Driving in South Africa
South Africa has a comprehensive road network that crosses kilometers of beautiful countryside and makes driving a pleasure. The main routes are the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town, the N7 that goes from the Cape Town to Springbok and Namibia and the N2 that goes along the Garden Route from the Cape to Durban and further towards Swaziland. The N3 connects Joburg with Durban and the N4 connects the JHB and the Kruger. The main routes have service stations at regular intervals. These service stations have restrooms, restaurants, auto banks, public phones and shops. Some service stations may not have autobanks so ensure you have some cash with you as you cannot pay for petrol (gas) with a credit card.
South Africa’s road infrastructure is excellent, so driving is a viable option, but its is a huge country not easily traversed in a day, so plan your journeys carefully. If visitors are not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents.
While most National Roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced.
Current information on the conditions of the roads can be obtained through the Automobile Association of SA. The AA also provides invaluable driving guides for road users in the form of strip maps tailored for specific destinations and information for tourists on accommodation en route.
The Main Roads are identified by colour and number rather than by name, and with a good map which incorporates the route marker system, visitors should have little difficulty in finding their way around.
Watch out for animals in rural areas, Be aware that the roads in many rural areas are not fenced, so visitors could find dogs, chickens, sheep and even horses or cows on the road, so it may be dangerous to drive at night.
Large antelope crossing the road can also be a hazard in certain areas – watch out for the road signs depicting a leaping antelope, and take it slowly, especially towards evening.
Keep left, belt up, think kilometres!
We drive on the left-hand side of the road, and our cars – rental cars included – are right-hand drive vehicles. All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are in kilometres.
Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit, if you want to speak on your mobile phone. The law prohibits the use of hand-held phones while driving but that doesn’t stop most of the locals from using them.
The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph). On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph). In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph) unless otherwise indicated. Check the road signs.
Any valid driver’s licence is accepted provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed in English.
A variety of petrol (gas) stations are situated on both main and country roads. Most of them are open 24 hours a day, although some keep shorter hours. However, distances between towns (and therefore between petrol stations) can be considerable, so it is advisable to fill up your tank before it starts giving warning signals.
South African petrol stations are not self-help: an attendant will fill the car, check oil and water and tire pressure and, if necessary, clean the windscreen – driving away he or she which to expect a tip of two or three rand.
There are a number of good secondary roads, still tarred but, single lanes. They are a good option if you wish to avoid the highways. For example, the R62, the world’s longest wine route, is proving to be a popular secondary route from the Garden Route to the mother city and vice versa. You won’t have to drive too far to find yourself on a gravel (dirt) road. Most are regularly graded and reasonably smooth. You are advised to drive slowly and with care. The speed limit on gravel roads are generally between 60km/h and 80km/h. Most of the gravel roads in scenic areas can be maneuvered with a normal light motor vehicle, though it is advisable to contact local tourism offices to check on local road conditions.
Car hire or luxury car hire
Contact us when you need to hire a car. We have some fantastic rates including unlimited mileage and 100% damage and theft cover (you don’t pay any excess if you have an accident or if the car is stolen). We make use of the well-known brands , which is well represented throughout the country and at Africa international airports .
These are also known as minibus taxis. This is an efficient mode of transport, especially in and around the city centres. The driving can be, at times, a bit hair-raising and drivers stop frequently to drop-off or pick-up commuters. If you are claustrophobic, try to sit towards the front of the minibus. The shared taxi’s run mainly along the commuter routes around the cities and towns. This is a cheap form of transport, however it is not recommended for most visitors.
Car taxis are generally the quickest and safest way to travel around. Taxis charge per kilometre, so it is also the most expensive way to travel. You will find taxis parked outside most hotels and attraction places. The general way to get a taxi is to phone for one. Taxis charge about R 10. 00 per kilometre.
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