Home Education Children's Education School holidays in South Africa
Last update on July 27, 2020

Here is a list of school holidays in South Africa in 2020 and 2021 to help you make holiday plans or childcare arrangements if you have kids in South African schools.

You’ll need to know when the school holidays in South Africa are if you’re a parent who lives and works in the country. Luckily all schools in South Africa have the same holiday dates and they all close on national public holidays, which makes school holiday planning a bit easier in all regions.

School holidays in South Africa

The South African school year runs from January to December. There are four school holidays in South Africa: a two-week break in March/April, a three-week holiday in June/July, a one-week break in September/October, and a longer holiday of around five to six weeks in December/January. Schools also close on public holidays. There are also other additional days off every school year. This means that there are around 200 days in the South African school year.

Privately-run international schools in South Africa may have slightly different holiday dates from state schools so it is advisable to check the annual calendar with your child’s school if they are privately educated.

Families typically use school holidays in South Africa as a time to get together to celebrate occasions such as Christmas, take family vacations or go on day trips, or plan fun activities for kids. Some of the annual South African festivals may also fall within school holiday periods.

South African school holiday dates 2020

  • First term break: 23–30 March 2020
  • Second term break: 15 June – 6 July 2020
  • Third term break: 21–28 September 2020
  • Fourth term break: 3 December 2020 – 12 January 2021

South African school holiday dates 2021

  • First term break: 26 March – 12 April 2021
  • Second term break: 25 June – 19 July 2021
  • Third term break: 1–11 October 2021
  • Fourth term break: 8 December 2021 – 12 January 2022

Additional holidays and days off

South Africa has 12 annual public holidays, some of which fall during school term time. These days are extra school holidays in South Africa. If public holiday dates fall on a Sunday, schools usually close on the Monday. Sometimes, schools will also close if a public holiday falls on a Tuesday to make a long weekend. This happened in 2019, with an extra holiday given on 23 September (the day before Heritage Day).

Schools may also close for reasons such as teacher training or pupil book days. These will vary between individual schools, however; it’s important to check with your child’s school so that you know in advance when these will be. Many South African schools, such as the British International College and the International School of Cape Town, publish calendars on their websites so this is a good place to check for information.

Childcare during school holidays in South Africa

If you are a working parent during school holidays in South Africa, you may need to make childcare arrangements during working hours. There are various childcare organizations that run holiday activities for kids. Costs, availability and types of activities on offer vary from one provider to the next. You can check with your child’s school or local municipality for details of what is on offer in your area. You can also search for local holiday programs and other childcare options on sites such as Rainbow Kids and Parent 24. If you’re interested in sending your child to a fun holiday camp to stop them from getting bored during the holidays, the Busy Moms website has information on activities in each province.

For information on other childcare options such as au pairs and childminders, as well as information on government childcare subsidies, see our guide to childcare options in South Africa.