Travel alert: NAF it – get to National Arts Festival (NAF) 2022 in Makhanda, South Africa, June 23 to July 3, 2022

National Arts Festival, Makhanda #NAF2022
 June 23 to July 3, 2022
Where: Live in Makhanda

Accommodation options: Book online via Makana Tourism or the Grahamstown Hospitality Guild and  

There are deals to be found on SafariNow and AirBnB  

Travel to Makhanda:

Fly: Direct flights daily from Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town – into Gqeberha or East London: 1.5 – 2 hours. 
Drive: The drive from Gqeberha to Makhanda is about 120km and about the same from East London  
Bus: According to the NAF’s Facebook page, Greyhound – is currently running fantastic specials – check back with TheCapeRobyn for more on this as we chase up the deal

Follow the National Arts Festival:
Twitter: @artsfestival
Instagram: @nationalartsfestival
TikTok: @nationalartsfestival 
Subscribe to the National Arts Festival newsletter     
Visit for the full programme and bookings  
#NAF2022 #ItWillChangeYou  

Whoohoo – #NAF2022- National Arts Festival is happening live in Makhanda, South Africa from June 23 to July 3, 2022. News flash: TheCapeRobyn will be there as roving chirper, for a portion of the festival, bringing you stories, interviews, reviews on the TheCapeRobyn website; pop-ups on Instagram stories, fun vids on the TheCapeRobyn Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn.

Have I left it too late – can I go now?

#NAF2022 is around the corner (June 23 to July 3, 2022- yeah, soon) and you are sitting there and wondering: “Is there still time to find accommodation, make travel arrangements and make bookings.” The answer: “Yes!” We are living in fluid pandemic times. Everything is happening in the moment. Before the pandemic, choice spots booked up months in advance. That was before and this is now. We are in the now-now phase- which is the now that must be attended to with focus- today – this weekend- first thing, Monday. Mask up and get to #NAF2022.

Warm Makhanda welcome – forget the cold

The people of Makhanda are extending a warm welcome to #NAF2022 visitors. In 2020, there was no action in Makhanda as NAF went online with its virtual festival. The year 2021 was supposed to be a hybrid event, with some live and some online but with the surge of Covid numbers, the festival went online. But, still, many events were staged in venues in Makhanda and then recorded live and live streamed on the NAF’s excellent website (the site works brilliantly). In 2022, albeit with restrictions on seating because of lockdown regulations (which we are flummoxed by as malls and restaurants are full), the live festival is rearing to go.  However, do not forget that because seating is limited, shows are likely to sell out. In pandemic times, sold out is sold out. An extra chair cannot be added into a venue. After you have read this, go and book: Accommodation and transport. Sharing is caring for NAF2022. Nab a lift where you can, rent a sofa; put word out and see if a plan can be made to be included in a party that is already headed for NAF. Share in the costs of petrol of a group and perhaps they will on-board you.

Hold the excuses – you have glamped, shvitzed, now is the time to NAF it

Since hard lockdown ended, we have been chasing sunsets, sunrise, hiking (everyone is a hiker – urgghh). The beach is free. Sunsets and sunrise are free – unless you are partaking of a zush game park or what-what. Okay, so you have gone on the cheap camping and upped the game with glamping and then shvitzing (hot yoga retreat -shvitz is steam or hot in Yiddish). Now is the time to say – “oh –let’s just NAF it”. By the way NAF- National Arts Festival – is in Makhanda. It was formerly known as Grahamstown. Please, don’t say you are off to the ‘Grahamstown Festival’. It is NAF. You have had money to burn for other festivals and that is cool (work out how much that adventure cost with the trailer and porto-loo, ouch). Why not NAF it? Okay we know. It’s cold in Makhanda. Wrap up in three down jackets (or synthetic/ethically sourced vegan options) and you will be fine.

Free stuff at NAF and a lekker vibe

In addition to ticketed shows, there is loads of public art (free) on offer, markets, street art. After two years of lockdown, there is the joy of communing together and we are seeing this at theatres around the country- the thrill of connecting – physically. Get to #NAF2022 and have a lekker time as the arts industry becomes awoke at Africa’s largest arts festival. Being present in Makhanda is not only about attending NAF but it is showing support for the industry; the town and communities in the vicinity. A mammoth supply chain is waiting to revive itself– photographers, suppliers of food, flowers toilet paper, hygiene services, flowers (we need flowers), transport, security, accommodation etc. Sure, many shows may end up in your city, post-NAF, but the opportunity to be in Makhanda and be part of the re-germinating of the seeds of creativity – live – wow. That is something that cannot be replicated. Make a plan to NAF it. Call the tourism entities – in box above- and find a way of getting there and staying in Makhanda.

Packing for #NAF2022: See for updates.

Gnoming it: Gnomes are planting a garden on the traffic island at the end of High Street in Makhanda. A glimpse into 12 Labours, by #SBYA2021 Gavin Krastin, #NAF2022. “This interdisciplinary performance project, comprised of twelve individual performative acts and public community interventions. The project reimagines the toxicity of conventional understandings of ‘heroism’ and ‘masculinity’ through the localising, adapting and queering of the classic Greek tale of The Twelve Labours of Hercules.” No charge to view/interact with 12 Labours, Photo by Gavin Krastin and Alan Parker. Supplied by NAF.