August 2024 Calendar With Holidays South Africa

School term refresher: How long is the Easter holiday break?

The Easter school holiday has officially kicked off. Here’s a quick refresher course of term dates… and some public holiday hacks.

August  Monthly Calendar with South Africa Holidays
August Monthly Calendar with South Africa Holidays

As schools break for the Easter school holiday on Wednesday, 20 March, parents across the country will be breathing a big sigh of relief after having survived the first term’s back-to-school blues and mad morning rush.

In previous years, schools in coastal provinces operated according to different term dates than inland schools.

August  Calendar South Africa
August Calendar South Africa

Same school term dates for inland and coastal

This will no longer be the case as the Basic Education Department (DBE) has decided that all public schools across the country now start and end their school terms on the same date.

“This year, we have elections. So, we want all schools to open and close together [sic]. This way, schools can be used for voting,” explained DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

Another reason provided by the department for these changes to the calendar, is the crucial need to make up for the teaching losses felt during the Covid-19 pandemic, which severely hampered teaching capacity and learner hours. 

The second term will thus commence on 3 April for all public schools. Here’s why school holidays are shorter in 2024

The 2024 public school calendar kicked off on 17 January and concludes on 11 December, adding up to a total of 203 instructional days – four more than in 2022 and 2023.

School holidays have been shortened in 2024, with the calendar making provision for just 25 days off, compared to 32 days in 2023 and 33 in 2022.

In addition, school holidays have been structured to include most of this year’s public holidays.

“Public holidays that occur during the first or last week of a school term disrupt the academic work of the school,” the department stated when it gazetted major amendments to the National Policy for Determining School Calendars for Public Schools in South Africa. 

2024 School calendar: Gone are the days of ‘cashing in’ on public holidays One of the changes for 2024 is that of incorporating as many public holidays as possible into school holidays. Photo: iStock

Where a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, the Monday before or the Friday after the public holiday must be declared a school holiday.

If a long weekend begins on a public holiday that falls on a Friday, and such a weekend coincides with the beginning of the school holidays, schools must close on the Wednesday and not on the Thursday.

‘Days lost’

Schools will only lose two days to public holidays in 2024 – one day each in term two and three respectively.

This in comparison to the eight days of school pupils “lost” in 2022 and 2023.

2024 term dates for public schools First Term: 17 January – 20 March Second Term: 3 April – 14 June Third Term: 9 July – 20 September Fourth Term: 1 October – 13 December The second term of 2024 kicks in on 3 April for both inland and coastal public schools. Photo: iStock Public holidays hack challenge

South Africa will have 14 public holidays this year. This includes an additional day off to celebrate a public holiday that falls over a weekend, as well as Wednesday, 29 May when this year’s elections take place.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to maximise your 2024 annual leave with long weekends and public holidays.

With some clever planning, it is possible to stretch one’s 15 allocated leave days to miraculously turn into more or less 40 days off.

The trick is to take your time off in strategic batches. Take a look at the 2024 public holiday calendar:

Human Rights Day: 21 March Good Friday: 29 March Family Day: 1 April Freedom Day: 27 April Workers Day: 1 May Youth Day: 16 June Public Holiday: 17 June National Women’s Day: 9 August Heritage Day: 24 September Day of Reconciliation: 16 December Christmas Day: 25 December Day of Goodwill: 26 December

March – April:

If you still have time to put in some leave, a prime chance comes hopping along in April over the Easter period with Easter falling on 29 March (Friday) to 1 April (Monday).

Easter hack: Take Thursday (28 March) off and 2 and 3 April and this will give you seven days off. By taking off just four additional days from 29 April to 3 May, you can stretch the holiday into an indulgent nine-day getaway. 

Alternatively, take off Monday, 25 March to Thursday 28 March OR Tuesday, 2 April to Friday, 5 April to get a blissful 10 days off.

Why not cash in on Easter for a welcome break from the rat race? Photo: iStock

April – May:

With 27 April (Freedom Day), take off Monday, 20 April to Friday 3 May to get nine days off.

June:With Youth Day on Sunday, 16 June, the day will be observed on Monday 17 June.

Take off Tuesday, 18 June to Friday, 21 June to get nine days off.


Women’s Day is on Friday, 9 August.

You’ll get nine consecutive days off (including two weekends) by taking leave from Monday, 5 August to Thursday, 8 August.


September also allows for lengthening a long weekend. Take leave on Monday the 23rd, following Heritage Day, to relish a relaxing five-day break of sunny skies and braais.


The motherload of holiday hacking happens in December.

There are three public holidays on 16, 25 and 26 December. Take leave from the 13th through the 27th, and you’ll be off a whopping 16 straight days thanks to the four consecutive public holidays.

Alternatively, you can get 12 days off by booking off from Friday, 27 December to Friday, 3 January.

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