Aloe growing on the side of the road South Africa

Most of the guests who stay at our guest house hire a car. I thought I would do a blog about the roads and road safety in South Africa.

South Africa is a lot bigger than most visitors realise. It is also a lot more developed than many parts of Africa. We were smiling at a dinner the other night, about a tourist who arrived at the airport in Johannesburg, and thought he had gone to the wrong destination. He could not believe such a large happening airport existed in Africa.

South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa. It’s a long haul destination. We have 2798 kilometers of coastline. Our country comprises around 1 223 100 square kilomteres of land and occupies 4% of the land in Africa.  We are around 50 million people and have 11 official languages. There are plenty routes to drive and lots to see. Big bonus is our favourable climate year round. Driving holidays are a great way to see South Africa.

Rapeseed fields along the N2 Motorway

Our roads and infrastructure are generally good. Car hire is easy. In the last blog I gave some links to compare car hire prices in South Africa.

Car hire may be slightly expensive compared to some countries. Petrol prices are creeping up but we are still cheaper than most Western countries. I remember visiting Dubai and being stunned at how cheap petrol is there.

Dassiesfontein road stall

Public transport in South Africa is not what it is in Europe. Driving is essential for some people to get about. Road signs should be recognisable. There are speed limit signs so you don’t have to guess. Our local roads almost always have a verge or emergency lane, should you need to stop.

Here is a link to an article for more on driving in South Africa – driving in SA.

The main things to remember are to drive on the left, make sure you can pay for petrol in cash, ignore taxi drivers (they are a law unto themselves) and always know exactly where you are going. For AA maps follow this link – AA route maps.

Two local magazines aimed at driving holidays are Getaway and Go. You can read them on-line.

One of the best bits of doing a road trip in South Africa is the farm stalls, cafes and various vendors along the routes. It’s not uncommon for farmers to sell fresh fruit and vegetables, honey and jams or other interesting foods at stalls on the side of the road. You may get plied with tastings of luscious fresh foods.

Roadside cafes can get really cute. I showed a few pictures in this blog of Dassisfontein along the N2. Read more about them here – Dassiesfontein farm stall. A translation of the name means rabbit river. But there are plenty of quaint and fun roadside stops. Speciality meals and souvenirs abound.

Table setting at Dassiesfontein

We also have the usual petrol stop fancourt type places where you fill up and take a biological break.
There is a really comprehensive list of travel tips on this web page – tourist travel tips.

But the usual and I would hope obvious safety precautions apply. Make sure you rent from a reliable car hire company. Make sure you know exactly where you are going or be guided by locals as to where to travel. Don’t leave valuables or anything visible in the car. Don’t talk to beggars or street children at intersections. It has been known to happen that these people grab your bag or camera through an open window. It is illegal to talk on a mobile while driving in South Africa. It is also illegal to park facing oncoming traffic.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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