Driving Guide

South Africa Driving Guide

South Africa is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2021-04-09 · 9min read
South Africa Photos by: KYLE CUT MEDIA

South Africa, a country blessed with plenty of wildlife, natural resources, panoramic views, cultural diversities, and so much beauty bestowed upon its land. A country with great adventures to offer and the favored travel destinations for tourists to visit and explore. To travel in South Africa is like living a dream, the dream of driving in landscapes with a scenic view, conquering the wild in the safari rides, contentment, unending spectacular sceneries, and the goal of great adventures.

To enjoy your visit to South Africa worthwhile self-driving is the most convenient way to reach top destinations comfortably inside your car. You achieve more goals than traveling in a crowded vehicle. But to drive in South Africa, you need particular requirements to drive, such as a Driving Permit in South Africa. Having an International Driving Permit (IDP) will highlight the importance of driving on African roads as a tourist legally and following South Africa's rules and regulations.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling without knowledge about the foreign country you're going to visit may lead to a disaster. This guide will provide you the necessary information you needed to know before you travel and while traveling in South Africa. Information such as South Africa's history, languages, and customs.

The guide includes information about the things you can do in South Africa on your vacation and long-term stay. As for driving in South Africa, this guide also provides essential information about the country's driving rules, international driver's permit, road conditions in South Africa, driving etiquette, car rental information, and top destinations to discover.

General Information

South Africa is located in the 2nd largest continent globally, covering about a fifth of its landmass. The country is made up of different kinds of landscapes and ecosystems. European supremacy ruled South Africa until the world war came; South Africa in the 20th century is one of the several states that tasted freedom and became independent.

South Africa is one of the countries residing in Africa’s continent, which is blessed to deposit the world's most delicate and valuable minerals. But despite the abundance of coals, gold, diamonds, and other useful minerals, South Africa is the least developed continent globally. A country that suffers from scarcity, droughts, poverty, diseases, and democracy for dictators and the military runs the government.

Geographic Location

South Africa is a country located in the Africa continent that borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. It is a dry country with no natural lakes that its water is the dams and rivers is only about 4620 sq km, which is only .38% of South Africa's total land area.

Languages Spoken

In the first centuries of South Africa, the official languages used were Afrikaans, Dutch and English. Today South Africa has over 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, and Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.

IsiZulu is South Africa's commonly used language and is spoken by almost 23% of the population. The other official languages like isiXhosa are spoken by 16%, Afrikaans about 13.5%, English about 10%, Sesotho sa Leboa 9%, Setswana and Sesotho are both 8%, Xitsonga gets 4.5%, siSwati and Tshivenda are both used 2.5%, and the isiNdebele is 2%.

Land Area

South Africa has a total land area of 1,221,037 sq km; it is the 9th biggest country over the 55 states in Africa and the 24th largest country globally. South Africa's country is twice as the size as France and five times bigger than the UK. It is larger than every country in Europe except Russia and every state of the USA except Alaska.


South Africa is known to be inhabited for thousands of years, and the Bantu Tribes have migrated to the country where many of its people speak the Bantu language today. Portuguese were the first Europeans that come to South Africa in 1488.

Many years later, the Dutch East India Company in 1652 established a small settlement at the Cape of Good Hope. And later on, many more Europeans, including French, Germans, and Dutch, moved to South Africa repeatedly and became known as the Afrikaners. South Africa gained its independence in 1961. The African National Congress, which Nelson Mandela was the leader of, pushed for the equal treatment of the Black South Africans, and the apartheid was abolished in 1994.


South Africa is a federal state, and it was ruled by the white minority, mix race representatives, and has no black people representation in 1994. Until April of 1994, South Africa became a fully multiracial democratic country.

The government is headed by a president, elected by the proportional representation, and the 90 seats National Council of Provinces in South Africa elected by the country's nine appointed provincial legislatures.


The number of tourists that visit South Africa has been increasing, and in 2018 it reached over 16.44 million. South Africa is the second leading country in Africa's continent in terms of its international tourist arrivals, and the tourism industry of the country is the key and primary industry that attract travelers worldwide to visit South Africa.


The United Nations regulates the International Driver's License to serve as protection or safety of motorists who want to publish entries under this law. South Africa is one of these listed countries. It's a legal document that provides validity of your driving license from your country of origin and handy in easing the burden if you get into an accident.

You can drive in South Africa using a British license or any other license printed in English. However, if the license is not printed in English, you will need to obtain an International Driver's Permit.

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in South Africa?

The United Nations regulates the International Driver's License to serve as protection or safety of motorists who want to publish entries under this law. South Africa is one of these listed countries. It's a legal document that provides validity of your driving license as foreign citizens and is handy in easing the burden if you get into an accident.

Driving in South Africa with a foreign license is handy, and that is through getting an International Driver's Permit. You can drive in South Africa using a British license or any other license printed in English. However, if the license is not printed in English, you will need to obtain an International Driver's Permit. Driving in South Africa with a foreign license is convenient, especially when you're going to rent a normal car and drive on public roads.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of South Africa?

Yes, if your driver's licenses are in English, you're allowed to use your driver's license to drive in South Africa. Driving in South Africa with a foreign license is accepted. Still, if your license is written in another language, you must get an International Driving Permit. An IDP has several language translations on it.

Your driver's license will only be valid for three months, wherein you will be required to get a local permit. It is important to note that if South Africa doesn't recognize a foreign-issued driver's license and some countries, it requires an International Driving Permit.

People who are over and not less than 18 years old can apply for an International Driving Permit, and it is open to tourists who want to explore and experience driving in South Africa.

The International Driving Permit cannot be issued to people who hold a learner driver permit. When traveling in South Africa, you need to carry your foreign driving license and IDP and can only be issued to drivers holding a valid driving license from their country of origin.

Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver's License?

No, an International Driving Permit is an official document given to tourists to drive while traveling in another country. It is used as an additional document and not a replacement, for it is the translation of your driving license.

An International Driving Permit is not a stand-alone document that you're going to bring when traveling in South Africa, and it does not replace your native driver's license; IDP is a partner that you should always carry together with your native driver's license for it is one of the driving policy in South Africa.

IDP replacement will only happen if you choose to work in South Africa as a driver, the endorsed driver's license. What is an endorsed driving license in South Africa? It is a driver's license you can get in South Africa if you're going to work as a driver or apply for residency. Attending driving schools is required, and the driving lessons in South Africa prices vary on what type of license you're going to take.

Renting a Car in South Africa

The best way to see the number of beautiful and scenic drives in South Africa is to rent a car. You'll have the freedom to stop and explore South Africa's top spots like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, South Africa’s national parks, and more!

Renting a car in South Africa is the most economical way aside from driving a foreign-registered vehicle in Svehicleh Africa, particularly when your family or friends are traveling with you because of the competitive daily rates of renting cars nowadays. If you don’t like driving a foreign-registered vehicle in South Africa, you can rent a car, and the process is much more comfortable.

More comfortable renting a car in South Africa, you should consider several important aspects and information to pick the best car you're going to use traveling around the stunning drives of South Africa. Like what car you should rent, rental agreements, requirements, and the list goes on.

Car Rental Companies

A large car rental like Avis, Bidvest, and Europcar have branches in South Africa. If you're planning to rent a car on your visit to South Africa, you can check in advance the different car rental companies in South Africa online. It is the fastest way to rent a car, choose a suitable type of vehicle for your travel, and you can find a car rental company online to choose from.

You can check reviews of customers on each company to compare and find the best car rental company that offers you the best deal and can give you the most refined car that suits your liking to travel in South Africa. Driving a manual car in South Africa is also allowed as you have the requirements needed.

Documents Required

Most of the documents and conditions car rental companies in South Africa require are at least 18 years old who have a driving license for a year to rent a car in South Africa.

These companies also need you to present your local valid driver's license. Some demand an International Driver's License, especially when your driver's license is not in English. Vision requirements for driving in South Africa is needed together with the driving permit in South Africa.

Companies also need you to have travel insurance because of one of the world's highest traffic fatalities in South Africa. To drive and discover the country, you should secure yourself insurance to cover collision and personal accident costs.

Vehicle Types

There are types of vehicles you can rent to drive in South Africa. These may vary for some rental cars that are not suitable for crossing borders because cars are made explicitly for the roads. It can only drive like concrete roads and bumpy roads.

If you decide to rent a sedan or chevy in South Africa, it is perfectly suitable for exploring the country and its concrete roads. Still, most are not advisable to use in places like natural parks, which you may no longer cover by the insurance that applies solely on tarred roads in Namibia is bumpy and is rough gravel.

An inexpensive small car is the right to use in exploring South Africa. It's economical too. If you want to explore outside South Africa, it is advisable to rent a fully equipped 4x4 camper van, which is best for driving on rough roads.

Car Rental Cost

A rental car in costs South Africa starts at $12, and it is also the average renting price per day. The rental fee is based on the type of vehicle you rent, the car's size, the car's capacity, and the insurance if you avail of extra products or amenities and services. It could be child seat boosters, GPS, extra tires, and excess mileage that can affect the rental price.

Besides the car rental company's extra products, you can also avail of optional services such as roadside assistance, toll payment, fuel plans, hiring a driver, and more. The car rental cost also has extra fees or charges such as young driver surcharges and tax. The price may vary from different car rental companies in South Africa.

Here are estimated rental prices for each type of vehicle you can rent in South Africa:

  • Economy: $11/day
  • Standard: $18/day
  • Minivan: $40/day
  • Full-size SUV: $36/day
  • Premium SUV: $246/day
  • Intermediate SUV: $27/day
  • Compact SUV: $40/day

Age Requirements

The age requirement to rent a car in South Africa must be at least 18 years old and have a license you're using for a year. The age may vary by the car category you're going to rent and the location you're going to. If the driver is under the age of 25, there may be an additional charge to drive in South Africa.

Car Insurance Cost

Choosing an ideal car rental that provides insurance into their rental packages is a must; most car rental companies already included the car insurance in the rental cost, but some also add it as an extra fee when you're availing insurance.

If you've rent a car from a car rental company that is not covered with insurance, using your international car rental insurance is advisable. The insurance cost also varies from what insurance the company offers and how many insurances you're going to avail.

Car Insurance Policy

South Africa's road trip will be an experience you'll never forget because of the country's scenic drive, picturesque destinations, the wildlife you'll encounter on the roads, and more. What an excellent place to visit, right? But despite its beauty South, Africa has a high rate of road incidents such as collisions, pedestrian and cyclist accidents, robbing, carjacking, and more.

South Africa's road trip will be an experience you'll never forget because of the country's scenic drive, picturesque destinations, the wildlife you'll encounter on the roads, and more. What an excellent place to visit, right? But despite its beauty South, Africa has a high rate of road incidents such as collisions, pedestrian and cyclist accidents, robbing, carjacking, and more.

These are the reasons why insurance is applied when you're renting a car in South Africa. You should know that there are several coverage options and car rental protections, but there are also limitations to this coverage.

These coverages are the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Tire and Windshield coverage, Limitations of coverage, Theft Protection waiver, and other insurances that you need to know as you read the rental terms and conditions thoroughly to save thousands for the repair cost and other financial obligations you will encounter if you don't have insurance.

South Africa Photos by: Nicolas Raymund

Road Rules in South Africa

Before you ready your keys and keep the wheels driving in South Africa, it's essential to study South Africa's driving rules and road rules to avoid getting in trouble and spoiling your trip exploring South Africa's panoramic views.

In this section, all the essential driving guidelines will be discussed and explained one by one. It gives you a better understanding of the driving policy in South Africa from the speed limits, local road signs, and who cannot go in South Africa.

Important Regulations

In South Africa, they have implemented numerous driving rules and traffic laws. It is essential to know and meticulously follow these rules for everyone's safety. The consequences of not following the law may cause an accident.

Here are some of the essential driving policies in South Africa that you need to follow:

National driver's license and IDP

You should always bring IDs with your photo, your driving license, and your International Driving Permit because it is advisable to have an IDP at all times.

The travelers in South Africa that plan to drive in the country are required to carrying their national driver's license and IDP together with the other essential documents at all times. Therefore, you should always bring IDs with your photo, your driving license, and your International Driving Permit because it is advisable to have an IDP at all times.

Driving without a license in South Africa is not allowed, and using a national driver's license alone is not valid and accepted in South Africa. Your IDP will be your national driver's license translator when South African authorities ask you to present your driving documents.


The alcohol driving limit in South Africa is 0.05g per 100ml of blood for both on locals and tourists. Drinking and driving in South Africa is punishable. Suppose you're caught driving under the influence of alcohol in South Africa or being caught driving under the influence in South Africa. In that case, you'll be liable to pay the drunken driving charges in South Africa in South Africa up to ZAR 120,000.

Drunk driving cases in South Africa are rampant, and the authorities have become stricter with the law. A drunk driving case law in South Africa can be punishable for up to six years in jail. Don't drive under the influence of alcohol to avoid getting into troubles like drunken charges and accidents.

Using a phone while driving

It is illegal to drive while using mobile phones in South Africa unless it is hands-free. Using a phone while driving may cause an accident, for it can get all of your attention that instead on the road. You must avoid driving and using a phone simultaneously to ensure your everyone's safety.


In South Africa, it is advisable not to park your car on the streets or in a secluded area but a car park area or busy areas. After you park, you must ensure that you lock the car and bring your items with you, for there are cases of robbery in South Africa. You can also park your car in an establishment's parking area, and it ensures that your vehicle is safe and authorities are looking after your car from burglary. If you do not park in the right area, it will give you an extra cost through street car parking charges

General Standards of Driving

One of the South African general standards of driving is knowing its road rules and regulations. The second is to apply the knowledge you've learned from the driving regulations and strictly follow the said rules to be responsible and safe.

When driving in South Africa, the amber traffic lights indicate to slow down and stop. The priority in roundabouts is coming from the right side, and if you're turning left in South Africa and the traffic light is in the color green without other indication, it is all right to proceed. When turning right at the traffic lights in South Africa, you must prioritize the incoming traffic even if the light is green.

It is advisable to stop at traffic lights to keep your windows up even when driving, and you should be extra cautious at the intersections for some operate a first-come and first-served system in four-way stops. As you drive, never pick hitchhikers, always lock your car, drive with your doors closed, be vigilant, and don't leave your valuables on display, especially when you're going out of the vehicle.

Speed Limits

The speed limits in South Africa often change, for it varies on places and the type of roads you're driving on. The maximum speed limit in cities is generally 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour), on the secondary roads are 100 kph (62 mph), and on the highways, the speed limits are 120 kph (75 mph).

You should always keep your eyes open and watch for the speed limit signs to avoid getting in trouble. If you're caught speeding, you'll be charged for the violation. The amount of the fine depends on the area and your speed. You may either pay the fine in full or dispute.

Remember always to stick and follow the speed limit. You don't want to get in trouble and enjoy your road trip exploring South Africa.

Seatbelt Laws

South Africa, like the other countries, is strict about wearing seatbelts. South Africa campaigns on encouraging its citizens and tourists to wear seat belts and consider the consequences of not wearing one. The driver and all the passengers must wear seatbelts, especially the children.

Driving Directions

Driving in South Africa is easy for the roads to be mapped and filled with signage with English translations. It would help if you had an itinerary to know the place you're going to visit, and you can search in advance for directions, road conditions, and such. Using maps or apps for recommendations is also the best option before you behind the wheels.

Traffic Road Signs

Most African road signs in Tanzania are similar to those of other countries, with a few unique road signs. Like in other countries, Tanzania also has four road signs: regulatory signs, warning signs, and guidance signs. It's essential to know and follow what each road sign directs to ensure your safety while driving. Failing to do so can get you charged with an offense or, worse, get you involved in an accident.

Regulatory signs include the control signs, command signs, comprehensive signs, prohibition signs, and reservation signs:

  • Stop
  • Go
  • Yield sign
  • Turn Left sign
  • Turn Right sign
  • Roundabout sign
  • Pedestrians only sign
  • Residential area sign
  • Single-carriage way freeway begins sign
  • Parking prohibited sign
  • U-turn prohibited sign
  • Parking reservation sign
  • motor car reservation sign

Warning signs include:

  • crossroad sign
  • T-junction sign
  • Side road conjection sign
  • Sharp curve sign
  • Two-way traffic crossroad sign
  • General warning sign
  • Emergency flashlight sign

Guidance Signs includes local direction, tourism guidance signs, tourism general service signs:

  • Airport sign
  • Central business center sign
  • Parking sign
  • National park sign
  • Conservancy area sign
  • Marine reserve sign
  • Straight-on arrows sign
  • Left/right arrows sign
  • Motor cars sign
  • Bus sign

Right of Way

The right of way in South Africa is when you're at the intersections of a four-way stop work on a first-come and first-serve system, it is an important note to be cautious in this area to avoid getting into accidents.

In South Africa, the vehicles coming from the right sides have the right of way or the priority in the roundabouts – you're going to yield your right. In traffic lights, even if the light is green and you're about to turn right, you must prioritize the oncoming traffic because they have the right of way.

Even if you have a license from your country home, South Africa's legal driving age should be at least 18 years old. To drive a 125cc motorcycle or obtain a learner's right, your age should be at least 17 years old and need to be escorted by someone who already has a valid driver's license to drive in South Africa.

Laws on Overtaking

South Africa's provision on using the shoulder of the road backing the passing or overtaking vehicles, unlike the other country's traffic guidelines that are made for safety. Even though overtaking is allowed, you should consider to know or navigate the lanes that would enable overtaking; it is to avoid making mistakes of driving in lanes for the oncoming traffic.

You are free to borrow a lane that has one dashed line on your side when overtaking as long as there's no approaching vehicle and if it is safe. You will see double lines that separate the lane in some cases, and both cars are running in the same directions and can overtake on each route. Driving on three lines where the dash lines are sandwiched into the two solid lines and cars move in different directions, can’t overtake on each lane.

Overtaking in South Africa has a customary way of saying thank you by flashing the vehicle's hazard light for a few seconds when you surpass or pass a slower car. You'll probably experience these greetings when a vehicle overtakes you while driving in the major roads in Africa.

Driving Side

The driving side of countries differs from driving on the road's right side and driving on the left side. It is a concern that travelers often asked. In South Africa, the side of the road that you should drive on is the left side of the road.

Keep left; Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road. Most of the tourists who visit South Africa are used to driving on the right, and if you are from these countries, this will be a new experience for you. To familiarize yourself with driving on the left, you can practice on your rental car company's shop space until you get the hang of it.

Keep in mind to always keep left and stay concentrated, for you might return to your habit of driving on the left; we don't want you to get in trouble! Remember you are not driving in your home country, don't forget to keep left.

Driving Etiquette in South Africa

Are you excited to explore the beauty of South Africa on a road trip? I know you do! But you start exploring the country and should hold your excitement first because there are essential things that you need to consider before checking out South African's top destinations and its picturesque sceneries.

You should consider these situations that might happen during your trip, problems that you should prepare for, and know what exactly you're going to do when you find yourself in the circumstances like stop by the police, your car broke down, and more.

Car Breakdown

If your car breaks down significantly in a country that you're not familiar with is a hassle and a headache but don't worry, this is the thing you need to do if your car breaks down on a highway or mountain parts. You need to stay calm and don't panic; if you panic, you will block out helpful thoughts and forget the best thing to do if your car breaks down.

Safely pull your car off the road and preferably far from the left shoulder, and to be visible to the other motorists, turn on your hazard lights. And if you're incapable of moving your car off the road, exit the vehicle safely. Contact a professional emergency roadside assistance after you manage to pull your vehicle off the road. This assistance is provided and part of the insurance policy of the vehicle that you've rented.

Once you call, reach them on the line, listen to their instructions attentively, follow these instructions, and wait for them to get into your location. While waiting for the road assistance to come and get into your spot, you should be vigilant because you are vulnerable in this situation. Please don't ask for help from other motorists; as we said, you are helpless in this state, and some people will take the opportunity to rob and harm you. Instead, wait for the road assistance to be safe.

Police Stops

Uniformed police in South Africa have the right to stop any vehicle at any time, and that includes you. If an officer stops you while you’re on your way, here are the things that you need to follow and keep in mind when police approach you or ask you to pullover.

If you're signaled to pull over, follow their instructions, reduce your speed, and pull over right next to where the police are standing. Show documents like ID's, Driver's license, and IDP concerning your identity when the authorities ask you. Driving without a license in South Africa and driving without number plates in South Africa will get you in trouble. In terms of the National Road Traffic Act, a traffic officer has the power to demand your driver's license.

Suppose you're asked to take a breathalyzer or a blood test to check if you're drinking and driving in South Africa. You should be aware of the alcohol driving limit in South Africa; when caught driving under the influence or being caught driving under the influence in South Africa, you're in trouble. You'll be charged with the drunk driving penalties in South Africa. There is a drunk driving case law in South Africa and the drunken driving charges in South Africa are huge.

Asking Directions

If you're lost, don't ask anyone you will see on the highways or people outside the road for car theft and hazards rampant when you're traveling. This is why it is advised to drive with your windows closed and your car doors locked. If you want to ask for directions, it's ideal to ask gas stations to be safer.

It is best to plan what are the destinations you're going to know what directions and roads you're going to drive in, and it is also best to use a map or navigation apps so you won't go out or open your car windows to ask for directions and you'll be safer in that way. And if you have no place to go for the meantime, you can stay at a convenience store by gas stations.

Here are some of the commonly used words in South Africa:

  • Yes - Ja
  • No - Nee
  • Please - Asseblief
  • Thank you - Dankie
  • Goodbye – Totsiens


When driving in South Africa, you will encounter checkpoints but don't worry; what you need to do is the same as what you will do when the police stop you. Don't panic, be calm, and slow down your car when approaching a checkpoint. If it's night, it is a courtesy to let your car's lights on and lower your car radio volume if you're listening to music.

There are checkpoints to ensure the safety of the African tourist citizens from accidents, lessen the drunk driving cases in South Africa by catching people driving under the influence of alcohol in South Africa, and check if you’re driving south Africa with a foreign license and IDP. It is also to check if you’re going without a license in South Africa and driving without number plates in South Africa.

It is a bad idea not to slow down your car. It will raise suspicion that you're a criminal who wants to run off away from the authorities if you do so. You can hear and communicate well with the officer if you lower your car's radio volume; a simple courteousness will help you confidently pass the checkpoints with no worries.

Other Tips

Aside from the driving situations mentioned above, it's also useful to know what to do when an accident occurs on your travel to South Africa. Witnessing and getting involved in an accident is a stressful and traumatizing experience. If accidents happen while driving, the information and instructions you need to follow are written below.

What if I get involved in an accident?

During your travel, when you witness an accident or, worsts, get involved in a vehicular accident in South Africa, the best thing you need to do is to call the emergency numbers of South Africa. You must give your information, location, what happened, and the number of injured or casualties. Once you've finished contacting the emergency numbers, you need to wait for them to arrive.

Here are the emergency service numbers you can reach in South Africa:

  • Emergency - 112
  • Police – 10111
  • Ambulance – 10177

Driving Conditions in South Africa

If you're planning to drive in the country, you must not only know the South African road rules and driving etiquette but also South Africa's driving situations and road conditions. Studying these two will prepare you for what to expect and what to do if you find yourself stuck or experiencing these driving situations during your stay in South Africa.

Driving is the best way to explore the country; South Africa's main roads and highways are in good condition and improve over the years. However, there are some rough roads that you will encounter, especially in rural areas. Pay attention to your surroundings and the directions you drive in remote areas.

When driving in South Africa, you will encounter animals walking or crossing the roads like cows, elephants, penguins, and other wildlife, but that will depend on what route you're driving. This is one of the road conditions you should be mindful to not get into an accident such as running over these animals or animals opening your car door and more.

Accident Statistics

Driving in South Africa is one of the best experiences you will never forget, the beautiful scenery, the wildlife, and more. Still, you should be mindful if you're going to drive on South Africa's roads and highways because South Africa is one of the countries with the most traffic incident rates.

According to the World Health Organization, there has been no progress in reducing road traffic incidents and fatalities. The report highlights the yearly road traffic deaths reach up to 1.35 million.

Road traffic incidents are now ranked as the eighth leading cause of death, killing more people than HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis for all age groups and the leading cause of death for the age group between the ages of 5 and 29.

Common Vehicles

Transportation is essential when you travel to South Africa. Picking the right vehicle to use is necessary, too, because before you see and reach South Africa's top destinations, it will be a long drive. You choose a car that you'll be comfortable to drive, and that is durable for longer rides and can drive in different types of road conditions.

Some standard vehicles are used in South Africa; some were used for driving on concrete roads, some are for the rough roads, and vehicles used for a safari adventure. The standard and popular cars used to drive in South Africa are:

  • MINI
  • Hyundai i10
  • Kia Picanto
  • Fiat 500
  • VW Up!
  • BMW i3
  • Suzuki Swift
  • Smart, and others

Driving in safari, the most familiar brand used to go, depends on what country you are driving. For example, in Luxury Kruger safari tours, the standard safari vehicle they use are:

  • Open-sided 4WD
  • Closed 4WD's.

Toll Roads

South Africa has toll roads or usually called the toll plazas. These toll roads are in N1, N2, N3, N4, N17, and M6. Each of South Africa's toll tariffs is applied for all different vehicle classes, including VAT. Some toll plazas offer a frequent user discount, especially to light motor vehicles, and some toll plazas offer much lower tariffs.

Road Situation

The road situation in South Africa is the information you need to be aware of. This is to know what areas you should avoid and need to take an extra measure. A trip to South Africa will be challenging, but the experience you'll get is memorable to ready yourself in these situations, and circumstances will make your visit worthwhile.

The overall road conditions in South Africa are right for your travel will be smooth but, of course, expect that some areas have road works, and some are in bad shape like bumpy roads due to the potholes and dusty roads that you should look out for. Before moving forward, the following are common road situations in South Africa.

  • If possible, avoid driving after dark; there are several reasons you should not go after night in South Africa, and most of the car rental agencies remind their clients about this rule.

Driving after dark is a significant hazard, and if you find yourself going in these times, you need to be extra careful that lots of animals come out at night, and you never know what you will come across at night! There are also lots of people who walk on the hard shoulder of the road at night, and they don't usually wear reflective clothing, be careful not to hit anyone.

  • Driving at night is also dangerous and challenging because several roads and highways don’t have fluorescent line-markings, and it's difficult to see at night without these lights to guide you.
  • Some areas have speed cameras, and most of South Africa’s regions have lots of police presence, so don't be confident of speeding still; you must follow the road rules. You don't want to spend your vacation days in South Africa getting in trouble, right?
  • Besides wildlife, you might also encounter high vehicle crime rates. That's why you should take an extra measure when traveling in South Africa. You can still enjoy the scenery and explore the country despite some of the road conditions and conditions, enjoy your visit but be mindful of your surroundings to keep yourself safe while traveling.

Driving Culture

Any tourist who visits South Africa is shocked by the way Africans drive. The increasing number of road incidents and fatalities in South Africa caused by human error is why a vast majority of drivers in South Africa were rated the world's worst drivers.

From violating road rules like over speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road, ignoring traffic lights, overtaking on solid lines, and other violations that cause accidents and, worst, deaths. Therefore, when you're driving in South Africa, you should be careful and mindful to avoid accidents that will ruin your dream vacation in Africa.

Other Tips

It's also essential to know other information related to South Africa's driving conditions, such as South Africa's used metric unit in speed limit signs. Read below to learn more details about other tips when traveling and to drive in South Africa.

Does South Africa use Mph or Kph?

In South Africa, the unit of measurement they use for their speed limit, and speed limit signs is Kph (kilometers per hour); South Africa is one of the 91% of countries that operate Kph instead of Mph (miles per hour).

Kph (kilometers per hour) and Mph (miles per hour) are the units used by different countries in the speed limit signage they put on the major roads.

Things to Do in South Africa

South Africa has the prestigious reputation of being the most beautiful country in the world. It is a country blessed with wonders and various adventures when hitting the African roads. Besides visiting and exploring the country as a tourist, you can do other things like applying for a job and residency because South Africa is open to opportunities!

Drive as a Tourist

Yes, you can drive to South Africa as a tourist. Self-driving is an economical and comfortable way to travel. If you're going to drive, you must have your native driver's license and an International Driving Permit to be allowed to drive on the African roads to explore cape town, safari's, and other top destinations in South Africa.

As long as you're fit on the age requirement to drive in South Africa and have the necessary documents to present, such as a driver's license from your home country and an International Driving Permit, you can move to South Africa even if you're a tourist!

Work as a Driver

There are driving jobs in South Africa that you can try to apply; this is allowed when you're staying in South Africa for more than a year and considers moving to South Africa.

What is an endorsed driving licence in South Africa? It can be used when you apply as a driver. You need to convert the driver's license you have from your home country. The process takes time; you need to read your essential documents necessary for restoring your driver's license into South Africa’s local license.

After submitting the requirements, you need to pass South Africa's driving test to get your South African Driver's license. Driving lessons South Africa prices are between R130 and R200. If you want to be a driver, you need to consider what type or category of driver's license you should get. The age of getting a local driver's license varies on what driver's licenses category you can get.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you're wondering if you can work as a travel guide in South Africa, the answer is yes! You can use it as a safari guide in South Africa, which can also be considered a driving job in South Africa.

To be a travel guide in South Africa, you should go under several training pieces like eco training and comprehensive training. The training will help you familiarize safari from the wildlife's behavior, how-to guide tourists, and keep the tourist safe by detecting what trouble you might encounter throughout the Safari tour.

Working as a safari travel guide is not for people who have a faint heart, with your training covers knowing the danger around this wildlife's sanctuary. The job’s age qualification is below 35, but some accept older than 35 years old and have a good body condition.

Apply for Residency

In South Africa, you'll be given a temporary residency permit if you're working in the country. You can apply for a residency in South Africa, and it must be done at the South Africa embassy or consulate in your country. Mostly, the processing time for permanent residency takes about 18 to 24 months.

When you're applying in South Africa, it must be processed as you must present a Visa Application Centre (VAC). An in-country processing time of a permanent residency in South Africa takes between 18 and 24 months.

Other Things to Do

You can do more things in South Africa if you plan for a more extended stay in the country. The country may not be as progressive and modern as other countries, but its beauty and solitary way of living can convince you to live and work in South Africa.

Is it required to convert your driver’s license in South Africa?

Suppose you're planning for a long-term stay in South Africa; it is obligatory to convert your national driver's permit to South Africa's driving license. To get a driving license in South Africa, you must be at least 18 years old and attend driving school as it is required and pass South Africa's driving exam.

Are there other work opportunities in South Africa?

Besides the driving and tourist guide jobs, you can also find other work opportunities in South Africa. You can work in the Finance and Accounting industries, Human resources, and Sales and Marketing as it is the most in-demand jobs in South Africa.

The Top Road Trip Destinations in South Africa

Are you excited to explore South Africa's top roundtrip destinations? I know you do, but before you get your car keys and jump behind the wheels, let me ask you, did you already secure an International Driving Permit? Do you? If yes, then get your pen and list down South Africa's best scenic drive!

South Africa Photos by: Sharonang

Cape Town

When you hear someone say what place you should visit when you travel in South Africa, Cape Town should be on the list; it is a destination you don't want to forget to see when you're going to travel in South Africa. Cape Town is blessed with natural beauty, a lively city, and fascinating cultural attractions!

Cape Town is one of the world's best cities and known as the "Mother City" it is also famous for its outstanding natural beauty, an abundance of the scenic drive, and panoramic views that you will never get tired of looking at. The regions are also known for their seafood delicacies!

Driving Directions

From Cape Town International Airport.

  1. Take Airport Ring Rd and Airport Approach Rd to N2 in Kanana.
  2. Follow N2 to Newmarket St in Foreshore. Take the Strand Street exit from Nelson Mandela Blvd/N2.
  3. Continue on Newmarket St. Drive to Darling St in Cape Town City Centre.

Things to Do

Aside from sightseeing Cape Town's beauty, you can have an adventure because Mother City has lots of fun-filled activities that will make your stay unforgettable that you'll want to revisit the city. These are some activities you can do in Cape Town:

1. Visit the Cape Town Floral Kingdom

Cape Town's floral region is one of the places you need to visit; it is one of the six floral kingdoms worldwide. If you're a fan of flowers and plants, then don't miss the chance to see different plant species with over 9500 species where about 70% of these plants do not grow anywhere else in the world.

2. Vibe at the live music at the bay harbor

If you want to chill and feel the South African vibe, visiting the bay harbor is ideal. After a long drive, you can sit at the bay, watch the sunset, relax, enjoy the nightlife, and vibe with the live African music.

3. Learn about Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela has a significant contribution to South Africa for fighting for its people's rights. He has a strong tie to the city of Cape Town. You can follow his foot's step and learn more about Nelson Mandela and what he has done for his country.

4. Check out the Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope is a popular spot for every Cape Town visitor and a destination you don't want to miss. It has spectacular natural and beautiful scenery and wildlife like baboons and penguins in the ocean that will amaze you.

5. Try Hiking

You can join hiking at the Cape of Good Hope trails if you're into an outdoor adventure. There are many hiking trails in the Cape of Good Hope that you can choose from, and on your way, you'll be greeted with breathtaking views of the Table Mountain National Park.

South Africa Photos by: mzgiaconte


Morocco is South Africa's gateway for traveler's safari adventure in the city of Johannesburg. It is the largest city by population, a town of an economic engine, and named the "City of Gold" for the Johannesburg abundant deposits of precious metals.

Johannesburg is famous due to its abundance of different Safari adventures and beautiful national parks to visit. The city's gold rush from the 19th century earned the name of "City of Gold" and became known worldwide.

Driving Directions

From O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)

  1. From T1 Jones Rd, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, 1632, South Africa.
  2. Get on R24 in Isando from Exit 46.
  3. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Lodge.
  4. Slight right onto To Parking Rd.
  5. Keep right to continue on OR Tambo Parking.
  6. Continue straight.
  7. Slight right.
  8. Keep right at the fork to continue on Exit 46, follow signs for R24/Johannesburg.

Things to Do

Aside from the city's beauty and vibrant customs, Cape Town's a gateway for safari adventures and different varieties of experiences you need to take. Here are some of the adventures you can do when in Johannesburg:

1. Check out Johannesburg Gallery

If you're a fan of art or wanting to see African and South African art, you must check out the Johannesburg gallery. The gallery is the epicenter and home of Johannesburg's art establishment. It has a collection of 17th-century Dutch paintings, British and European art from the 18th and 19th century, 19th-century South African arts, and large contemporary art collections made by South African and international artists.

2. Cycling at Braamfontein

If you want to relax and feel Johannesburg's city vibe, you can cycle at the Braamfontein. As you tour, you'll see busy and buzzing streets, see the city's beauty, and indulge in the South African ambiance.

3. Experience the Horseback Safari

Experiencing Johannesburg horseback safari is an adventure you don't want to miss. You'll ride a horse as the travel guide guides you to tour around the Magaliesburg Mountains, where you'll see different wildlife up close, such as zebra, giraffe, and kudu.

4. Hike at the Kruger National Park

You can hike at Kruger National Park if you're into outdoor activities. There are various trails to choose from, like the lonely bull trail, Olifants trail, and Mphongolo, all taking four days and three nights to finish.

5. Try ziplining or canopy tours

You can try moderate to extreme activities in Johannesburg, and the city has lots of fun outdoor activities such as ziplining and canopy tours. It is one of the activities you don't want to miss on your stay, and you'll be welcomed with the panoramic and scenic view of its natural wonders; doing these activities that makes it more special and unforgettable.

South Africa Photos: by falco

The Garden Route

Victoria falls to attract thousands of tourists all over the globe. Its breathtaking beauty is something you don't want to miss! Victoria Falls is locally called "The Smoke that Thunders" what a lovely name, right? It, not just the name is nice in Victoria fall, there are also lots of practical activities you need to try.

The Garden Route gained popularity due to its breathtaking scenic drive and one of the most popular routes to drive not only in South Africa but also in the world. The cage dive with the great white sharks attracts tourists into extreme adventure and adds to its popularity.

Driving Directions

From Cape Town International Airport.

  1. Get on Settlers Way/N2 from Airport Ring Rd and Borcherds Quarry Rd/M22.
  2. Head northeast on Freight Rd toward Airport Ring Rd.
  3. Freight Rd turns slightly right and becomes Airport Ring Rd.
  4. Slight left onto Tower Rd.
  5. Turn left to stay on Tower Rd.
  6. Make a right onto Michigan St.
  7. Turn left onto Borcherds Quarry Rd/M22.
  8. Use the left lane to merge onto Settlers Way/N2 via the ramp to Somerset.

Things to Do

There's so much to explore along the Garden Route; it has become popular because of the routes it has in South Africa, and the full-packed adventure awaits in the Garden Route. Here are some of the experiences you can do in your visit to Garden Route:

1. Explore Villages

One of the exciting things to do in the Garden Route is to visit its villages and small towns. Garden route small towns are some of South Africa's most popular towns. The wilderness town is blessed with Garden Route's highlights such as its natural lakes, sand beaches, mountains, and lagoons. You can also visit other villages like Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, George, and Mossel Bay.

2. Try Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is an extreme adventure that you can try as you visit the Garden route. You'll feel the adrenaline rush and enjoy the spectacular scenic views of Bloukrans Bridge, which is connected to some of the country's wonderful national parks.

3. See the African Safari

You can enjoy exploring African safari on your stay in the garden routes. You'll get to see diverse wildlife in the open. It is a fun activity to do together with your family and friends. To see the African Safari is one of the special activities you must try in the Garden Routes.

4. Check out the Cango caves

In your visit to the garden routes, you must check out the Cango caves. It is a cave that is made up of diverse underground formations. On your visit, you wear a shoe that has a good grip and other essential items.

5. Check out the Garden Routes wineries

As you visit Garden routes, you'll be able to see its world-class wineries. In the town of Reedvalley, you'll get to see the winery farms, learn their history, and got the chance to try wine tasting. There are other places in the Garden routes where you can taste world-class wineries like the Herold Wine Estate and De Krans Wines.

South Africa Photos by: rawpixel

Blyde River Canyon

The Blyde River Canyon, or also called Motlatse River Canyon, is a spectacular nature reserve that you will find in South Africa. It is a destination between the drive of Johannesburg and Kruger Park. It is the home of the second-largest canyon in the continent of Africa, residing in South Africa. It is a destination blessed with beauty and adventures.

Blyde River Canyon is famous for its scenic driving routes, breathtaking panoramic views of God's Window. It is renowned because it is the second-largest canyon in Africa and supports a large diversity of life on its lands. Including the varieties of fishes, hippos, antelopes, and primate species that you may encounter traveling in South Africa.

Driving Directions

From O.R. Tambo International Airport.

  1. 1 Jones Rd, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, 1632, South Africa.
  2. Get on R21 from OR Tambo Parking.
  3. Head straight.
  4. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Lodge.
  5. Slight right onto To Parking Rd.
  6. Keep right to continue on OR Tambo Parking.
  7. Continue straight.
  8. Slight left.
  9. Keep right.
  10. Use the right 2 lanes to take the R21 S ramp to Boksburg.
  11. Keep right and merge onto R21.

Things to Do

Scenic driving in Blyde River Canyon is an opportunity you don't want to miss. Still, aside from scenic driving, you can also do other activities and experience unforgettable adventures when you travel in the Blyde River Canyon:

1. Join boat trips

One of the exciting things to do in Blyde River Canyon is joining boat trips. You'll enjoy and be mesmerized with the lush Blyde River Canyon, see the spectacular Kadishi Tufa waterfall, gaze at the regal Three Rondavels mountain peaks and learn about Blyde River Canyon's natural history.

2. Experience scenic drive

Blyde river canyon is a beautiful destination for a panoramic and scenic drive. It could be a scenic drive as an excursion or scenic drive as you go to South Africa's other destination from or to Timbavati or Thornybush northern game reserves.

3. Blyde River Canyon Private tour

Another outdoor activity you can do in the Blyde river canyon is to experience a private tour where you can tour around safaris with your family and your tour guide only. You can feel that your encounter with wildlife is more intimate and get all-inclusive accommodation in Blyde River Canyon's Marloth Par.

4. Helicopter flight over the canyon

You can see the scenic landscapes of Blyde river canyon by experiencing the Grand Canyon helicopter tour. On the excursion, you'll be able to see the panoramic and majestic views of the canyon. You'll also be able to see the Blyde River Dam and the Three Rondawels above.

5. Join the reptile park tour

The tour gives you the fantastic opportunity to see Blyde River Canyon and visit the Kinyonga Reptile park. You'll see different fascinating and endangered reptiles in the park, such as snakes, frogs, crocodiles, and other reptiles. You'll also learn more about these reptiles for Kinyonga. Reptile Park is a center for reptile-related research and the destination for reptile-related public education.

South Africa Photos by: raw pixel

Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park’s nearly 2 million hectares of unrivaled life forms blending with the historical and archaeological sights in South Africa. Kruger National Park offers an unforgettable wildlife experience that ranks together with the best National parks in Africa.

Kruger National gained popularity due to its broad scope of land, varieties, and diversity of life forms than any other park in Africa. The national park has the so-called Big 5: elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino, and the leopard that lives together with the other wildlife you can see in South Africa. It is the crown jewel of Southern African national parks.

Driving Directions

From O.R. Tambo International Airport.

  1. From O.R. Tambo International Airport 1 Jones Rd, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, 1632, South Africa.
  2. Get on R21 from OR Tambo Parking.
  3. Head straight.
  4. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Lodge.
  5. Slight right onto To Parking Rd.
  6. Keep right to continue on OR Tambo Parking.
  7. Continue straight.
  8. Slight left.
  9. Keep right.
  10. Use the right 2 lanes to take the R21 S ramp to Boksburg.
  11. Keep right and merge onto R21.
  12. Toll road.

Things to Do

If you're into wildlife adventure, then Kruger National Park is one of the best destinations you should visit upon traveling in South Africa as the national park is the home of different life forms that will make your visit unforgettable. Here are some of the things you can do in Kruger National Park:

1. Try the Safari Rides

One of the exciting things to do in Kruger National Park is to join ad experience the safari rides. With the wonderful open game-viewing vehicle used for the rides, you'll be able to enjoy seeing the best wide life sightings in the park. The safari ride can be done in private if you want to explore and see wide life intimately with your family or close friends.

2. Experience the natural amenities

In your stay in Kruger National Park, you'll experience its natural amenities and feel close to nature. Before or after your tour in the park, you can relax and admire the accommodation facilities or camps that are one with nature.

3. Explore scenic trails

One of the things you can do in Kruger National Park is to experience and explore its scenic trails that take several days to finish. The park has over seven trails, the Bushmans Trail, Mathikithi Trail, Napi Trail, Nyalaland Trail, Olifants Trail, Sweni Trail, and Wolhuter Trail.

4. River and bush walks

If you have limited time or days on your visit to Kruger National Park, you can try river and bush walks instead of trying the scenic trails. The walk will only take about two to four hours of tour and directed by two experienced guides. You'll see different species of wildlife on your walks, such as large games, insects, and birds.

5. Sight wildlife

One of the best things to do in visiting Kruger National Park is to sight different wildlife. You're lucky if you'll spot South Africa's "Big 5," the buffalo, rhinoceros, lion, leopard, and elephant. There is also other magnificent wildlife that you'll see on tour, especially in the early morning where the animals are more active and when they started searching for food and water.

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