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Driving in South Africa

For travellers who are new to car rental or driving in South Africa, we have provided some tips and advice below to help you prepare for and enhance your driving experience  whilst exploring South Africa.

Car Rental in South Africa

•   Most international car rental companies and quite a few home grown ones are represented at major South African airports and city centres. Usually you can make arrangements to pick up at one point and drop off at another, with the major car rental companies. A valid credit card is almost always needed and drivers license for all proposed drivers.

•   Take your own Sat Nav and child seats if you have them and need them. Otherwise hefty additional charges will be levied at a daily rate for both of these items.

•   Watch out for fuel charges and establish the companies ‘re-fuelling policy’ before leaving the building. Some car hire companies use a fuel-empty policy when you pick up your car but you are not offered any refund if you return the car with unused fuel. Others operate on a fuel-full policy meaning your hire car should come with a full tank of fuel and you are expected to return it in a similar state or you will find a surcharge added to your credit card later. Always establish the nearest re-fuelling point to your car rental drop off and retain a receipt for the petrol re-fuelling.

•   Shop around or use a service such as our Rental Cars.com system which will shop around for you and get you the best price according to the category of car you need. And always check if the car is manual or automatic - whichever your preference.
•  

Drivers licences:

  Any valid drivers licence is accepted so long as it has a photograph and signature for the holder and is printed in English. If your license isn’t in English it is easiest to obtain an International Driving Permit before arrival. Legally any driver has to have their license with them when driving. Fines are issued if you do not have your driving license with you.

•  

Rules of the road:

  Drive on the left, wearing a seat belt is compulsory, speaking on a cell phone or mobile whilst driving is illegal and all distances and speed limits are in kilometres. Your hire car will also indicate km/hour on the speedo. Drinking and driving is best avoided.

•  

Speed limits:

  Always watch out for the indicated speed limits which can be dramatically reduced as you approach a built up area. If you are not used to driving long distances then plan carefully and ensure day time and overnight stops are planned.

•  

Filling up:

  Isn’t self service. A petrol attendant will fill up and check your tyre pressure and clean windows. A small tip is usually in order. In country areas there will be far fewer garages and the ones there probably only take cash payment so be prepared.

•  

Safety:

  Don’t pick up hitchhikers - it isn’t worth risking whether they are genuine or not. Be careful when approaching animals in the road - it is their home. If you do hit an animal you will be expected to pay cash for it. It is also safest to drive with doors locked and valuables out of sight in the boot.

•  

Parking:

  If there is street security or car guards on hand outside your hotel, shopping area or when parking on the street - it is customary to offer a tip when leaving your car. R5 should suffice for a couple of hours.

•  

Emergency Numbers:

Rescue: 10177, Police:   10111.
•  

Drivers licences:

   Any valid drivers licence is accepted so long as it has a photograph and signature for the holder and is printed in English. If your license isn’t in English it is easiest to obtain an International Driving Permit before arrival. Legally any driver has to have their license with them when driving. Fines are issued if you do not have your driving license with you.

•  

Rules of the road:

  Drive on the left, wearing a seat belt is compulsory, speaking on a cell phone or mobile whilst driving is illegal and all distances and speed limits are in kilometres. Your hire car will also indicate km/hour on the speedo. Drinking and driving is best avoided.

•  

Speed limits:

  Always watch out for the indicated speed limits which can be dramatically reduced as you approach a built up area. If you are not used to driving long distances then plan carefully and ensure day time and overnight stops are planned.
•  

Filling up:

  Isn’t self service. A petrol attendant will fill up and check your tyre pressure and clean windows. A small tip is usually in order. In country areas there will be far fewer garages and the ones there probably only take cash payment so be prepared.

•  

Safety:

  Don’t pick up hitchhikers - it isn’t worth risking whether they are genuine or not. Be careful when approaching animals in the road - it is their home. If you do hit an animal you will be expected to pay cash for it. It is also safest to drive with doors locked and valuables out of sight in the boot.

•  

Parking:

  If there is street security or car guards on hand outside your hotel, shopping area or when parking on the street - it is customary to offer a tip when leaving your car. R5 should suffice for a couple of hours.

•  

Emergency Numbers:

   Rescue: 10177            Police:   10111
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