Cape Town - Once again it's that time of year where matrics break loose from the confines of school and celebrate with their fellow ex-prisoners.
Some people have been planning their right of passage since high school started, most eyeing one of the three iconic Matric Rage spots in SA - Umhlanga, Balito and Plettenberg Bay.
SEE: #GapYear: Luxury accommodation on a budget
Accommodation and festival passes for these three are normally booked out already at the start of the year, but not everyone is so organised. Some may even dread the crowds of unruly hormones that gather at these party destinations.
Once the exam-haze has left your brain, the panic and FOMO about where to spend your first week of freedom may start to set in.
Do not fear! Here are 6 spots where you might still be able to squeeze out the last of your youth, and have a lit Matric Vac with your friends before your responsibilities take over.
Use your whale puns in Hermanus
The only place where you can safely use your whale puns to your heart's content, Hermanus has more to offer than a few dots on the horizon. Once upon a time it may have been a sleepy town, but today it's bustling throughout the year and like the big spots has its own Hermanus Vac event, perfect for that Umhlanga FOMO. There are also quite a few pubs and clubs around, from the pool tables of Bojangles to sundowner cocktails at Cocos Island, all close to each other for easy bar-hopping.
And if you're stuck for accommodation in the town, try Kleinmond and Onrus, which are short distances from the main party scene in Hermanus.
SEE: A Whale-spotting wine escape in Hermanus
Take an urban escape to a city you haven't been to before
Never been to a city? Or grew up in one? Do a city-swop and go explore the place and people that you probably always make fun of. Cape Town has got THE mountain, beach bars and Long Street nightlife that's just as good as any all-nighter rage fest, and Joburg is the City of Gold with cosmopolitan flair where a game drive is a stone's throw away. You can also check out the sweet waves of Durban (that's not Umhlanga) or friendly locals of Port Elizabeth who would love to party with you.
Check our SA Insider guides just before you head off to make sure you don't miss out on any events that will make you forget all about your Balito FOMO.
SEE: Johannesburg tops Mastercard destination ranking in Africa
Chill out in Jeffreys Bay
Just wanna chill and hang ten? Jeffreys Bay is the perfect chill destination for wannabe Kelly Slaters, or those looking for lessons from a hot surfer. There's a thriving beach-party life and your Instagram account will overflow with gorgeous sunset shots. It also has a Jbay Rage festival complete with big acts like Francois van Coke, Jack Parow and Sketchy Bongo.
And if Plett Rage FOMO is really hitting you hard, the major jam is just under two hours away for a sneaky day trip. Just don't be knob and drive while plastered.
SEE: St Francis and Jeffreys Bay: 13 Things to make the most of this coastal escape
Hit up the dance floor in Langebaan
Sokkie your way to the hearbeat of the West Coast - Langebaan. Flamingo's is a club stalwart and has been around since 1993, with music pumping for all tastes. The town also boasts upmarket accommodation, big holiday homes you can rent out, a choice of restaurants, two caravan parks, a golf course, tennis courts, a bowling green and a yacht club. It's also famous for its seafood and mussles if you're more interested in food than alcohol.
You can even try out one of the water sport activities on offer, granted the previous night of dancing hasn't left you dousing yourself in Deep Heat.
WATCH: #CapeSecrets: Langebaan like you've never seen it before
Throw your own party at Harties
Not a fan of the beach or the crowds? Take a Sho't Left to Hartbeespoort Dam, a playground of adventure activities. If you want to ride into your adulthood with a bit more adrenaline, you can catch a ride on the Harties Cable Way or get sunburn on a canopy adventure. There's also quadbike adventures and Sun City is quite close by if you want to take a dip at the Valley of the Waves. You can even stay in a houseboat on the dam if you think you can handle being a captain, making you feel like a totally responsible adult.
And if you're a big enough crew, you can hire out a party boat or sunset cruise for an extra-special Matric Vac.
SEE: 3 North West accommodation options you need to try out
Learn to snorkel at iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Take a beat past Balito and you'll hit one of the most beautiful coastal parts of South Africa, shimmering coral reefs in Sodwana Bay and the roaming wildlife at St Lucia's lake. The area has lots of backpackers where you can meet all kinds of people from all over the world, making it the perfect place if you're soloing your Matric Vac or holidaying with one or two best friends. You'll also have a chance to learn to snorkel and dive and have your own party with the fishes.
Just be warned that your parents may even be tempted to join you on this one.
WATCH: How to snorkel in 7 steps
What to read next on Traveller24:
- #AfriTravel: SA and Zimbabwe sign air navigation agreement
- WATCH: Emirates testing zero gravity seats in its new Boeing 777 cabins
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Exploring the Highwayman's Adventure Route