The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in South Africa

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South Africa is a popular vacation destination for those who are looking for the great outdoors as well as the comfort of modern cities. When you visit the country, you might want to spend some time visiting Table Mountain National Park, which includes the Cape of Good Hope, and has some truly amazing views. Some of the other areas you may want to explore include the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Robberg Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, Boulders Beach, and the Franschhoek Motor Museum.

Renting a vehicle

In South Africa, if you have a driver’s license with your photo and signature, you will be able to drive. However, the rental agencies will also require that you have an international driving permit before they rent a vehicle to you. The minimum driving age in South Africa is 18 years old. Some of the rental agencies may require that you are more than 18 years old to rent a vehicle. When you rent your vehicle, make sure to get a phone number and emergency contact information from the rental agency.

Road conditions and safety

South Africa has a high quality infrastructure and network of roads. Most of the roads are in good condition without potholes or other issues, so driving the main roads, and many of the secondary roads, is a pleasure. Of course, there are also rural areas and dirt roads where the road conditions are not as good. When you plan to head out of the populated areas, you may want to rent a 4WD vehicle.

When you are driving in South Africa, remember that the traffic flows on the left side of the road, and the distances are in kilometers. When you are in the vehicle you are required to wear a seatbelt. You are only allowed to use a mobile phone while driving if it is a hands-free system.

When you come to a four-way stop, the first car that was at the intersection has the right of way, followed by the second, third, and then fourth. Never stop to feed animals that you might see alongside the road when traveling through the rural areas. It is dangerous, and it is against the law. It is advisable to drive with your windows up and your doors locked, particularly in the cities and at traffic lights. Try to avoid traveling at night.

The speed limit

The posted speed limit is important to follow when driving in South Africa. Different types of roads will have different speed limits.

  • Highways, freeways, major routes – 120 km/h
  • Rural roads – 100 km/h
  • Built up areas – 60 km/h

Toll roads

There are many different toll roads throughout South Africa. The following are some of the ones you might encounter, along with their current cost in Rand. Please keep in mind that the cost of the tolls can change, and you should always check the latest information before traveling.

  • Capricorn, N1 – R39
  • Wilge, N3 – R58
  • Ermelo, N17 – R27
  • Dalpark, N17 – R9
  • Mtunzini, N2 – R39

Have a great time on your trip to South Africa, and make the entire experience more enjoyable with a rental car.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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