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Driving in South Africa
Before you pick up your car hire in South Africa, it is worth noting some of the rules and regulations about driving in South Africa.
Driving license requirements in South Africa:
An International Driver's Permit carried in conjunction with your national driving licence, is recommended and must be printed or authenticated in English. Always make sure documentation is carried with you at all times when driving.
Police officers will expect to see documentation if they stop you for any reason. Offer the IDP first, as the officer may need to retain it, thereby leaving you with your national driver's licence with which to continue your journey.
Age requirements for driving in South Africa:
Car hire companies in South Africa employ age restrictions, which can vary across companies. Please check your quotation for exact restrictions, as there may be an extra fee for drivers below the minimum age or over the maximum age.
Speed Limits on South Africa’s roads:
Generally the speed limits are 60 km in built up areas, 100km in rural areas and 120km on highways. Speed limits apply in Game Reserves. These are all strictly enforced.
Speed Limits and distances are in kilometres. 1 km = 0.6 miles, 10 km = 6 miles, 25km = 15 miles, 50 km = 30 miles, 300km = 180 miles, 1000 km = 600 miles.
Tips for driving your hire car in South Africa:
- * Drive on the left. Don't obstruct fast lanes. On some National Roads and Highways it may be permissible to overtake slow moving traffic on the left.
- * Be aware of what's happening around you. Adapt to local conditions.
- * Long distances may be travelled with ease and traffic is often minimal.
- * It is illegal to travel without a seatbelt.
- * It is our advice that you DO NOT drink and drive in South Africa, as this is a very serious offence.
- * For your own safety, keep all doors locked while driving
- * In South Africa it is illegal to hold a mobile phone whilst driving.
- * Traffic Lights: When approaching traffic lights, green denotes ‘go’, but it is advisable to slow down and check for traffic before proceeding. If you are turning right at a green light the approaching traffic has right of way, wait for a clear road before proceeding. An amber traffic light means you must slow down and stop. A flashing green arrow means you may proceed in the direction that the arrow is pointing. A flashing red arrow on your left means you may turn in the direction of the arrow as long as the road is clear of other traffic. A continuous red or green arrow means you may proceed in the direction of the arrow with caution.
- * Roundabouts: Always give way at roundabouts, vehicles on the roundabout and approaching it from the right have right of way, don’t proceed until there are no vehicles approaching from the right.
- * There are road tolls on certain main highways and 'N' (National) roads. Drivers should ensure they have a supply of cash in small denomination notes and coins before setting out on these routes.
Fuel types available in South Africa:
- Unleaded Petroleum (gasoline)
- Check carefully before filling whether your rental car uses petrol or diesel. If you make a mistake do not start the vehicle as severe damage may result and you will be liable for repair costs. Inform service station staff who will assist in arranging for the tank to be drained and refilled with the correct fuel.
- Petrol stations (known locally as garages) accept cash or South African Garage Cards - they do not accept credit cards. When travelling long distances, please ensure that you have sufficient cash to fill up with enough fuel to complete the journey.
- Petrol is available 24 hours per day at all major centres and on all highways.
Parking in South Africa:
- Always park in a safe, designated area.
- When leaving the vehicle unattended, lock all the doors and the boot (trunk).
- Do not leave valuables in the vehicle. Personal property is not usually covered by insurance.
- Do not hand keys to hotel porters to park the vehicle, or leave keys at reception.