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Getting around South Africa by car

YYes, flying is quick and easy but most of the magic of exploration lies on the ground. 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.

Driver’s licence

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.

Cash

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

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 4x4 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.

WHO TO CONTACT

Avis Rent a Car
Tel: +27 11 923 3660 or +27 861 021 111
Email: reservations@avis.co.za 
http://www.avis.co.za/

Tempest Car Hire
Tel: +27 11 552 3900
Email: transfers@tempestcarhire.co.za 
http://www.tempestcarhire.co.za/

Europcar
Tel: +27 11 479 4430 
Email: ecs@europcar.co.za 
http://europcar.co.za/

Hertz
Tel: +27 861 600 136
Email: res@hertz.co.za 
https://hertz.co.za/

Budget Car Rental
Tel: +27 11 398 0123
Email: chauffeur@budget.co.za 
http://www.budget.co.za/

Britz 4x4 Rentals
Tel: +27 11 396 1860
Email: info@britz.co.za 
http://britz.co.za

South Africa on social media

With all the buzz that’s happening in the Soweto, South of Johannesburg this weekend why not take a #ShotLeft to Lebo’s Soweto Backpacker’s for an awesome township experience. This is anything from enjoying a bike tour that takes you through some of Soweto’s gems, historic sites & hanging spots to reggae camping. Be sure to pack comfortable clothing suitable for bike riding and a daypack for your camera and other goods. Thanks for the image @sowetobybike. #ShotLeft #Travelgram #Traveller #wonderlustsouthafrica #exploresouthafrica #mycountry #Biketours #bacckpackers #Soweto #adventure

@thornybush_collection should be added on your #ShotLeft bucklist for these holidays & here’re a few reasons why: It offers a Thornybush experience that is all about making the most of its enchanting environment, giving you one of the finest bush experiences in our country. This destination is also the perfect spot for stargazing as the sun sets. You get to enjoy a massage on a wooden deck with the sounds of nature in the background or unwind in a heated rock pool with a big African sky as your ceiling. Thanks @simplycyn for this stunning image. #ShotLeft #adventure #Travelgram #Traveller #exploresouthafrica #mycountry #Wonderlustsouthafrica

Why not take a #ShotLeft to the Point of Human Origin in Mossel Bay and immerse yourself in our country’s rich cultural & natural heritage. Kick start you adventure with a Human Origins Experience tour which is all about the beginnings of modern human behaviour followed by a guided cave tour by friendly tour guide. Explore the beauty of South Africa! Awesome snap @kmaphai #ShotLeft #adventure #Travelgram #Traveller #MosselBay #adventure #Wonderlustsouthafrica #exploresouthafrica #mycountry

God’s Window is a sunshine break destination along the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga that offers more than a brochure, travel website can explain or prepare you for on your #ShotLeft adventure. It is one of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve’s most spectacular viewpoints, with astonishing views over South Africa’s Lowveld. On a clear day over the famous Kruger National Park towards the Lebombo Mountains on South Africa’s border Mozambique. Pitstops around the area: Be sure to stop at some of the region's beautiful waterfalls: Lone Creek Falls, Mac Mac Falls, Berlin & Lisbon Falls. Things to pack: A pair of awesome shades, sunscreen, hat, camera & binoculars. Thanks for the stunning image @pulengmotswafrika. #ShotLeft #Adventure #GodsWindow #Mpumalanga #PanoramaRoute #exploresouthafrica #Travelgram #Wonderlustsouthafrica #travelsouthafrica #mycountry #Travel

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