Now in it’s third year, the Durban Botanic Gardens Trail of Lights has become a must-do on the city’s festive season calendar.
With the gardens festooned with millions of lights, nightly entertainment and the opportunity to give back to a host of worthwhile charities, this year’s trail has all the right feels to be bigger and brighter than ever.
The Trail of Lights will open on 12 December with a VIP preview night where only 1000 tickets are available. “There will be special performances and displays for visitors to enjoy on this evening,” says event organiser, Alene Naidoo.
Since inception, the Trail of Lights has featured a strong charity element. This year sees a stellar line-up of organisations working for good including: Trulife, The Guide Dogs Association South Africa, Feeding the Furballs, Action against Abuse, Stray Cat Carers, The Legion South Africa and SAAMBR. Some charities will engage directly with the public through onsite activations while others will benefit from funds raised through vendors. For the first time Reach for a Dream will host two families at the event.
Nevon Singh from Magic Lighting promises visitors a completely different lighting experience which will tickle everyone’s fancy. Themed areas will include an African village, the garden of stars, a mini Jurassic park, pathways of romance, a butterfly sanctuary, a magic lighting digital experience, a crazy large 2019 motif and a kids’ themed display.
Festive market and food garden
Situated near the lake, the food garden will feature 30 vendors offering a wide range of food including Cuban, Mexican, Thai, South African, vegetarian food and treats for the sweet-toothed. Some vendors will be under the trees creating a ‘food in the forest’ effect and visitors are encouraged to bring their picnic blankets along. The festive market is a new experience for the Trail of Lights offering visitors the chance to do some last-minute gift shopping without the mall hype.
This year’s entertainment will feature various students from Glenwood’s Rock Academy and CODA in the Bluff. They will perform alongside the band with feature spots on different nights to showcase the young stars. Daniel Sheldon from Beat-Route says: “A lot of our equipment has been sponsored by Sycamore Gear which has made it possible for us to extend our stage presence. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”
The Durban Botanic Gardens with their unique ambiance and stately well-established trees, provide the perfect backdrop for the Trail of Lights, where a percentage of the proceeds go towards helping develop and maintain this important city asset. Curator, Martin Clements says: “The Trail of Lights has proved to be an iconic attraction for our city, not only for tourism but in helping to promote a greater sense of community and spirit of giving back. The community-directed ethos is a vital part of what makes it so special.”
About the 2019 Durban Botanic Trail of Lights
The Trail of Lights takes place from 12 to 30 December 2019, excluding Christmas Day. A VIP preview evening will take place on 12 December. Visitors can look forward to nightly entertainment, kids holiday activities, charity activations, new displays, a food garden and a longer trail. Also new to the event is the Festive Market showcasing local and authentic gifting and décor.
Early bird tickets are available from www.webtickets.co.za or Pick ‘n Pay for R50 per person from 1 October to 30 November. From 1 December tickets will cost R65 per person. There are limited tickets for R80 per person available at the door. VIP Preview Evening tickets for 12 December are R120 per person. Children under two go free.