How To Road Trip Safely In South Africa


South Africa is a beautiful country and deserves to be explored.  Car hire South Africa gives everyone the freedom to leisurely travel through each province and discover why the country is so special.  Our Around About Cars website has lots of information for road trippers; from public holiday dates to information on the major cities and areas to visit.  All this can be enjoyed as long as a few basic safety rules are followed.

City and Town Driving

Like everywhere in the world, it’s sensible to keep your car doors locked and your windows closed when driving in a town.  If someone comes up to your car at traffic lights or a stop street, don’t be tempted to open the window. 

It is also wise, when travelling through cities, to keep valuable items such as cell phones and handbags out of sight. 

When you are parking your vehicle, ensure that everything is placed in the boot.  There is no need to tempt fate by leaving your laptop sitting on the back seat.

Emergency Pack

In the unfortunate event that your vehicle breaks down or runs out of petrol, it’s wise to have an emergency pack in the car.  This would contain items such as a torch, spare batteries, a litre of water, some snacks and perhaps a pack of cards to alleviate the boredom until help arrives.

Cell Phone

Always carry a fully charged cell phone in the car in case of need, plus a car phone battery charger.  The police emergency number is 10111.

South African Roads and No Go Areas

Generally, the major roads in South Africa are in excellent condition.  However, if you are travelling on minor roads and dirt roads beware of pot holes.  It has been said that in some areas such as the Wild Coast, giraffes can happily hide in them. Hitting a large pothole at speed can seriously damage both you and your car.

It’s important to do your homework and find out if there are any hotspots that should be avoided on your road trip.  Contact a local police station or your embassy/High Commission and they will be able to tell you if there are any no go areas on your planned route.  Never stop for a hitchhiker and if you see someone flagging you down, don’t stop.  Contact the police and explain what you have seen.

On the whole, South Africa has a good road sign system. A GPS is useful for all major routes.  However, some of the smaller roads and dirt roads are not GPS friendly, so travel with a good road map as well.  Be warned that many road names have been changed in all the provinces of South Africa and some road maps and GPS’s haven’t caught up the changes.

Heed the road signs.  If you see a sign with a picture of an elephant, know that it really is a warning that there may be an elephant around the next bend.