Make the most of the South African public holidays in 2018

As you polish off the last of the Christmas pudding and head back to work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle 2018, the last thing you’re thinking about is your next holiday, right? Wrong. If you haven’t yet marked off this year’s public holidays on your calendar, now is the time to do so. And, on the off-chance you haven’t already noticed, if you’re craving a little extra time off this year, you’re in luck!

By planning your leave wisely, you can score yourself a few extra days of holiday around our national public holidays this year. Whether you’re into adventure sports, music festivals, cycle races, arts festivals, gourmet food and wine shows, or simply camping out under the stars – we’ve put together a few events on this year’s calendar that you can look forward to.

public holidays

The months of March and December offer the most opportunity for spreading your wings across the African border. A 10-day trip in March is a perfect way to extend your summer. Why not book a flight to one of our top international destinations, like Amsterdam, Lisbon or Bangkok? Fancy sunning yourself on the beaches of Mauritius? We’ve got great flight specials for that, too!

With December offering you a whopping 20 days off, you’d be silly not to take advantage of a holiday abroad! Start your festive season early in December with cheap flights to Frankfurt and Prague for a white winter wonderland. For a warmer holiday break, discover a world of culture in the sacred temples of Siem Reap (Cambodia) and the jungle forest retreats in Kochi (India).

For more inspiration on international travel spots, see our top picks on where to go each month of the year.

public holidays

If you’d prefer to keep it local, South Africa is brimming with festivities, no matter which city you find yourself in. Whether you’re hoping to rock out to the electro sounds of Jozi or just catch a few waves along the incredible beaches of Cape Town and Durban, take a short getaway and make the most of the public holidays this year. Cape Town bristles with excitement between January and April, with festivals galore. Wine connoisseurs and foodies will be delighted to know there is plenty to explore along the outskirts of the city. Why not go on a weekend road trip and discover some unique wine farms around Cape Town? A road trip up the Garden Route is always a winner, and Knysna, in particular, is jam-packed with activities between May and July, with its Whale Festival in full swing come September.

As they say, the early bird catches the worm, so start planning now!

January

25-28: Up the Creek Music Festival – Swellendam

27: Sun Met Horse Race – Kenilworth, Cape Town

27: Wellington Wine & Food Festival – Waitangi Park, Wellington

February

9: Ultra South Africa – Cape Town Stadium (and at Nasrec in Johannesburg on the 10th)

10: Saggy Stone Music & Beer Festival – Amandalia Farm, Robertson

23-24: Clarens Craft Beer Festival – Clarens, Free State

29 Feb-1 March: Splashy Fen Music Festival – KwaZulu-Natal

March

11: Cape Town Cycle Tour

23-24: Cape Town International Jazz Festival – CTICC

29 March-4 April: Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) – Oudtshoorn

30 March-8 April: The Rand Show – Johannesburg

April

7: April Fools & Fans Beer Festival – Greyton, Western Cape

23-29: AfrikaBurn – Tankwa Karoo National Park, Northern Cape

26 April-1 May: Suidoosterfees Arts Festival – Artscape Theatre Centre, Cape Town

May

18-19: Arts Alive – Johannesburg

24-27: Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival – Knysna

31 May-3 June: Wacky Wine Weekend – Robertson, Western Cape

June

27-30: Inniebos Arts Festival – Nelspruit

28 June-8 July: Grahamstown National Arts Festival – Eastern Cape

30 June-1 July: Knysna Cycle Tour

July

7: Durban July – Greyville Racecourse, Durban

14-15: Franschhoek Bastille Festival – Franschhoek

26-29: Photo & Film Expo – Johannesburg

August

3-5: Slow Food & Wine Festival – Robertson Wine Valley

8-12: Decorex – Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg

10-12: Klein Karoo Klassique Arts Festival – Oudtshoorn

September

21-24: Hogsback Festival of Trees & Eco-Week – Terra-Khaya Backpackers, Hogsback

22-7 : Cape Town Fringe Festival – venues around Cape Town

27-30: White Mountain Festival – Giant’s Castle, KwaZulu-Natal

28-30: Hermanus Whale Festival – Hermanus, Western Cape

October

4-7: OppiKoppi Festival – Limpopo / Rocking the Daisies Music Festival – Darling, Cape Town

13-14: Barrydale in Bloom Open Gardens Safari – Klein Karoo, Western Cape

27-29: Good Food and Wine Show – Durban

November

6-9: Joburg Art Fair – Johannesburg

9-11: FNB Whiskey Live Festival – Johannesburg

24-25: The Port Elizabeth Wine Show – Boardwalk Convention Centre, Port Elizabeth

December

15-16: Beer, Wine & Whiskey Festival – Durban

15-22: Mother City Queer Party (MCQP) – Cape Town

public holidays

Before heading off though, here are a few tips to keep in mind when travelling over long weekends and public holidays:

  1. Be patient – be prepared for long queues, heavy traffic and crowded facilities. Being polite and staying calm goes a long way.
  2. Plan your trip – beat the traffic and leave early or later in the day, if you’re going on a long road trip. It may be wiser to leave a day sooner or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  3. Book in advance – be smart and book hotels, tours, activities and festival tickets at least 1-2 months in advance to avoid disappointment or paying higher rates.
  4. Compare multiple accommodation options to find the best deal – some resorts offer discounted packages if you book ahead of time.
  5. Keep the little ones occupied – pack in plenty of games and activities. Prepare healthy snacks above sweets and fast food to avoid a sugar buzz on your trip. If you’re flying to your destination, read up on our useful tips on flying with children.
  6. Take the paths less travelled – why not skip the crowds and explore some places off the beaten track? If you’re in a theme park or museum, rather start your tour in the opposite direction to everyone else to avoid standing in queues.

Let us know what you plan on getting up to with all these extended public holidays coming up this year!

Image Credit:

mirona_radu via Instagram

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