It’s going to be a busy April in and around Cape Town, with loads of events and experiences to keep you occupied. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights to make it easier for you to plan. Whether you want to get your geek on at the Mother City’s answer to Comic Con or you have a hankering for cheese, wine and biltong, we’ve got you covered. Enjoy a unique dinner and theatre experience in the townships with Coffeebeans Routes, limber up and do a little headbanging at Witchfest, or discover contemporary art at the Castle of Good Hope – or go big, and do it all!

The Castle of Good Hope.

Cheese Festival

Whether you’re a camembert devotee, a gruyere aficionado, or if you like thick chunks of cheddar between warm slices of oven-fresh bread – you’ll find yourself in heaven at the South African Cheese Festival at Sandringham from 28th to 30th April. The popular festival showcases cheese, wine, preserves and fresh fruits from across the country. Get inspired with cooking demos by top South African chefs, and buy everything you need to prepare cheesy masterpieces in your own kitchen. There will also be live entertainment and activities for children and teens on both days. Tickets won’t be available at the gates, so book online.

Sample a world of cheeses at the South African Cheese Festival at Sandringham.

Grid Cape Town Biennial

With a special focus on the contemporary image culture of Africa, the GRID Cape Town Biennial will be held at the Castle of Good Hope from 15th April until 25th June. This year’s theme is Transforming Identities – Exploring the Traces of the Future. The main exhibition will create a platform for photographers, curators, creatives, educational projects and the public to explore the latest developments in society and visual art, including the impact of social media and technology. Organised six times previously in the Netherlands, the biennial has seen around 50 countries participate.

Explore contemporary culture at the Castle of Good Hope.

Pinotage and Biltong Festival

Many South Africans love it, and most visitors are won over with the first bite: biltong. The dried, cured meat is especially delicious when paired with a good glass of red, and the perfect place to enjoy them both is at the Biltong and Pinotage Festival at L’Avenir Wine Estate near Stellenbosch on 16th and 17th April. Presented by Joubert & Monty Famous Biltong, the fest will see a wide variety of biltong-related products and wines from 18 wineries available for sampling and buying. Make a day of it and enjoy live music as you relax under the trees on the lawns.

Tuck into some tasty cured meats at the Biltong and Pinotage Festival.

FanCon

Whether you’re Team Batman or Superman, or you prefer your heroes with a bit more Amazonian flair, you’ll find something to appeal to your inner geek at this year’s bigger and better FanCon at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 29th April to 1st May. With an array of local and international guests, comic book artists, crafters and panels, FanCon is an event for people from all fandoms to meet up and have fun. Cosplayers have been working on their costumes for months and will be putting the finishing touches on them moments before the competitions, so be prepared to be amazed by the skill and dedication.

Cosplay is a big part of FanCon, so look out for your favourite characters.

Tutu goes large

As the city celebrated Human Rights Day on 21st March, the likeness of another icon was taking his rightful place alongside Madiba on the facade of the towering Civic Centre. Created by artist Linsey Levendal, the artwork of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu now also greets those arriving into the CBD and keeps a watchful eye on the city. Levendal’s latest piece reflects Tutu’s spirit and his life’s work. Look closely and you’ll find the beaming face of Leah Tutu, the colours of this Rainbow Nation, a baobab tree which represents his foundation, a laughing child, an Aids ribbon and a pair of hands representing the spirit of Ubuntu.

Linsey Levendal’s artworks of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela on the facade of the Civic Centre.

Witchfest

The metal scene in Cape Town is going from strength to strength, largely down to a loyal fan base and events like Witchdoctor Productions’ Witchfest. The next epic installment will be at The Shred in Paarden Eiland on 15th April. The line-up features Californian heavy metal outfit DevilDriver, German sludge metal duo Mantar, and Cape Town’s own Zombies Ate My Girlfriend. Joining them on stage will be DevilSpeak, Theatre Runs Red, Boargazm, Vulvodynia, Bleeding Spawn, Infanteria, Imperial Destruction, Peasant and Megalodon. There’ll be food stalls and various vendors to keep you going for the full 12 hours of ground shaking metal.

DevilDriver will perform at Witchfest on 15th April. Image copyright Dan Santoni.

Theatre in the Backyard

Venture out of the city and away from the typical tourist attractions and get a taste for what life in the townships is like with Theatre in the Backyard. Coffeebeans Routes has joined forces with director Mhlanguli George to stage 30-minute plays in backyards in Cape Town townships. Space is limited in these areas and most backyards have other families setting up temporary wooden and corrugated iron houses in them. Mhlanguli’s plays tell the stories of the people who live in places like this. After the show, move inside to enjoy a traditional isiXhosa meal together with your hosts, the director and actors.

Theatre in the Backyard offers a unique experience. Image copyright Christopher Clark.