Bemoan your lack of leave days no longer. Savvy travellers can 'hack' the public holiday calendar and benefit from more holiday days for fewer leave days!
The Flight Centre team shares their top picks for each public holiday of the year.
March: Human Rights Day
Make the most of your four-day break and keep it local with a trip to cute and cosy Clarens.
Clarens makes for a fantastic weekend break just three-and-a-half hours from Johannesburg by car.
Although it's a year-round destination, Autumn is a beautiful time to visit. It's slightly cooler, which is ideal for hiking and horse riding, especially in the Golden Gate National Park, which is right on the doorstep of Clarens. Explore the town with its quaint shops and restaurants, and of course, the renowned Clarens Brewery, one of the country's first Brew-Pub, Cidery and Distilleries, is a must-do.
If you're dreaming of swaying palm trees and a touch of the exotic, take a few more days leave and hop over to Zanzibar. In just a few hours, you could be exploring the spice-scented streets of UNESCO-listed Stone Town or lounging poolside at one of the island's many premium resorts. Zanzibar's rich history, fascinating architecture, dhow cruises and spice farms are worth exploring, provided you can prise yourself out of your lounger.
April & May: Easter, Freedom and Worker's Day
Savvy planners can take eight days of leave in April and May and get a whopper 18-day long holiday.
"Locally, Cape Town is a fantastic choice for April," shared Sue Garrett, General Manager Supply, Pricing and Marketing at the Flight Centre Travel Group. "The weather is temperate, the beaches and Winelands are less crowded, and there is a bumper events calendar filled with plenty of outdoor experiences and ample space to roam free."
A family favourite is the Galileo Open Air Cinema, which screens outdoor movies at some of the city's most spectacular sites, such as the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Movies are showing until 24 April only so be sure to book early.
Eager to spread your wings and fly? More and more of Europe is opening up to South Africa. April is very much the 'off-season' in the Northern hemisphere, so you can benefit from fewer crowds and better prices. Provided you don't mind a few gloomy skies (part and parcel of the European experience we like to think!), take a good coat and enjoy an April break getting your culture fix in Europe. Book asap to benefit from the best prices and availability.
Read more: The countries open to South Africans
June: Youth Day
Take advantage of Youth Day on 16 June and book your winter escape around this time. If you're travelling with the little ones in tow, the school holidays are set for 24 June to 19 July so factor those dates into your calendar as well. While they don't couple together as nicely as we would have wished with Youth Day, put your leave in early and treat your family to a dreamy island break.
Escape the winter chills and head off to every South Africa's favourite island, Mauritius. Sadly, you may have had to put your Mauritius holiday on hold over December, but now you have ample time to make up for it.
A four-hour flight from Johannesburg and visa-free, you could be sunning yourself on the beach in no time at all.
Choose an all-inclusive package covering flights, accommodation, transfers, breakfast and all meals and drinks. Look out for other offers available at select resorts such as kids under six stay free when sharing their parents' room, kids club, etc.
Or perhaps Europe in June? It is the beginning summer in most parts of the continent, cities start to come to life and the beaches are warm again.
August: National Women's Day
Why not treat the ladies in your life to the ultimate shopping getaway? Turkey has just opened to South African travellers (ask your Flight Centre Expert for details) and makes for the ultimate girlie getaway for National Women's Day.
Shop 'till you drop, browsing for trendy towels and glass lamps in Istanbul, or snap up Berber rugs, fringed cushions, slippers and spices in the souks of Marrakesh, Morocco. There are ample activities to entertain the whole family too. Turkey is a rand friendly option for South Africans with everything from culture and sunny beaches to delicious food and that touch of the exotic to make it feel genuinely different from anything you've experienced before.
September: Heritage Day
Keep it local for Heritage Day. Fire up the braai – even if there is a lingering chill in the air in parts of the country – and celebrate the best of being South African!
The perfect road trip destination from Durban or Jo'burg, and just a two-hour flight from Cape Town for a fly-stay-drive package, the Midlands in spring is particularly atmospheric.
Arts and crafts and good wining and dining are the order of the day here. Family-friendly activities in the Midlands include the Karkloof Canopy Tour, Ardmore Ceramics and the Mandela Capture Site.
If you'd like to stay in the Drakensberg, the Alpine Heath Resort is a family-friendly favourite. Six-person chalets with self-catering facilities are perfect for families, and you won't be bored with horse riding, hiking to a nearby waterfall and many on-site facilities available.
After a year of stop and start travel, make 2022 the year of ticking off your travel dreams. Dream big!
"Christmas near the beach is great, but nothing compares to the magic of Europe's winter markets filled with the spicy scents of Glühwein, gingerbread and steamy bratwurst to really get you into the festive spirit," says Sue. "Think fluffy festive hats, Christmas lights and falling snow as you explore the winter markets of Nuremberg and Dresden."
And if you're more of a sun-seeker, how about a holiday to Thailand, every South African's favourite holiday? A Thai break presents everything we love most about holidays: easy, effortless fun with ample sun, swimming, shopping and great food – cooked by someone else!
Flight Centre Expert Tip: With all these options, make sure to book as early as possible. These destinations can get booked up quickly, especially if many other South Africans have the same fantastic idea as you. With flexible booking options, you can book early with peace of mind.