Christmas in Winter: Tulbagh

For South Africans and the rest of those living in the southern hemisphere Christmas is celebrated in summer. While celebrating Christmas in the warmest season has its benefits, South Africans do miss out on the festivities and atmosphere that a Christmas in winter brings. Let’s face it; drinking gluwhein in the summer is just not the same as feeling this hot broth between your gloved hands in the winter with snow all around.

But the town of Tulbagh has the solution for those craving a Christmas winter experience. Once a year the small Western Cape town goes into full celebratory mode in June offering families the experience of Christmas with all the trimmings.

How much is it?
Tickets are for sale from the Tourism Office in Church Street. Fee is R60 per person or R80 with a wine glass included. This includes free wine tasting at various wine cellars. Children under 12 get in free. Contact Tulbagh Tourism on 023 230 1348, or view their Facebook page. This fee doesn’t encompass everything though and there are a number of restaurants, wine farms and other establishments providing separate entertainment and things to do for all the family (see below).

What happens in the town?

The village is decorated with lights and Christmas trees. Father Christmas rides through the streets giving out free treats to the children at midday on both Saturday and Sunday. The restaurants offer traditional Christmas dinners. Visit the wine estates for wine tasting, activities and festive fair. For those who like to party a ‘Rock with Santa Party’ is held where you can dance till dawn. Festival attendees will be able to make use of free WiFi for the duration of the festival.
There will be free entrance into the museums in Church Street for the weekend.

Some participating restaurants with Christmas/winter menus and entertainment:

Lemberg Wine Estate
There’s wine tasting, cheese platters, Swiss cheese fondue to enjoy in front of a roaring fire. The Swiss cheese fondue costs R400 per couple.
25 & 26 June. The cellar is open from 9am till 5pm.
021 300 1130

The Lighthouse Restaurant
This restaurant is offering a Christmas dinner menu for R175 per person on Friday and a Christmas buffet for Sunday lunch, also R175 per person.
24 – 26 June
023 2300 159

Manley Wine Lodge
Enjoy the Blues Festival at Manley Wine Lodge.
When? Saturday, 25 June, 12pm till 6pm.
Contact: 023 230 0582

‘Santa Jol’
Live entertainment from 6pm till late. Entrance is R30.
When? Saturday, 25 June, 6pm

Schalkenbosch Vineyards
Enjoy some wine tasting at Schalkenbosch which will be open both days of the festival.
When? Friday, 24 and 26 June

This wine farm is just outside of the Tulbagh town centre. Enjoy family fun, food, wine, and entertainment. Adults get to enjoy a cosy fireplace, good wine, delicious food and get to mill around the Christmas food market while enjoying live entertainment. There’s also wine tasting in the cellars and an art exhibition. Kids can enjoy the jumping castle, play football, have their faces painted or take a ride on Santa’s tractor driven sleigh.
On Sunday, 26 June enjoy a long table lunch with limited seats available. Tickets are R120 per person. There’ll be a light classical music concert on the Sunday morning.
When? 25 & 26 June
Contact: 023 004 0435

The Tulbagh Hotel
A Christmas winter menu is available all weekend at this boutique heritage hotel.
When? All weekend
Contact: 023 230 0071

Waverley Hills
Enjoy a Christmas Sunday lunch
When: 26 June, 12pm and 1pm.
Contact: 023 231 0002

Winter concert
A concert showcases Tulbagh’s local talent and the female voices of the Tulbagh Troubadours. There’ll be music performances on the clarinet, pianos and other solos will be performed as well.
Tickest are R100.
When? 26 June, 11;30 at the NG Church.

Vindoux Guest Farm
There’s snow for kids to play in at Vindoux’s kids zone. Adults get to enjoy craft beer, including local brews from Indie Ale, as well as delicious eats and treats.
When? Saturday, 25 June from 9;30 till 5pm and Sunday 26th June from 9;30 till 3pm.
Contact: 023 230 0635