Self-Drive Vacation in South Africa

Self-drive travelling in South Africa ensures that you see a unique side of the country that you haven’t seen before.  It can, however, prove to be challenging with the unpredictable elements of Africa.  Here are some tips for when you attempt a self-drive vacation in South Africa:

General tips
  • Keep to the prescribed speed limits.  “The general speed limit on South Africa’s 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.”  It is advisable that you always check the road signs.
  • It is advisable to switch on the headlights of your vehicle to be more visible to other drivers, especially in dusty or rainy conditions.
  • Many of the national roads between the major centres in South Africa are toll roads. Confirm the toll fees before you leave, and make sure that you have either a credit card or cash to pay.
    Toll fares may vary from R2.50 to R61.00 per toll plaza – you may pass through three or four of these before you reach your destination.
  • Make sure that you have a trustworthy and updated GPS.
Choose the best route

In South Africa, there are multiple routes to get to your destination.  Make sure you know what routes have road works and what routes have become difficult to drive on.  Also, make sure how far the gas stations are situated from each other.

What not to do when you self-drive

Rural areas can be particularly poorly lit and not all roads have proper fencing for animals and life stock.  You need to be mindful of drunk drivers, pedestrians and even life stock at night.  South Africans also know that Kudu’s tend to jump in front of cars at night, so it might be a good idea to avoid driving long distances at night.  Never leave your vehicle unlocked, even if it is for a short period.  Also never pick up strangers or hitchhikers.


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