Yes, flying is quick and easy but most of the magic of exploring a country like South Africa can be experienced by travelling by car.
When you couple breathtaking scenery with a well maintained road network South Africa is an ideal road trip destination.
While some distances between major centres can seem slightly daunting, with a little planning you can easily break the drives up by experiencing the warm, welcoming people in our smaller towns as well as our gorgeous landscapes.
Overnight accommodation is available everywhere, ranging from B&Bs to farm stays, guesthouses and hotels. The trick is to book accommodation in advance as you map out your route.
The rules of the road
South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road. Seatbelts are compulsory and you may not talk on your mobile phone while driving.
All speed limits in South Africa are in kilometres per hour. Generally, the speed limit for urban areas is 60km/h, on secondary roads, its 100km/h and on national highways its 120km/h.
Always keep an eye out for the designated speed limit as these may vary depending on road conditions, and law enforcement does take place next to the road.
You may use a valid driver’s licence issued in your own country as long as it has a photograph, the signature of the holder and is in English.
Otherwise, it’s best to obtain an international driving licence before you leave home. You should always have your driver’s licence with you when you are driving as you will be asked to produce it if you are pulled over for any reason.
Finding your way
It’s wise to travel with a current road map or GPS system to help you find your way around. You can hire a GPS with your car or pick up a road atlas at most bookshops and convenience stores located at fuel stations.
Our mobile networks offer exceptional coverage even in most out of the way places so you will have signal for your smartphone so you can also utilise your favourite map app.
Fuelling your journey
When you refuel, be sure to establish what kind of fuel your vehicle uses (diesel or petrol) before filling up, as a mistake could be disastrous. Most fuel stations accept major credit cards.
At the fuel station, a petrol attendant will fill your car, check tyres, oil and water, and clean your windows if you ask. It’s customary to give a small tip of around R5 to the petrol attendant.
Many of the national roads are tolled however these toll gates accept credit cards and cash. Similarly, when you park in cities or towns, a parking attendant in a luminous bib might approach you in exchange for keeping an eye on your car. Once again, a tip is customary.
TRAVEL TIP: It’s best to keep your fuel tank topped up and to carry extra water in the event of a breakdown as distances between towns can be quite long, especially along major roads crossing the interior of the country.
Car Hire in South Africa
Many major international car-hire companies operate in South Africa, offering anything from small, budget-friendly cars to luxurious sedans.
It’s best to hire vehicles in advance, especially if you are coming to South Africa at a high traffic season (during summer, which is from December to February).
Some companies also offer 4×4 vehicles if you are planning to visit places out of the city with gravel roads. In that case, you can get a quote from a specialised off-road rental provider. They may also assist with the caravan and trailer hire.
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