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Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

seattle
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Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

We are planning our trip (first) to South Africa next April/May. I will be renting a car for self-drive at Johannesburg airport, dropping it in Cape Town. I am trying to work out a daily driving schedule, not knowing the N2 road conditions, traffic, issues, etc. I am hoping for some advice on the feasibility of my plan, ie., are the distances for a day drive practical. I am estimating that a 200 mile drive should take about 4 hours. I have tried to limit driving time on driving days to 4-6 hours. Does this seem reasonable?:

1. From Madikwe Game Reserve (Botswana border) to Emalahleni (219 miles)

2. Emalahleni to Phinda Game Reserve (249 miles)

Then when we continue the journey down the N2, our plan is:

3. Phinda to Port Shepstone area (270 miles)

4.Port Shepstone to Umtata (202 miles) Question, should we take the N2, or Rte 61? On my map, R61 suggests "untarred" roads. Are these the roads that some rental companies do not allow for travel?

5. Umtata to Grahamstown (222 miles)

6. Grahamstown to Addo Elephant Park (only 62 miles)

7. Addo to Wilderness (224 miles)

8. Wilderness to Swellendam (167 miles)

9. Swellendam to Hermanus (90 miles)

From there we plan to drive up into the Winelands for a number of days, and finish in Cape Town for a number of days.

As I said, I am most interested in learning if my day driving down the coast is reasonable. I do not want to drive after dark anywhere. I just don't know enough about the road conditions to judge whether this makes for a good itinerary. Thanks for any comments.

Queensland...
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1. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

Wise questions. Driving in RSA not to be compared with USA. Def never do long trips at night on highways/seconary routes. Many people are killed hitting broken stationary vehicles, cars without lights or collide with pedestrians, domestic animals etc. Plus the road behaviour by many drivers here in RSA is frankly dangerous/reckless eg overtaking on double white lines etc.

1) Last yr we drove from JBG to the centre of Madikwe. Road was fine and took 4.5 hrs. But getting out of JBG takes 20-30mins and you won't have that. You drive east of JBG. If you do morning game drive you can still make yr destination by 5pm.

2) This will test you but if you leave early certainly doable. We recently drove from Nelspruit to just beyond Phinde. The drive from Nelspruit to Piet Retief took us through lovely scenary and very little traffic with exc roads. On N2 we hit many many trucks carrying ore from various mines to Richards Bay. So factor that in and allow 6.5hrs for this stretch.

3) N2 becomes a toll road as you turn south after Hluhwe. This speeds things up considerably. But not sure re south of Durban what to expect.

4&5. This stretch has a bad reputation re road conditions and i would seek detailed specialist knowledge including conferring with car hire company.

6-9. Fine.

I 100% concur with yr aim to limit driving to 4-5 hrs max per day. It requires substantial concentration and any longer will detract substantially from yr enjoyment. Use for 50mph as yr av.

Have a safe enjoyable trip.

Cape Town
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2. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

How many days do you have at your disposal? You seem to be doing an awful lot of driving and this is tiring when you have to avoid animals and pedestrians on the road. I would rather spend my time at destinations.

Queensland...
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3. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

Bytheway i assumed you are not doing the trips described above on consecutive days eg. you spend a few days in Phinda, Port Shepstone etc.

seattle
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4. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

MGM 1954. I want to thank you for your very helpful commentary and suggestions. After reviewing your comments, I have re-plotted our trip. After 3 nights in Phinda Game Reserve, we will drive to Durban, and spend 3 nights in the Durban area. Then I have decided to turn in the car in Durban and fly to Port Elizabeth, where I will again pick up a car and continue the journey as planned -- thus avoiding the N2 drive from Durban to Port Elizabeth. Thanks so much for your very helpful advice. I feel much more comfortable with this plan.

Queensland...
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5. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

Good idea to fly from Durban to PE. Why take unnecessary risk? But please visit/stay at the KZN south coast. It is very beautiful.

Cape Town
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6. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

Quite agree with your revised plans. Suggest you find accommodation on the North Coast KZN close to the Airport - the beaches and scenery are lovely there.

Cape Town
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7. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

Quite agree with your revised plans. Suggest you find accommodation on the North Coast KZN close to the Airport - the beaches and scenery are lovely there.

8. Re: Driving in South Africa along eastern coast

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