Know before you go: Cape Town Carnival


Cape Town's joyous carnival on the 16th of March is a celebration of local identity and culture. Here's a preview of this year's events.


25th February 2019

The Twelve Apostles Hotel

When Cape Town hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the coastal city erupted in a riot of colour, glittering costumes and vibrant street performances. It was repeated with the same magnitude in subsequent years as the annual fixture that’s now known as the Cape Town Carnival. This year’s carnival takes place on 16th March, and is an unmissable event for guests at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. Here’s a round-up of all you need to know about the hotly anticipated 2019 Cape Town Carnival.

Cape Town Carnival

What is the Cape Town Carnival?

Creativity, community and African identity are all championed by the Cape Town Carnival, which is organised by a non-profit trust. “The Carnival was envisaged as a way of bringing people together and building social cohesion, while offering an extraordinary visual and creative feast,” says Rachel Jafta, chairperson of the Cape Town Carnival Trust. Not only does the carnival provide individuals living in the Western Cape with creative jobs in costume-making, float design and set-building, it establishes a stage for tourists and locals alike to enjoy the Cape’s unique and colourful spirit.

Who takes part?

A shimmering display of culture and diversity, the Carnival attracts more than 2,000 performers and musicians from various districts across the Cape. Many of the groups are funded by non-profit organisations and offer their members help and support, as well as a sense of purpose and empowerment, year round. The thousands of spectators who turn up to cheer the charismatic costumes and colourful floats are integral to the high-octane atmosphere.

Cape Town Carnival

What’s this year’s theme?

Encouraging citizens and visitors to sit up and take notice, the 2019 theme is ‘Vuka Ukhanye!’, which means ‘rise ‘n’ shine’. The concept encourages participants and visitors to unlock their power and potential, shake off limiting habits and be the best possible version of themselves.

Where to discover the action

The carnival floods the streets of Cape Town with an intoxicating wave of energy. The heart of the action is in the city centre. All are welcome—it’s free of charge. Green Point’s Fan Walk bursts to life from 3pm on the 16th March, once the roads have been blocked off to cars, and the action is accompanied by the delicious aromas from stalls selling street food. Arrive in good time for the parade, which begins at 7pm. Ticketed seating is available online. Alternatively, enjoy more exclusive surrounds complete with snacks and drinks in a hospitality stand.

Cape Town Carnival

The after party

Round off the colour-saturated festivities in the Cape Town Carnival Village. After sunset is when the party really gets started, with local musicians and DJs spinning beats well into the early hours.

Experience the magic of this year’s Cape Town Carnival when you stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Twelve 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa.

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