Calendar of Public Holidays in South Africa
South Africa is truly an amazing country. Known as “the rainbow nation”, it is a multi-ethnic and multicultural society with one of the most diversified cultures and languages in the world. There are 11 official languages recognized in the constitution of SA. No other country in the world has that many official languages.
The country also has multiple capitals. There are three official capital cities in South Africa: Pretoria (the Executive Capital), Cape Town (the Legislative Capital) and Bloemfontein (the judicial Capital). Interestingly, despite the country’s status as a democratic republic, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has a monarchy, specially provided for by the Constitution.
Among other interest things the country is famous for the oldest meteor scar in the world – the Vredefort Dome in a town called Parys (the site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the best fossils of early dinosaurs, found in the Karoo region, Table Mountain in Cape Town, which is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world, the world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world – The Palace of the Lost City, and the highest commercial bungi jump in the world at 710 feet.
Being a country rich with diversity in everything, South Africa has no shortage of Holidays and Festivals, celebrated all across the calendar year. Here’s a list of all Public Holidays and the most interesting Festivals in South Africa.
List of National Public holidays of South Africa for 2021-2022 year
Sunday 9 May
- Mother’s Day
(Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bonaire, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Dem. Rep., Congo, Rep., Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Gabon, Gambia, Greenland, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
Sunday 20 June
- Father's Day
(Ńelebrated on the third Sunday of June řň Argentina, Aruba, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Kenya, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Venezuela, United Kingdom)
14 Best Festivals In South Africa
1.The National Arts Festival
Held in June or July in Grahamstown, this event is one of the greatest gatherings of artists from all over the world. You will get to see some of the most incredible art pieces here.
2. Cape Town Jazz Festival
Organized annually in March, the Cape Town Jazz Festival is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in South Africa. It is the fourth largest jazz festival in the world and musicians from all over the world come together to bring the best of this genre of music.
3. Oppikoppi Bushveld Music Festival
There is another music festival in South Africa that needs no introduction. Started off as a rock music event, Oppikoppi Bushveld Music Festival has slowly graduated to a variety of genres being played over a couple of days. It is held in August in Limpopo Province.
4. Knysna Oyster Festival
Often termed as the ‘Best 10 Days of Your Winter’, the Knysna Oyster Festival is one of the best outdoor family and community events of South Africa. The two most popular events of this event are Pick n Pay Cape Times Forest Marathon and the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Cycle Tour. The Festival is celebrated in June or July in Knysna.
5. Splashy Fen Music Festival
Of all the events of the list of music festivals in South Africa, Splashy Fen Music Festival is the longest one. With artists performing on the stage, the event also includes a number of other things like craft stalls, food carts, and other events for children too. The event takes place in April in Underberg.
6. Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees
The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK), held in March in Oudtshoorn, is one of the famous art festivals in South Africa. While this tradition began in the year 1994, it has grown exponentially to become nothing less than a movement. Visual and performing arts of South Africa are celebrated here.
7. Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
Held in January, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, also known as Kaapse Klopse, is amongst the top 10 festivals in South Africa. More than 10,000 minstrels come down to the streets for celebration, and put on a beautiful sight with costumes, umbrellas, a variety of musical instruments, and of course, traditional songs.
8. Ficksburg Cherry Festival
The Ficksburg Cherry Festival is renowned for being the oldest crop festival in South Africa. Apart from cherry product competitions, this event also organises cherry tours, marathons, exhibitions, and more. Stalls of food and beverages, along with games are also available. It is organized in November in Ficksburg.
9. South African Cheese Festival
Held in April in Stellenbosch, the South African Cheese Festival is one of the top events in South Africa. It is the best opportunity presented to culinary experts to showcase their talents. Celebrity chefs as well as beginners are part of this celebration of food. The only main thing is that the star of the show is cheese!
10. Hermanus Whale Festival
One of the first and probably the only eco-marine festival of South Africa, the Hermanus Whale Festival celebrates the ocean and its majestic habitants. The event takes place in September, which is the best time to go whale watching, with the famous Southern Right Whales putting up quite a show.
11. Prince Albert Olive Festival
Out of all the culinary festivals celebrated in South Africa, Prince Albert Olive Festival is a shade more special. Paying homage to the wonderful produce of the valleys of Swartberg Mountain Range, this fest is a competition amongst the locals on who has the best food stall!
The event is celebrated in April or May in Karoo town.
12. Robertson Wacky Wine Weekend
The Robertson Wacky Wine Weekend, that take place in June in Robertson, is the best of the wine festivals in South Africa. Just as it sounds, it is one of the most happening and fun events to be a part of. Not only are the exquisite wines celebrated here, but couple that with multi cuisine delicacies, and you are in for a treat!
13. Royal Reed Dance
Also known as Umkhosi Mhlanga, the Royal Reed Dance is performed by girls from all over the country. Since it is a royal dance, there are some rules. While some of the customs have recently been changed, it is the attire and the traditional dance which is beautiful to say the least! The Festival is celebrated in September in Nongoma.
14. Arts Alive Festival
Another one of the major festivals in South Africa is the Arts Alive Festival. A blend of the best of art, craft, dance, music, and theatre, this 4-day festival is only just a glimpse of the treasure of art that the country carries. The Festival is held in September in Johannesburg.
15. Jacaranda Festival
Due to its copious number of jacaranda trees, Pretoria is often referred to by South Africans as Jacaranda City. In late spring when the trees are in bloom, the area takes on a purplish hue. October’s Jacaranda Festival honors the native symbol with family entertainment and a special market.