Here’s a look at South Africa’s long weekends and public holidays for 2021, along with how you can make the most of the calendar for the ultimate travel getaways.
The pandemic has meant that many establishments are continuing to offer attractive rates and packages for the rest of the year. Why not choose from these Garden Route options for a well-deserved break?
Travel getaways in autumn
Sunday 21 March – Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day falls on a Sunday, which means Monday the 22nd is automatically a holiday. Consider applying for an extra day’s leave on Friday the 19nd or Tuesday the 23rd – or possibly both – to indulge in an extended weekend.
TOP ACTIVITY: Horse riding in Hoekwil (Wilderness)
Enjoy the milder autumn weather by trotting on horseback to take in the beauty of the season. The Black Horse Trails company offers a choice between 1½-hour and three hour-long rides that take you through indigenous forests, and along mountain trails and crashing waterfalls. It should still be just warm enough to jump in for a swim.
Friday to Monday 2 to 5 April – Easter weekend
The Garden Route is known for its seemingly endless family-friendly activities, making it a great destination choice for the Easter holidays.
TOP ACTIVITY: Fancourt’s legendary Easter programme
Easter is all about family at Fancourt and the estate has again put an exciting Easter programme in place for guests during this special time of year.
“From heart glitter art and limbo to an exciting egg hunt on Easter Sunday, it won’t just be the copious amounts of chocolate that the little ones can look forward to,” Fancourt sales and marketing director Peter Dros said.
“Our Kidz Club has plenty in store for the kids, so mom and dad can relax next the pool, escape to the spa or enjoy a game of golf.”
Fancourt’s “Discover Family Moments” special means that if you book, pay and stay before 15 April, kids under 16 stay for free.
Travel getaways in winter
Wednesday 16 June – Youth Day
Youth Day is taking place mid-week in 2021, giving you the chance to request leave on Thursday the 17th and Friday the 18th for a five-day long weekend.
TOP ACTIVITY: Long walks and indoor spoils
Winter is a wonderful time of year on the Garden Route. Usually mild and windless, you can enjoy walks on the beach; fantastic hiking trails in Wilderness, Knysna, Tsitsikamma and along the Robberg Peninsula; adventurous excursions like ziplining or sandboarding; or wine tasting along the region’s award-winning wine route.
Of course, there’ll be a few stormy days – perfect for cosy lie-ins, fireplaces, high teas and indoor spoils. Book a stay at The Manor House at Fancourt and spend rainy days in their private library; enjoy couples’ spa treatments or savour tea and cake in a quiet nook.
Throw in evening canapes and a winter stay on the Garden Route doesn’t get more romantic.
Monday 9 August – National Women’s Day
Celebrate the special women in your life – or yourself – on the Garden Route this Women’s Day. Since the public holiday falls on a Monday, you can request Tuesday the 10th off (and possibly the 11th too) and savour a well-deserved long weekend.
TOP ACTIVITY: Wine tasting in Plettenberg Bay
How about some indulgent wine tasting in the Plettenberg Bay wine region? It is one of the youngest wine regions in South Africa but promises a diverse selection of wonderful wine.
Don’t forget breathtaking scenery, including the towering Tsitsikamma Mountains. Be sure to sample a glass of Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) – the region’s speciality.
Garden Route getaways in spring
Friday 24 September – Heritage Day
Take Monday 27 September off from work in addition to Heritage Day on Friday the 24th and you’ll have a four-day long weekend at your disposal when spring is in full swing.
TOP ACTIVITY: Strawberry picking at Redberry Farm
Strawberry picking is a family-friendly springtime pursuit. Buy a container at the farm stall and stroll through the flourishing fields in search of ready-to-eat berries to tuck into back at your accommodation.
The farm is also home to a quaint tea garden, pizzeria, deli and coffee bar. You’ll have the chance to sample a selection of wines and craft beer in the Houtbosch tasting room too.
Travel getaways in summer
Thursday 16 December – Day of Reconciliation
Take a break just before Christmas comes and put in for leave on Friday the 17th to make a long weekend of Reconciliation Day.
TOP ACTIVITY: Christmas Markets and carols by candlelight
Summer’s long, lazy days and warm evenings lend themselves to Christmas gift markets, famers’ markets, craft beer, local food and festivities. The Wild Oats market, Outeniqua Farmer’s Market and Milkwood Evening Market are a few options. And Carols by Candlelight in the very special Garden Route Botanical Garden should be top of your list!
Visit Garden Route Info for a breakdown on the various routes and areas making up the Garden Route as a whole.