It’s the most wonderful time of the year … the Christmas markets have come to Joburg!
Ho, ho, ho! The countdown to the festive season has finally begun. There are holidays and quality time with family and friends to look forward to, and if that doesn’t make you happy enough, there are Christmas markets galore to bring on the cheer!
Here are five of our favourite Christmas markets in and around Joburg to set the festive mood:
9 November to 16 December: Irene Christmas Market
The Irene Village Market has been a favourite hangout to find delicious eats and beautiful crafts since 1989. The annual Christmas markets held every Saturday over November and December (plus on 16 December on Reconciliation Day), are the market’s crowning glory.
Look forward to more than 100 crafters selling beautiful handmade crafts, perfect for gifts and stocking fillers, as well as an incredible food section of deli delights and delicious meals. Wash it all down with craft beer, accompanied by live music.
Where is it: Irene Village Market, 7 Nelson Road, Olifantsfontein, Pretoria
Dates: 24 and 30 November 2019; 7, 14, 16 December 2019; from 8am to 1.30pm
19 November to 17 December: Moonlight Markets, Bryanston
Every Tuesday evening, from 19 November to 17 December, the Bryanston Organic and Natural Market hosts its annual Moonlight Market. Fairy lights create a magical atmosphere while you browse the stalls for gifts, decorations and, of course, tasty eats.
There will be a children’s theatre, puppet shows and even a magician to entertain the younger ones. You can also enjoy the carols by candlelight and live music. What a fun weekday treat!
Note: There’s a R20 entry fee for the Moonlight Markets, but children under 12 enter for free. Tickets can also be purchased online.
Where is it: 40 Culross Road, Bryanston, Johannesburg
Dates: Every Tuesday evening from 19 November to 17 December; 5pm to 9pm
29 November to 5 January: Garden of Lights
Emperors Palace is known for its yearly celebration of Christmas with an epic light display at the Garden of Lights. Think winter wonderland, but glittering with lights rather than snow!
Wander through the Enchanted Garden, before stopping off at the Mystic Castle and Magic Sweet Shop before heading for the North Pole and peeking into Santa’s Workshop to see elves hard at work making toys. Characters such as Christmas elves, Mr Snowman, an enchanted princess, the Festive Fairy and the Candyman bring the experience to life. Of course, Santa will also be there, ready to be photographed with the young ones!
After your adventure into wonderland, head to the funfair, complete with a ferris wheel, or stock up on snacks at the food market.
Booking is essential. Buy your ticket here.
Where is it: Emperors Palace, 64 Jones Road, Kempton Park, Johannesburg
Dates: Daily from 29 November to 5 January; 7pm to 10pm. The Garden of Lights is weather dependant, so keep an eye on the Emperors Palace Facebook page for updates.
29 to 30 November: Christmas Carols under the stars
It’s time to pull out your hymn book and get your singing voice ready! At Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, Christmas kicks off on 29 November with an evening of carols under the stars, surrounded by beautiful greenery.
The food and craft market will open at 4pm, so you can do some shopping for gifts and eats beforehand. On 30 November, the market will open bright and early at 9am and will remain open until the carols start again at 6pm.
Soloists will include Ansune Havenga, AE van Wyk and Johan Anker, who will perform alongside the I Am Second band.
Where is it: Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, Malcolm Road, Roodepoort, Johannesburg
Dates: 29 November from 4pm to 10pm; 30 November from 9am to 10pm
Top tip: Also taking place at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden will be the Festival of Lights display and market, from 1 December to 5 January. More than 100 lights will flicker in the garden, alongside a food, drinks and craft market. Learn more or book your tickets here.
3 to 8 December: KAMERS/Makers
Everything high-end and artisanal can be found at KAMERS/Makers, the famous market that travels across the country throughout the year. Don’t worry, if you’re not looking to spend big on gifts this Christmas, it’s as much fun just to have a look at the beautiful products. Also, the food is absolutely to die for!
At the final KAMERS/Makers event of the year, more than 200 proudly South African designers, jewellers, and crafters will display their stunning wares, including fashion, ceramics, skincare and much more.
Where is it: Cornwall Hill College, Nellmapius Drive, Irene, Pretoria
Dates: 3 December to 8 December; 9am to 5pm