Guide to Driving in South Africa

If you’re coming from the UK, making your way around South Africa will be fairly easy because the traffic is on the left and overtakes are on the right. Most of the cars from the car rental companies have the steering wheel on the right. The road infrastructure is quite good, especially in areas around Johannesburg. Local people are speaking ‘Afrikaans’ but a good percentage also know English, so don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. Unfortunately there are a lot of hijacking cases so you should drive with extreme caution, especially in unpopulated areas. Wildlife can also enter the road, especially at night. Parking it’s allowed only in specially designed places. Usually it’s safe to park on the side of the street where you can see more than 5-7 cars parked. However, at night you should consider parking only in well-lit places. In rural areas it’s not safe to park on the side of the road, unless you’re planning a short stop. The road in small villages is often in poor condition so you should keep your eyes opened for basketball-size holes.

Police cars in South Africa are white with thin blue and bright green stripes on the sides. The word displayed on the sides and on the hood is simply ‘POLICE’. In terms of documents you need just your domestic license (a valid translated copy if it’s in a language different than English), your ID card and the car’s registration certificate.

Essential Driving Information

  • It is considered illegal to use a mobile device while driving. What you should do is pull the car on the side of the road and then use your cellphone.
  • According to South African law, all the passengers of a car must wear the seatbelt at all times.
  • It’s recommended to turn on the dipped beam when the condition becomes dusty or rainy. However, at night it’s compulsory to use the dipped lights.
  • There’s a chance that you’ll be approached by a local in order to offer him a free ride; avoid these types of situations by simply refusing and locking yourself in the car. Never drop the window totally unless you’re 100% that’s safe.
  • Many roads use a toll-system in order to help the economy of South Africa. Be ready to pay anywhere between €2 and €20.
Speed Limits
Town/City: 60kmh (37mph)
Main Road: 100kmh (62mph)
Motorway: 120kmh (75mph)
Emergency Phone Numbers
Police: 10111
Ambulance: 10177
Firefighters: 10111
From a Mobile: 112
General Information (as of 2014)
Min Driving Age: 18
Alcohol Limit: 0.05%
Petrol Price: €1.45/litre
Diesel Price: €1.35/litre
Daddy Car Hire, Advantage Business Centre, 132-134 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, M4 6DE