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rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

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Vancouver
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rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

I am renting a car in Cape town for 4 days and will be driving to Hermanus and probably the winelands. From there we fly to Kruger where we'll rent a car for 3 days

and drive back to the OT airport. I've booked the airport hotel so I assume we can just walk from Avis to there? My concern is the GPS leading us to the shortest route which may not be the safest.

I'll try to plan our routes in advance and keep to the main highways if possible but paid the extra cash for a GPS and want to be able to use it. Any advice?

1. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

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Removed on: 30 September 2014, 04:33
San Jose, California
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2. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

dd,

We had the same concern as you when we traveled through SA in a rental car. We traveled in a rental car in SA for 17 days with GPS, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth (Cape Town -> Gansbaai -> winelands -> Port Elizabeth. Then from Jo-burg to Kruger and back. So, I will share my experience with you.

1) In addition to our GPS, I always google mapped the directions to the destination the night before to familiarize ourselves with the route to avoid getting lost or into the wrong places.

2) We found that SA has simple and straight forward highways, so rather easy to navigate.

3) We also found that the routes from one touristy place to another touristy place tend to be safe, and rather scenic and enjoyable.

4) Caution: learn from our mistake here...we got lost twice because we entered the wrong destination address into the GPS. First time, we were returning from Kruger to Jo'burg airport. We knew that our hotel was about a 5 minutes drive from the airport, but who knew the location of the hotel was called Kempton Park!! We ended up somewhere in town center Jo'burg after dark and in heavy traffic. We did not feel unsafe or anything, but it was stressful getting lost in the city with slow moving traffic, not sure where we were going, and the kids were starving, and demanding dinner in the back seats.

Second time we got lost was the only time we felt a bit scared driving in SA. We were traveling from the Winelands to Port Elizabeth. Again, we entered the incorrect address into our GPS, we ended up in a town where my husband told me to threw the map I was studying onto the car floor, put the camera away, and lock up the doors. He quickly turned off the main road, and took a smaller back road back to the main highway.

We entered the wrong address because the actual town name was different than the bigger well know name. i,e, we entered Jo'burg as the city for our hotel instead of Kempton Park.

So, double check that the destination address is correct on the GPS, if not sure, call the hotel that you are going to and ask. Google direction the night before, and have paper maps handy in the car too, they are useful if you get lost, or need to verify that you are going on the right way. (Our rental car office had lots of great maps that were free for customers to pick up. Do get the maps that you need there).

We found SA to be a very pleasant country to explore in your own car. Enjoy yourselves!

Johannesburg, South...
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3. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

Driving back from Kruger to OR Thambo there is really only 1 way...and it is on the national roads/ highway all the way, so you really don't need to worry. Where from Kruger will you be driving back?

Basically you'll take the N4 highway all the way, and then at Emalahleni/Witbank the road splits N12 to Joburg and N4 to Pretoria. You take the N12, you'll follow this for about 100km+ , you then get on the R24 and then it is just 5km to the airport...this is the shortest route and the route your GPS should recommend.

No sketchy areas to be worried about.

Edited: 22 August 2014, 08:16
Gold Coast...
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for Kruger National Park
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4. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

Do not worry too much. We have had a few hairy moments just as you describe, although the worst one was in USA not in SA! If you find yourself a bit uncomfortable just turn around or find the shortest route out! We have often driven through areas some might deem to be sketchy in SA and never felt unsafe or had a problem, of course only in daylight though.

Also generally with these things there is an option to choose your route. It could be something like 'shortest', 'no tolls' or 'freeways'. Just choose freeways.

Enjoy, you will have a great time.

Queensland...
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5. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

Some roads have terrible potholes eg R538 along SW boundary of KNP. GPS doesn't know this stuff but Lodge owners do. Most will send you a map on how best to get to yr destination. Saves time and gives surety.

Queensland...
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6. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

Plus i forgot to mention roadworks. These can go on for years! Get local advice re routes.

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7. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

My sister and I just returned from S. Africa. We started with much fear and trepidation, and had our share of getting lost, and even getting lost at night. Never, did we feel frighted or at risk, other than small roads and trucks. I agree that the biggest problem is the potholes. With each of our stops (none pre-planned by the way, and no difficulty in finding accomodations last minute), the lodge owners/workers were more than gracious to help us with our route plan, frequently re-routing us to avoid bad roads or areas. We had no negative experiences at all, and two women in their 60's , had a great time. So, go forth and enjoy!

Vancouver
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8. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

that makes me feel a lot better ! Thanks so much for letting us know :)

South Africa
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9. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

Always ask your lodge owner for help, they know the area the best!

10. Re: rental car with GPS- avoiding sketchy areas

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Removed on: 02 September 2015, 05:15