Local travel is booming right now and the best way to take advantage of the incredible holiday packages and deals up for grabs is to plan your 2021 getaways well in advance.
The Garden Route is a favourite with local travellers for a reason. Think wildlife, views and wide-open spaces. We take a quick look at South Africa’s long weekends and public holidays, so you can make the most of leave days, mini-breaks and school holidays by venturing up (or down) the Garden Route for a well-deserved break!
Sunday, 21 March – Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means the following Monday (the 22nd) is automatically a holiday. Consider applying for an extra day’s leave on Friday, the 19th 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 one and a half hour and three hour-long rides that take you through indigenous forests, along mountain trails and beside crashing waterfalls. The weather should still be just warm enough to jump in for a swim!
Friday, 2 April – Good Friday
Monday, 5 April – Family Day
The Garden Route is celebrated for its seemingly endless list of family-friendly activities, making it a top destination choice during the Easter holidays.
TOP ACTIVITY: Fancourt’s legendary Easter programme
Easter is all about family at Fancourt, and the estate has once again put an exciting Easter programme in place for its guests during this special time of the 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,” says Peter Dros, Sales & Marketing Director of Fancourt. “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.”
Even better? Fancourt’s “Discover Family Moments” special means that if you book, pay and stay before April 15, 2021 then kids under 16 stay free!
Wednesday, 16 June – Youth Day
Youth Day is taking place mid-week this year, giving you the chance to request leave on Thursday, the 17th and Friday, the 18th for a 5-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 (Dragon Dune anyone?); 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 wile away rainy days in their private library, enjoy couples’ spa treatments, or tea and cake in a quiet nook. Throw in evening canapes and a winter stay on the Garden Route doesn’t get more romantic than this!
Monday, 9 August – National Women’s Day
Celebrate the special ladies in your life – or yourself – this Women’s Day on the Garden Route. Since the public holiday falls on a Monday, you can request Tuesday, the 10th of August 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? While it is indeed one of the youngest wine regions in South Africa, it still promises a diverse selection of wonderful wine, and lots of breath-taking scenery, including the towering Tsitsikamma Mountains. Be sure to sample a glass of Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) – the region’s specialty.
Friday, 24 September – Heritage Day
Take Monday, the 27th of September off from work in addition to Heritage Day on Friday, the 24th and you’ll have a 4-day long weekend at your disposal when spring is in full swing.
TOP ACTIVITY: Strawberry picking at Redberry Farm
Strawberry picking is a fantastic, family-friendly springtime endeavour. Purchase a container at the farm stall and take your time strolling through the flourishing fields in search of red, ripe, ready-to-eat berries to tuck into back at your accommodation. The farm is also home to a quaint tea garden, a pizzeria, deli, and a coffee bar. You’ll have the chance to sample a selection of wines and craft beer inside the Houtbosch tasting room, too.
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 the Day of Reconciliation.
TOP ACTIVITY: Christmas Markets and carols by candlelight
Summer’s long lazy days and warm evenings lend themselves to Christmas gift markets, farmer’s markets, craft beer, local food and festivities! Spend some on the Garden Route and put the Outeniqua Farmer’s Market, Milkwood Evening Market and Carols by Candlelight in the very special Garden Route Botanical Garden at the top of your list!