Despite what the newspapers tell you South Africa is no more dangerous than any other popular tourist destination. Car hire in South Africa is as safe and reliable as any other destination. It does though, like every other popular tourist destination, have it share of opportunistic criminals and it pays to be careful. This does not mean however that you need either avoid certain areas or stick exclusively to organised package tours. Tour operators will stick to the safer tourist routes in interest of your safety and their own this will however lead to you missing out on some of the hidden gems in South Africa's rich tourism treasure chest. To get the most from your holiday we recommend you follow our safety tip and use Car hire in South Africa.
First off the basic things to know when you hire a car in South Africa, car hire is easily accessible in all international airports upon your arrival and most should offer the facility for you to pick up your rental car at one major centre in South Africa and then drop it off again at another, should you choose to indulge in a one way road trip.
In South Africa we drive on the left hand side of the road in right hand drive cars and the speed limit and distances are sign posted in kilometres. Most suburban roads have a speed limit of 60 while the inter-city freeways have speed limits of 120 km/h. This can change though so keep an eye out for the signs. There are three different types of octane petrol as well as diesel available at petrol stations in South Africa. Car hire agents will tell you what type of petrol your car will take and be able to update you on the current petrol price.
Although South Africa is no less safe than other destinations it always pays to be prepared and to remain vigilant, there are currently a large number of hijackings occurring at traffic lights at night in South Africa, a hire car will no doubt come with insurance but your life may not. When approaching traffic lights keep an eye out for sinister looking characters, approach the intersection slowly and leave enough space between yourself and the car in front of you in case you need to pull away. Don't be afraid to run a red light a fine is a small price to pay for your personal safety.
Don't leave any valuable visible on the passenger or back seats of the car, even when in the car and driving. There are a high number of smash and grab incidents when cars are sitting in traffic. The best way to avoid these is to not invite opportunistic thieves, leave wallets and camera in the glove compartment or under the seat out of site, wrap the strap of the handbag around the gear lever or hand break.
Following these simple guidelines, most of which are common sense, will help you to make the most of your holiday in South Africa. Car hire is without doubt the first choice for people that want the freedom to enjoy their holiday at the own pace.