2017 has only just started, but if you’re in need of a break already, here’s how to make the most of your leave days in 2017 by using South Africa’s public holidays to your advantage.

Human Right’s Day: Tuesday, 21 March

Take leave on Monday, 20 March and get a long weekend of 5 days

The good news is that if you have little ones, Monday 21 March is a school holiday as well, which means that you don’t have to make special arrangements with their school.

This is perfect for a family weekend away, and if you’re based in the Western Cape, here are a few family-friendly getaways to choose from.

Good Friday: 14 April + Family Day: Monday, 17 April

Take leave on Thursday, 13 April and Tuesday, 18 April and get a long weekend of 6 days

A six day break is perfect for a roadtrip through the West Coast, exploring one of South Africa’s most scenic coastal routes. Make sure you have a reliable car though, if you don’t, you’ll be glad to know that car rental Cape Town is cheap and easy to obtain.

Freedom Day: Thursday 27 April + Worker’s Day: Monday, 1 May

Take leave on Wednesday, 26 April, Friday, 28 April and Tuesday, 2 May to get a long weekend of 7 days

An entire week off for just three days leave is a bargain and shouldn’t be wasted. Why not explore the Garden Route? If you need some convincing – here are 20 reasons why you should consider it.

Youth Day: Friday, 16 June

Take leave on Thursday, 15 June and get a long weekend of 4 days

Not the longest break, but since Youth Day falls on a Friday, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of it. Why not gather your loved ones together and go for a short weekend away that won’t cost a fortune? Here are some group getaways under R300 per person.

Women’s Day: Wednesday, 9 August

Take leave on Monday 7 August, Tuesday 8 August, Thursday 10 August as well as Friday 10 August and get the whole week off.

This will take a bit more leave than usual, it’s the ideal time for a bit of a winter holiday. Escape the rain and go on a self-drive 4×4 safari in the Kruger National Park.

August is the dry season in Kruger, and is also one of the best times to see wildlife as the vegetation is minimal during this period. The wildlife will look to congregate around water holes as they seek better resources, making them easier to locate.

Need help planning your Kruger self-drive safari itinerary? Here are some routes worth exploring.

Heritage Day: Sunday, 24 September / Monday, 25 September

Since Monday becomes the roll-over public holiday, take leave on either Friday 22 September or Tuesday 26 September (or both).

With Spring kicking into full swing, there’s no better way to say goodbye to winter than to witness the blossoming of the wild flowers across South Africa. If you’re immune to hay fever, here are some great South African Spring destinations.

Christmas Day: Monday, 25 December

Take leave on Friday, 22 December, Wednesday 27 December, Thursday 28 December as well as Friday 29 December and only return to work on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Get into the festive spirit early by making full use of a Christmas Monday and Boxing Day the following day. It’s a great public holiday cheat for those low on leave days.

With Summer in full swing, it would be a shame not to visit the beach. If you find yourself in need of a vehicle, feel free to have a look at car hire South Africa to find the perfect vehicle to travel with.