South Africa has excellent road infrastructure, wide variety of rental cars, great weather, and plenty sceneries. All of these things make traveling by car enjoyable. Rental car companies are represented at main airports and in most city centers. It is possible to pick up vehicle at one center and dropped off at another with some fees.

In South Africa, valid driving permit is accepted if it is printed or in English and has the photograph and signature of the holder. However, rental car companies require International driving permits. All drivers with National driving permits typed in non-English languages should have International driver licenses. It is permitted to drive with the International driver license for the period that is stated on the license itself.

The main traffic rules are:

  • Traffic flows on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Distances are marked in kilometers; speed limits – in kilometers per hour.
  • Wearing of seat belts is compulsory.
  • While driving, using cell phones without hand-free systems is prohibited.
  • Drinking and driving is prohibited; maximum permissible alcohol blood content is 0.05%.
  • The speed limit on highways, urban freeways, and other major routes is 120 km/h (75 mph); on rural roads – 100 km/h (60 mph); in built-up areas – usually 60 km/h (35 mph).
  • At four-way-stops intersections, the first car that arrives at the intersection has the right of way first; the second arrived car has the next right of way, and so on.
  • Police number is 10111; ambulance service – 10177.
  • While most national roads are in a good condition, many rural roads are poorly surfaced. Many of the national roads between the major centers are toll roads.
  • The minimum driving age is 18 years.

Some additional advices:

  • Don’t stop to feed wild animals; it is dangerous and you can have a hefty fine if you do that.
  • Drive with locked doors and windows up, especially in cities and at traffic lights.
  • Park your car in busy well-lit areas.
  • Don’t leave valuable things on show in a car and lock your car, even if you leave it for a few minutes.
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers; if you are worried about someone on the side of the road, report to the police station in the next town.
  • Ask about areas that tourists should avoid driving through.
  • Don’t get out of your car on the shoulder of the road.
  • If you are broken down, don’t expect anybody assists you.
  • If you see someone broken down or an accident, ask passengers to ring the police from mobile.
  • There are some roads where you would need a car with a 4WD.
  • Tell your family or friends which routes you will drive and where plan to overnight.
  • Avoid traveling at night and unnecessary stops.
  • Always carry your documents when driving.
  • Take care to avoid pedestrians crossing roads or highways.
South Africa Road Traffic Signs

 Driving Overseas - Short Information