Fun for the whole family: 10 things to do in KZN this festive season

The spectacular Trail of Lights at the Durban Botanic Gardens.
The spectacular Trail of Lights at the Durban Botanic Gardens.
Image: Via Durban Botanic Gardens Trail of Lights Facebook Page / Tim Lubbe Photography

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.

More info: trailoflights.co.za

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.

Price: Free

More info: shongwenimarket.co.za

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

Price: Free

More info: iheartmarket.com

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 

Price: Free 

More info: himevillemuseum.co.za

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 

More info: durbantheatre.com

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

More info: umgenisteamrailway.com

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

Price: Free

More info: thefestivemarket.co.za

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. 

More info: sanbi.org

Watch a bird of prey flying show at African Bird of Prey Sanctuary.
Watch a bird of prey flying show at African Bird of Prey Sanctuary.
Image: Marianne Schwankhart

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. 

More info: africanraptor.co.za

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.

More info: nmsa.org.za


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