It is likely that you will be
stopped by the police at a check point at
least once during your holiday, and the
fines are strictly adhered to. Make sure you
basic driving regulations and keep to
compared to the UK, driving licence enforcement and
vehicle maintenance is not rigorously controlled, and
people driving at high speed and /or under the influence is
In the more
rural areas, the roads may not be fenced so
there may be stray animals on the road -
this could be very dangerous at night. Even where there are fences, antelopes
often jump these.
infamous for jumping almost vertically over
3m high fences when frightened by car
headlights. They jump towards the lights and
may land on top of the car, killing the
occupants. Be warned, try not to drive on
rural roads at night, watch your speed, and be prepared to stop if you see
animal eyes reflected in your headlights.
You should avoid long car journeys that
necessitate driving at night as it always
carries more risk, both in terms of
car hijacking and
Pedestrians walking alongside the road or
crossing the road in rural areas and at the edge of
towns is common and may pose a particular hazard.
Special care is needed to
avoid accidents with pedestrians.
Car hire/rental is available throughout South
Africa, and one-way rental between the main cities
is often available.
For the best deals it is advisable to pre-book
your vehicle before arriving in South Africa.
All the major hire companies, such as Europcar,
SixT, Imperial, National, Hertz, Avis and Budget,
are represented in most cities and at major
Its worth paying a bit extra for air
conditioning. Its also worth taking out the extended
insurance to cover minor accidents.
Everyone who is going to drive the car must be
named and must show their licence when collecting
There are age limitations when renting cars in
South Africa. While some rental car companies will
accept 18 year olds, many will not allow anyone
under the age of 25 to drive.
The Yellow Line
The vast majority of roads in South Africa have the equivalent
of a hard shoulder (the emergency lane), separated from the main
carriageway by a solid yellow line. Often this is
tarmac, but may be gravel.
If a vehicle approaches from behind it is common
courtesy to move across the yellow line into a
emergency lane to let them pass.
Once the vehicle has passed, it is again common
courtesy for them to thank you by flashing their
left & right indicators or hazard warning lights,
and for you to return the acknowledgement by
flashing your headlights back.
Which roads should you use
South Africa is a big country and the distances
can be huge. Below are links to road maps for
each province. These include all the roads you are likely to need
(click on the province name to open up the map):
On dual carriageways keep to the left and pass on the
right. Be alert as cars may pass you on the inside
lane if your remain in the outside lane.
There are not as many roads as you may be used
to in the UK, and signposting may not be as frequent or
as obvious. All distances in South Africa are shown
Large signposts for right or left hand turns are
frequently positioned immediately before or just after
the actual turn. Slow down in plenty of time or you
might over-shoot the turning.
Do not turn
off onto gravel roads unless you are sure of where
you are going (note: many car rental companies exclude gravel roads
from their agreements - ask the rental company for
advice). You will need to be more careful when
driving on gravel
There are a number of roads with tolls
throughout South Africa.
All the national (N) roads in South Africa have
petrol-stations (also called 'garages') with restaurants, toilets and shops
dispersed along the route. Smaller petrol-stations are
found in all towns and smaller roads.
Service at petrol stations is provided by petrol
attendants. The attendants will routinely wash your
windscreen. It is worth getting the attendants to
regularly check your oil level and tyre pressure. Tipping is at your own discretion,
but between R2 and R5 is a
Fuel may only be purchased with cash - you
cannot use a debit/credit card to buy petrol or diesel
African residents often have a Fuel Card which is
linked to their credit car, but as a visitor you
will not have this facility).
Fuel prices are set nationally by the government and are
roughly the same at all petrol stations. It is
much cheaper than in the UK (R6/l in 2006)
A full British photocard driving licence
is acceptable in South Africa.
You must carry your driving licence with you every time
you drive. It is illegal not to carry it.