Nationwide Events in South Africa and South Africa's Public Holidays

South Africans love public holidays; we celebrate our constitution, landmarks in our political history and even a few cultural pastimes (like National Braai Day ... yes, we take a whole day off work to celebrate our braai / BBQ culture, well it's technically Heritage Day, but close enough). See the list below of the public holidays in South Africa as well as nationwide events, which could affect your travel plans. Most tourist attractions, banks and other government services are closed on public holidays, but most grocery stores and shops do open (though some for limited hours).

We also suggest you check our regional events sections to see if any festivals or events are taking place at destinations you are intending to visit, as large festivals may hamper your travel plans (roads may be closed, etc) or improve them (why not join the festivities, rather than sitting in traffic?).

Public Holidays

Day of Reconciliation

When? 16 December 2019
During the earlier part of the 19th century, many Afrikaner farmers left the eastern cape and moved inland. Among them was the Voortrekkers, a group of Afrikaners ...

Public Holidays

Christmas Day

When? 25 December 2019
Christmas Day is celebrated in South Africa as in most countries around the globe. Many South African families uphold European traditions, even though we are in ...

Public Holidays

Day of Goodwill

When? 26 December 2019
In South Africa, the day after Christmas Day, 26 December, every year is designated the Day of Goodwill. It is set aside so that South Africans may continue the ...

Public Holidays

New Year's Day

When? 1 January 2020
South Africans love a good ‘jol’ (the informal Afrikaans term for a party), and New Year’s Day invariably presents the perfect opportunity to let loose and ...

Public Holidays

Human Rights Day

When? 21 March 2020
The Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. The Constitution further provides for the establishment of the ...

Public Holidays

Good Friday

When? 10 April 2020
Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday). Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the Friday preceding Easter Sunday ("Pascha"). It ...

Public Holidays

Family Day

When? 13 April 2020
Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday). In South Africa, Easter Monday was renamed Family Day in 1995. Family Day follows on the Monday after Good Friday making ...

Public Holidays

Freedom Day

When? 27 April 2020
Freedom Day is the commemoration of the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. These were the first post-apartheid national elections to ...

Public Holidays

Workers Day

When? 1 May 2020
'Working together to create jobs and fight poverty' The African National Congress salutes the workers of South Africa on the occasion of Workers' Day on 1 May, ...

Public Holidays

Youth Day

When? 16 June 2020
Youth Day - 16 June - was previously known as Soweto Day. In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the previous Bantu Education ...

Annual Festivals / Charity Events

Mandela Day

When? 18 July 2020
Every year on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the 18th July, South Africans are called to contribute 67 minutes of community service. The campaign is designed to honour ...

Public Holidays

National Women's Day

When? 9 August 2020
This day commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participating in a national march petitioned against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a ...

Public Holidays

Heritage Day

When? 24 September 2020
Heritage Day is one of South Africa's newly created public holidays and its significance rests in recognising aspects of South African culture which are both ...

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