. The cathedral’s crypt was built in 1898, and is an important Cape Town landmark and museum. Now a jazz restaurant, the Crypt serves dinner alongside live music in a truly intimate and unique setting.

St. George’s Cathedral is known as ‘the people’s Cathedral’ for its role in the resistance against apartheid. The cathedral’s crypt was built in 1898, and is an important Cape Town landmark and museum. Now a jazz restaurant, the Crypt serves dinner alongside live music in a truly intimate and unique setting.

2018 Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Activities and Sights in Cape Town

Table Mountain

If you’re arriving in town early, unwind after a long trip and enjoy the more relaxing sights of Cape Town. Take in the stunning vistas of the peninsula from the top of Table Mountain. The mountain is easily the most recognizable natural landmark in Cape Town, with a plateau that stretches a full two miles across. Visitors can hike to the summit or step on board a cable car for a leisurely ride to the top where they will get a bird’s eye view of South Africa’s stunning coastline.

The Castle of Good Hope

History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Castle of Good Hope, a 17th century bastion fort designed and built by the infamous Dutch East India Company in 1679. The awe-inspiring structure is the oldest colonial building in South Africa. Visitors can view what is arguably the best preserved example DEIC architecture on the planet. The massive star-shaped military compound is poised to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meaning that the structure is considered a globally recognized masterpiece of human creative genius.

Bo-Kaap

Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap is a multicultural area known for its cheerful pastel-hued homes and cobble stoned streets. Bo-Kaap is a historical center for the ‘Cape Malays’ culture. The community’s earliest members were enslaved Japanese transported by the Dutch East India Company. These inhabitants were followed by slaves from other Southeast Asian regions and political dissidents and Muslim religious leaders who opposed the Dutch presence in what is now Indonesia and were sent into exile. Since Cape Town’s economic development and expansion, and after apartheid, Bo-Kaap has become a popular destination for tourists wanting to experience a neighborhood that is uniquely ‘Cape Town.’

Experience each of these sights on our half-day tour, ‘Explore the Charm of the Mother City.’

March 2018 Cape Town Tour

Experience the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as part of a stellar lineup of the best sights and activities in South Africa. In our Cape Town Tour 2018, travelers will not only get to attend the festival, but will stay in premier oceanfront lodging, experience a two-day safari, and enjoy a leisurely day in South Africa’s famed Winelands. Learn more about this incredible 10-day adventure.

For more tips, ideas, and advice for seeing all there is to see in South Africa, visit us at vacationtosouthafrica.com.

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