1. BOTANIC GARDENS TRAIL OF LIGHTS
There’ll be nightly entertainment, kids’ activities, a food garden and a festive market while the beautiful gardens are ablaze with millions of lights.
Where: Durban Botanic Gardens
When: December 12 – 30 (excluding Christmas Day)
Price: Ticket are R65 per person via Webtickets or at Pick n Pay. R80 at the door.
2. SHONGWENI CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA MARKET
A must for foodies, the “green-fingered folk of the Midlands” will be selling all manner of farm-grown delights. They will be crafts for sale too.
When: December 1, 8, 15 – 17, 22 and 29
Where: Shongweni Resource Reserve.
3. I HEART MARKET – CHRISTMAS MARKET
This platform for local design, craft, fashion and food has special festive-season editions this December.
When: December 1, 8, 15 and 22. From 9am – 2pm
Where: Moses Mabhida Stadium
4. HIMEVILLE FORT AND MUSEUM COUNTRY FAIR
This annual fair in the old fort in the ‘Berg town of Himeville offers great food, collectibles and crafts.
Where: 34 Arbuckle Street, Himeville
When: December 14. From 9am – noon
5. SEE A PUPPET PANTOMIME
Globe Trotting Suzy sees its star travelling the world to see what children in other countries celebrate.
Where: Rhumbelow Theatre
When: December 9-21
Price: R75 per person
6. STEAM TRAIN TO THE VALLEY OF 1,000 HILLS
The Umgeni Steam Railway is running steam-hauled return trains along the beautiful Old Natal Mainline from Kloof to the superb crafts market at Inchanga station. “Carols by Candelight” rides on some evenings.
When: Every weekend this festive season from December 14
Price: R260 for adults, R190 for kids
7. THE FESTIVE MARKET
Browse through over 100 tables of handmade gifts for the whole family at Durban’s largest indoor Christmas Market.
Where: Hillcrest High School
When: December 7 to 16. From 9am to 5pm
8. KZN NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
The tranquil KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden specialises in the conservation of plants from the eastern region of SA and of rare and endangered species from elsewhere. One of the most spectacular features of the gardens is the avenue of London Plane trees, which form a breathtaking and romantic canopy over a leafy walkway.
Where: 2 Swartkops Rd, Prestbury, Pietermaritzburg
Price: R30 per adult.
9. AFRICAN BIRD OF PREY SANCTUARY
Here falconers enthral visitors with aerial displays of raptors, eagles and kites. The sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates birds of prey and runs a Bearded Vulture Breeding Programme, where discarded eggs in the wild are hatched and raised in captivity and released back into the wild when the chicks reach maturity.
Where: Lion Park Road, Pietermaritzburg
When: Flying shows on Wednesdays to Sundays at 10.30am.
Price: R70 for adults, R40 for kids.
10. KZN MUSEUM
This museum boasts a number of unique collections including natural and cultural history galleries as well as a life-size T-Rex model. There are exhibitions dedicated to KZN history, geological and Paleontological material, a reconstruction of a Victorian street set in the late 1800s and you can walk through a recreation of a Drakensberg cave with rock art.
Where: Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg
When: Open Monday to Sunday; closed on December 6. Special “Make your own” crafting activities over the holidays: snowman, December 9 and dancing elf, December 12.
Price: Entrance R15 per adult; R5 per child over four. Special crafting activities are R25 per child.