Basics – Driving in South Africa

more than a year ago


A highly controversial e-toll system was recently introduced on Gauteng’s roads. There are 42 gantries on the N1, N3, N12 and R21 freeways which scan cars as they pass under and electronically register a toll charge for each vehicle. Day passes are available for visitors: prices start at R30 and costs depend on the class of vehicle. Day passes must be purchased before travelling. Ask your car rental service for advice on what kind of pass you will need.

Roadside attractions

A comedian once remarked that instead of quibbling over whether or not to call traffic lights ‘robots’, as we do in South Africa, we should simply call them ‘marketplaces’. He was spot on: at Joburg’s traffic lights you can buy anything from cell phone chargers to ballpoint pens while encountering some people who busk, juggle, wash car windows or beg. While most people whose workplaces are at the traffic lights ply an honest trade, don’t take any chances. Make sure all valuables, including handbags and cellphones, are not visible and are safely stowed in the boot of your car.

Driving cross-border

Driving across into Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique shouldn't present you with any difficulties, just check beforehand with your rental car company that you are insured outside of South Africa and that you have the relevant documents. For those heading off on long cross-continental journeys a visit to the AA Travel Experience is highly recommended to stock up on advice on routes, documentation and insurance.


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