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01 Nov 2014 | By Sun International

November Picks: Ficksburg Cherry Festival

It’s always at this time of the year that it feels like everyone is just waiting (not-so-patiently) for December to arrive, bringing the holidays along. Time drags slowly and it feels like December will never come. The best way to deal with your vacation yearning is to distract yourself. Here’s something to look forward to in November: South Africa’s only Cherry Festival.

The fabled Kingdom in the Sky is not only jam-packed with awesome activities and adventures, it is also conveniently close to a certain town that celebrates the star of every fruit salad.

The Ficksburg Cherry Festival

Famous for being the cherry capital of the world, it is only natural that Ficksburg is home to the tastiest festival in South Africa, running in 2014 from Thursday 20 November until Saturday 22 November. Attracting 30 000 visitors, the Ficksburg Cherry Festival is a lip-smacking weekend to remember featuring:

  • Loads of stalls
  • All things cherry including: cherry tours, workshops, competitions and products (lookout for the cherry moonshine!)
  • Golf and sporting events
  • Live music
  • Equestrian exhibitions
  • Tons of children’s activities

Did you know? The Ficksburg Cherry Festival is the oldest crop festival in South Africa, and 2014 is its 47th anniversary.

But before we get too excited, let’s just point out the cherry-coloured elephant in the room: where exactly is Ficksburg and why are we talking about booking accommodation in Lesotho?

  • Ficksburg, often known as “The Gateway to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho” is found at the foot of the towering Imperani Mountain surrounded by the Caledon River.
  • Situated in the Eastern Free State, Ficksburg is only a 1hour drive away from Maseru Sun and Lesotho Sun. Basically, by staying in Lesotho you’re getting the best of both worlds!
  • Driving from Joburg you can be in Ficksburg in under 4 hours.

Now that we’re on the same page (and we’re thinking about the same country), here’s your essential guide to your Lesotho getaway starring the Ficksburg Cherry Festival:

Gates open bright and early at 8am on Thursday 20 November. For directions, click here.

  1. A day pass to the festival will cost R40, while kids pay R70 for a 3 day pass and adults pay R120. To pre-book tickets, click here.
  2. Tours running throughout the festival can be booked by clicking here. Our pick? The tour is of the Ben Nevis Cherry Farm.
  3. As much as everyone loves marvelling at the ingenuity displayed at the festival’s Cherry Pip Spitting Competition, while staying in Lesotho, don’t forget to check out some of the Mountain Kingdom’s top attractions. From the highest pub in Africa to hiking and mountain biking, explore the magic of Lesotho!
  4. While you’re enjoying the festivities of Ficksburg, don’t forget to buy some cherry treats to take home. From cherry cheesecake to cherry liqueur, don’t worry about bringing cash – there are ATM facilities at the festival.
  5. Come prepared! To see the full programme, click here.

To sweeten your experience, both the Maseru Sun and Lesotho Sun offer special accommodation packages for festival-goers. Enjoy a special stay with a great that includes a complimentary breakfast and a daily cocktail.

What are you waiting for? With the Cherry Festival just around the corner, forget the countdown until December and get excited about the cherries in Ficksburg and adventure in Lesotho in November!

Tell us: which is the most unusual festival you’ve been to in South Africa?