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South Africa Driving and Travel FAQ


All of the information below is subject to change without notice and is intended as a guide only.

What are the main things I need to know about driving in SA?
Here is a quick guide to driving in South Africa;

  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road, pass to the right.
  • By law you must wear seat belts.
  • All speed limits and distances are in kilometres.
  • The speed limit in built-up areas it is usually 60 km/h (35 mph) unless otherwise specified - look out for speed limit road signs (see below under National roads... for further speed limits).
  • It is illegal to drive while holding a mobile phone - use a hands free kit if you need to talk on a mobile phone.
  • Make sure you follow cars at a safe distance (not too close).
  • At traffic lights, while opposing traffic is slowing to a stop be aware that the drivers on a red light waiting to turn green will already begin to edge forward in anticipation of their pending light change (it’s a bit like the start of a Grand Prix race and and soon as the light turns green everyone is off, trying out for first place).
  • If you are driving in a rural area drive carefully (especially towards evening) and look out for animals (such as large antelope) who may wander on to, or run across, the road.
  • 4 Way Stop signs. Some crossroads have stop signs on all four entries into the junction. You will need to pay attention when approaching as to who is at the stop sign first. The first car that arrives has the right of way whether they are turning left or right or going straight ahead. The second person to arrive has the next right of way and so on.
  • When filling up with petrol an attendant will come and help you (stations aren’t self-help). It is normal to tip the attendant R2.00 - R5.00 (or around R10.00 on longer trips if the windscreen is washed, tyres and oil checked for you etc.).

National roads and highway travelling

  • As drivers do in many European countries, its advisable to turn you headlights on to be more visible.
  • You will find that the national roads have roadside stops with petrol stations, restaurants, restrooms and shops along the way. Make sure you stop often if on a long stretch of your journey and also change (insured) drivers often to avoid getting too tired.
  • The speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is generally 120 km/h (75 mph). On secondary (rural) roads it is usually 100 km/h (60 mph) - look out for speed limit signs.

Safety tips

  • Don’t give rides to strangers or hitchhikers no matter how friendly they appear to be.
  • Keep your doors locked and windows closed (when possible) while driving.
  • If someone approaches your vehicle, open your window only slightly to talk.
  • When possible, travel by day only.
  • Regularly check the oil and water levels of the vehicle and that lights/indicators and tyre pressures are correct.
  • Make sure all personal items are either with you or completely out of site locked in the vehicle (avoid letting others see you lock them away when parking the vehicle too).

Directions
If you are given directions and you are told, for example, to “turn right at the second robot...”, the “robot” is the local term for traffic lights.

Toll roads
Tolls are charged on many of the national roads between the main centres so it’s a good idea to check the amount of toll fees you may need to pay before you set out. Toll fares vary from around R2.50 to R46.00 for a light passenger vehicle so ensure you have either a credit card or cash on hand.

Where are the best places to see?
For an instant guide to places to see and stay, take a look at south africa travel info in the top tool bar of this site.

Can you suggest a range of things to do?
For a list of current and future events and things to do copy and past this address into your navigation bar and search by month to see what is happening;
www.whatsonwhen.com/pages/south_africa.jml

Another great site to look at is southafrica.net/index.cfm, click on the interactive map to see what events and things to do are in each area.

2010 World Cup Finals
Plan for your World Cup finals trip now as South Africa will be hosting the 2010 World Cup finals. Ten stadiums throughout South Africa will stage the games: Free State Stadium (Bloemfontein); King's Park Stadium (Durban); Ellis Park Stadium (Johannesburg); Soccer City (Johannesburg); Mbombela Stadium (Nelspruit); Peter Mokaba Stadium (Polokwane); Nelson Mandela Stadium (Port Elizabeth); Loftus Versfeld (Pretoria) and Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace (Rustenburg).

What will the weather be like?
To see what the weather is like in South Africa today (click on the cities or areas within South Africa that you are interested in for more detailed information and year round historic averages in the History & Almanac section), then copy and paste this address into your navigation bar:
wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=south+africa

Also, for current weather information copy and paste this address into your navigation bar: www.weathersa.co.za/

When are the public holidays?
For a list of public holidays in South Africa this year search for South Africa on: bank-holidays.com


What is the time zone of SA?
South Africa Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). To find the current time in South Africa simple query google with "South Africa Time": google.com/search?q=south+africa+time

South Africa does not operate Daylight-Saving Time
To see what the current time in South Africa is right now (automatically synchronised with the time on your computer) copy and paste this address into your navigation bar:
wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/africa/south-africa/

What is the local currency?

  • One Rand (R) is made up of 100 cents (c).\
  • Notes are issued in R200, R100, R50, R20, R10.
  • Coins come in; R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, & 1c.


Do I need to tip?
Yes it is customary to tip in South Africa. As a guideline here are some common amounts to tip;

  • Restaurant waiters and waitresses:10 - 15%
  • Porters R5.00 per item
  • Taxi Drivers 10%.

When filling up with petrol an attendant will come and help you (stations aren’t self-help). It is normal to tip the attendant R2.00 - R5.00 (or around R10.00 on longer trips if the windscreen is washed, tyres and oil checked for you etc.).

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