Your guide to choosing a suitable vehicle to travel through South Africa
What is great about travelling through SA in a car?
It’s hard to make the most of South Africa without having your own vehicle for at least part of your holiday. Public transport within cities is very limited and between them, almost non-existent.
Uber operates in the major centres, and it’s very useful for short rides to restaurants and beaches, but most of South Africa’s highlights are outside urban areas – even the Cape of Good Hope is almost two-hours’ drive from Cape Town’s city centre.
A car gives you the freedom to explore the many attractions outside the cities, and to do so at your own pace. A regular car will get you almost everywhere. The national highways are excellent and even the rural dirt roads are generally well maintained and suitable for sedans. There are some notable exceptions, but if you’re sticking to the towns, cities and major parks, then a car is all you need.
For long road trips, they’re also the most economical option for the distances you’ll be covering. Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is 900 km via Cape Agulhas and the Garden Route, and that’s without any sightseeing detours on the way. If you’re driving in summer, make sure you have air conditioning – it can get very hot throughout the country.
Self-drive is also the most affordable way to go on safari. Kruger National Park and most others are 100% accessible to normal cars. The only limitation with sedans is that they tend to be relatively low to the ground – not the ideal vantage point for game viewing. Most travelers opt for booking a vehicle with car hire South Africa to accommodate their travel plans. South Africa drives on the left and the speed limit is 120 km/h on highways, and normally 60 km/h in town. Speed control cameras are commonly used. South Africans also have a tendency to call traffic lights ‘robots’ so keep that in mind if you’re ever asking for directions.