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Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

Dubai, United Arab...
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Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

I am travelling to South Africa (Capetown / Johannesburg / ThornyBush Game Reserve) from 10th to 23rd August 2014 with two kids aged 6 & 11. I have hired a car for my entire itinerary. I would like to know how safe is it to drive to and from Johannesburg to ThornyBush Game Reserve ? I have heard about bad road conditions (potholes) and police harassments (bribes etc) are the problems while driving on that route...

Please advise....

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1. Re: Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

Thousands self drive in South Africa every year without major incident.

There are some roads surrounding the Greater Kruger area that are in bad condition (yes, potholes) and others which are currently undergoing upgrading and repair. I don't know what your route is specifically so can't comment on current conditions. Hopefully a local contributor will have advice for you. Use common sense and err on the side of caution - don't drive at night, there are often animal hazards on the road and don't pull over or stop in remote or poorer rural or urban areas. Don't be alarmed by this advice - we have been self-driving all over South Africa and neighbouring countries for 15 years without any problems. It is the best way to experience this part of the world.

I have never had any problems with local police, however there are times that unwary and inexperienced travellers have been conned out of money by traffic police asking drivers to pay 'fines' for arbitrary or ambiguous reasons. Under South African law I understand that 'on the spot' payable fines are NOT issued and if you are stopped and asked to pay a fine then you should ask to be issued with an official notice and ask for the officer's details and directions to his station. DO NOT pay. Be polite but firm. It is a way for some less than scrupulous officers to 'supplement' their income. It is highly unlikely that you will come across such a problem however.

Relax and enjoy your trip.

Dubai, United Arab...
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2. Re: Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

Thank you for your detailed guidelines....

Would also appreciate if you or someone could provide me with the best route option to take while driving from Jo'burg to Kruger....

Raleigh, North...
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552 posts
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3. Re: Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

Just had my first visit to Africa in June, Rented a car at JNB airport. No issues driving around. directions are fairly clear. Google Maps directions were on the spot as well.

Driving to Kruger, we left at 4 AM and got there around 9. Again Google map directions were on the spot. N4 all the way.

Charlotte, North...
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4. Re: Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

I have made 4 self drive trips in South Africa, 3 with a family. I have been stopped by the police at a routine checkpoint, they looked at my papers and then told me where to find a restaurant in the next town. I remember one night we had stpped on the way from Kgaldi to Kruger. We had gone into a restaurant for dinner, and I needed money. There was an ATM just across the street, so I walked over, got my money, and went back to dinner.

You do need to be aware of security issues. At the ATM, I saw older men and women using it, and looked to make sure nobody was loitering in the area. If I stop at a gas station and want to go inside, I park near the door. I look for couples, older people, and women. I avoid groups of young people. That technique has worked for me around the world. I also look at the premises. Is it well maintained with employees visible? Again, I do that everywhere. If the employee is in an armored box, I do not stop.

I am more careful to make reservations in South Africa than I am at home. I make sure my gas tank does not get close to empty. I stay alert of my surroundings and people around me. I look at a business before I stop. Those techniques have worked well for me in South Africa, but they are not really more than I do in other countries.

5. Re: Is it safe to rent a car and selfdrive in SA ??

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