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Questions on Driving

In cooperation with: Cape Town Tourism
Connecticut
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Questions on Driving

Hello,

I am trying to plan a trip to Cape Town and Johannesberg. My mom and I would fly into Cape Town rent a car, spend several days, then fly to Joburg and rent a car, driving out to Kruger. First, is it safe for two women to drive about these areas? Second, is it necessary to obtain an international drivers license?

Thank you so much in advance for your help and guidance!

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Questions on Driving

It should be no problem. The drive from Johannesburg to Kruger is easy enough. Buy a good map. I got stopped at a road checkpoint in March without an International Drivers License and was not so much as asked about it. The checkpoint was a reguler drivers license type checkpoint like you see in the USA, not a big deal at all. The officer was polite and efficient.

I plan my driving in South Africe so that I am on the road in the daytime. You may encounter pedestrian traffic, animals, and other possible hazards (at least on secondary roads), and I feel more comfortable being on the road in the daytime. The roads are well marked and in decent condition. One thing to be alert for, when you drive into towns, the roads seem to be marked with signs to the next town instead of by highway number like in the USA. It helps to have a passenger who can read the map, or to make sure you know the next town on your route.

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: Questions on Driving

The previous post pretty much says it all. Daytime driving only. Getting through the towns requires concentration and close attention. Don't be surprised if you miss a turn and have to go back and take a different road. Don't be shy about asking for a little help. Gas (petrol) stations are all serviced by attendants who pump your gas, wash the windshield. Tip them 5 rand or so.

Driving in Cape Town can test your nervous system as you deal with speedy drivers on the freeways, lots of one-way streets in the center of the city, streets that actually change names sometimes. Just take your time.

You absolutely do not need an International Drivers license. An air-conditioned car is a plus; it can be warm and humid in much of the year - plus being able to drive with the windows up helps keep your focus on the driving. Is that TOO much advice? Not really.

As for safety, you will look like all other ladies driving around; they do it all the time all over the country. I would relax on that one.

Dave Patterson - Owner, The Africa Safari

Cape Town
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3. Re: Questions on Driving

Another one in agreement with the two above.

One extra point, to help find your way around. If you have a SatNav - Garmin or TomTom - back home, download the SA maps and ring it with you. Alternatively rent one with your car for a small daily fee. Since having a TomTom I find it absolutely invaluable for driving round the country and in Cape Town, as a first time visitor, it can save you hours of frustration. A lovely lady (you can choose a smart guy!) guides me perfectly round the city and never shouts at me if I get it wrong - just tries again!

Connecticut
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4. Re: Questions on Driving

Thank you all for your helpful hints. Can you give me an idea on how much it might cost to rent a car for 2 weeks? We would be picking them up at the airports, if possible. Again, I appreciate your guidance very much!!

Ohio
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5. Re: Questions on Driving

Just returned. International driving license NOT needed. Husband and I felt safe in daytime. Traffic at rush hours awful(remember wrong side of road driving) Consider staying in Stellenbosch 30 min out Smaller quiet safe Lovely room at Marvilla Guesthouse , very convenient, nice hosts good food! Kathi

Ohio
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6. Re: Questions on Driving

Just returned No international license needed Rush hr traffic BAD Remember drive on :"Wrong side" We stayed in Stellenbosch between airport and Cape Town(Mavilla Guesthouse excellent) Easy to reach on jet lag. Easy 25 min into Capetown. Felt safe in Capetown but only there in daytime. Be sure to have money/passort in money belt/pouch and just be smart

Ohio
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5 posts
30 reviews
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7. Re: Questions on Driving

Just returned No international license needed Rush hr traffic BAD Remember drive on :"Wrong side" We stayed in Stellenbosch between airport and Cape Town(Mavilla Guesthouse excellent) Easy to reach on jet lag. Easy 25 min into Capetown. Felt safe in Capetown but only there in daytime. Be sure to have money/passport in money belt/pouch and just be smart

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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8. Re: Questions on Driving

You may receive a lot of recommendations for rental cars. The one I suggest, and use myself, is the International Visitor Special rate with AVIS - http://www.avis.co.za/main.aspx?ID=920 (which is the entry page for pricing a car with this special rate). It shows right now that it's only good through July - but it will price your car for rental periods far beyond that. The smallest car I recommend is the VW Polo - and the Group B Polo is air conditioned. You just book the cars on this site - no prepayment needed. Good insurance, unlimited mileage. And the main reason I suggest AVIS is - it is by far the largest of the car rental companies.. always a good feeling to know they have an office near you wherever you are.

Dave Patterson - Owner, The Africa Safari

Finland
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9. Re: Questions on Driving

I hope the op doesn't mind me asking this, but is it safe to have a navigator like Tom Tom visible in the car when driving? I've been advised to keep all the valuables out of sights even when driving.

Finland
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10. Re: Questions on Driving

Is it O.K. to have a navigator like Tom Tom visible in the car? I've been advised to keep all valuables out of sight even when driving with windows closed.

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