One of the most awesome things to do around Christmas time is to sing carols by candlelight. The atmosphere is so warm, and cheerful, and seeing as South African’s have Christmas right in the middle of sumer, the nights are perfect for outdoor activities like this.
Kirstenbosch Gardens ~ These are the famous botanical gardens nestled at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town (on the eastern slopes of the mountain). I have been on many walks, picnics, and to numerous gatherings here, but until this day I had never made it to one of the annual Carols by Candlelight concerts.
David, Justin and myself made our way there in the late afternoon. We were pretty excited so we left early and anticipated the masses of people, and the traffic that goes with that.
The open-air amphitheatre concerts offer something for everyone – from jazz, folk and rock to big band swing and are a delightful way to enjoy the surroundings, while relaxing and unwinding with family and friends.
We found a spot between the crowds and then lay down our picnic blanket and got comfortable. As you can see above, there were already thousands of people settling in before the sun even disappeared behind the mountain.
One of our most favourite things ~ Relaxing in the afternoon sun.
Surrounded by lawns and luscious greenery, the Kirstenbosch Concert series is unlike any other concert you will experience in Cape Town. Concertgoers picnic on the soft grass bnks that slope downwards towards the stage and enjoy the music in the lake afternoon sun.
We packed a few picnic snacks to eat while the concert was on.
The charm of the Kirstenbosch Summer Concert series lies in the warm, friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the concerts where moms and dads and their little ones, groups of friends, and even teenagers and their parents come together to enjoy the music. Once we’d laid down our picnic blanket in front of the specially constructed amphitheatre-like stage, we couldn’t help but be enchanted by the beauty of our surroundings.
When the sun set behind Table Mountain, the Christmas songs began.
When we entered the gardens, we were given a song book containing hymns, a candle, and a white paper bag. These were all that we needed to start the beautifully festive carols by candlelight.
We had goosebumps during many of the songs that we sang. To hear all of these voices lifted up around us was truly wonderful. There was a children’s choir too, and it was really precious to hear the little ones sing solo pieces. Our candles were long so we were able to sing a number of carols without them burning out.
There was a group of young people next to us, and they ended up serving as a good source of entertainment for the night. Although David, Justin and I had gone there in a small group, we felt a part of the larger group sitting next to us because they REALLY got into the singing!
David and Justin
After the concert ended we all walked towards our cars, and we could feel the merriment in everyone surrounding us. We all kept singing carols as we left the gardens. A random person would start a song, and then tons of others would echo it on through the walking crowd. It was magical!
Flickering candlelight and the melodious sound of hymns kept going long after the concert ended.
This was a fun way to get into the mood for Christmas, and it also raises funds for charities in and around Cape Town. We hope to attend more evenings like this in Cape Town because summer nights combined with Christmas festivities really are a great way to spend your December.
If you are in Cape Town, don’t miss this event!
**Carols by Candlelight: The entrance fee on 13 December is R65 for adults and R45 for children. On 14-16 December the entrance fee is R75 for adults and R55 for children. Tickets will only be sold at Pick ‘n Pay stores in the Western Cape.