What are semesters? When are the holidays for a university and student? And how long are the holidays?
The university year is divided into two semesters which are the equivalent of school terms. Each semester is then further divided so that the holidays split the university time into quarters. The timing and length of holidays for different universities may vary especially according to protest. Nevertheless, there is generally a similar pattern for each quarter as seen below:
1st quarter: Mid February - End of March
1st vacation - Usually in April for about 1 week around April
2nd quarter - Mid April - Mid June (*Note: Mid-year exams are usually written in the last 3 weeks of 2nd quarter)
Mid-Year vacation- Mid-June -Mid-July
3rd quarter: Mid-July - Early September
Mid-Term vacation - Usually in September for about 1 week
4th quarter: Mid September - End of November (*Note: Final exams are usually written in last 3 weeks of this 4th quarter)
End of year vacation: December - January
Again, to emphasize, that the exact timing of the holidays may fluctuate and will also depend on your exam timetable which the university will probably only give to you nearer to exams.
Here is are links to the UCT and Wits 2018 calendars to get a better sense: