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Find out how to Plan the Easiest South Africa Highway Travel


Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast is a great stop on a South Africa road trip.

There aren’t many nations the place you’ll rise up as regards to lions, penguins, and meerkats, hike via verdant mountains, surf on wild seashores, chill out at wineries, and revel in connoisseur feasts multi function shuttle. South Africa is a surprising, various, and reasonably priced nation that’s absolute best explored on a street shuttle.

You’ll be able to learn our detailed South Africa street shuttle itinerary for the place we went, and on this publish I’ll duvet how you can plan your individual easiest street shuttle.


  • Visas
  • When to Pass
  • Getting There and Away
  • Language
  • Protection
  • Automobile Condominium
  • Petrol Stations
  • Highway Stipulations
  • Instructions
  • Opting for Your South Africa Highway Travel Itinerary
  • Cash and Prices
  • Lodging
  • Web and Cell Knowledge Plans
  • Well being and Commute Insurance coverage
  • Meals and Drink
  • What to Pack
  • Really helpful Studying
  • Our South Africa Posts


Many nationalities together with voters of the United States, UK, EU, Canada, and Australia don’t desire a visa for South Africa for visits of 90 days or much less.

South Africa are strict about visa runs, so you’ll’t simply go away the rustic and go back a couple of days later to get any other 90 days. I’ve heard that you wish to have to go back to your house nation earlier than you’ll get any other access, however I’m no longer positive of the precise regulations. We did go back to South Africa for one night time after two weeks in Namibia to transit via Johannesburg. We have been requested about our plans and have been handiest given a stamp for 2 days, no longer the standard 90 days.

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When to Pass

South Africa is within the southern hemisphere so the summer season is from November to February and the iciness is from June to August. The elements is temperate year-round so there may be by no means a nasty time to discuss with.

Our shuttle was once difficult through the truth that the elements differs around the nation. In the summertime Cape The city and the Lawn Direction are dry, however Johannesburg, Kruger Nationwide Park, the Drakensberg Mountains, and the Wild Coast are wet.

Our street shuttle was once from January to February so we had heat climate during, in most cases within the top 20s or low 30s Celsius. It did rain rather a little earlier than we were given to Cape The city (the place there was once a drought), nevertheless it didn’t impact our shuttle an excessive amount of and there have been numerous sunny days. Kruger is quieter and less expensive in the summertime, however natural world is more difficult to look (we nonetheless noticed lots).

Cape The city in February and March was once superb with sizzling, dry climate easiest for seashores and picnics.

It’s absolute best to keep away from mid-December to mid-January when many South Africans commute all over the summer season vacations.

Drakensberg Mountains hike from Monks Cowl

Within the Drakensberg Mountains we had an excellent day for our hike in January (then it rained all day after today).

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Getting There and Away

Until you might be overlanding throughout Africa you’re going to in all probability arrive in South Africa through airplane. The primary global airports are in Johannesburg and Cape The city. Johannesburg is in most cases inexpensive so that is the place we began our shuttle.

The most affordable flights from out of doors of Africa are in most cases from Europe or Dubai. We arrived from London by means of Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airways and left on a right away flight from Johannesburg to Singapore with Singapore Airways. We used Kiwi and Skyscanner to seek for the most productive offers.

We didn’t desire a automotive in Johannesburg, so we took an Uber from the airport (inexpensive than a typical taxi) and again once more 3 days later to pick out up our automotive and get started our street shuttle.

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South Africa has 11 legitimate languages however English is broadly spoken.

Bourke's Luck Potholes on a South Africa road trip

Bourke’s Success Potholes is price a prevent to your method to Kruger

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Previously South Africa has had a name for crime, together with automotive jackings, such a lot of individuals are keen on protection. We felt secure on our street shuttle and didn’t have any issues (our handiest minor problems have been in downtown Cape The city). That mentioned, we did take extra precautions than we in most cases would, simply in case.

  • Don’t pressure at night time.
  • Stay your automotive doorways locked.
  • Don’t go away the rest visual within the automotive, even sun shades. We left our bags within the boot however didn’t open it once we parked someplace.
  • Don’t prevent for someone.
  • Stay the home windows closed whilst riding in towns.
  • Whilst you park in towns there may be in most cases an unofficial guard who will keep watch over your automotive. Tip him a minimum of 2–5R whilst you go away (stay some alternate for this). Cape The city was once the one position on our path that had automotive guards.
  • Look ahead to potholes.
  • Stay to the rate prohibit—on nationwide highways it’s 120km/h (75mph), on secondary (rural) roads it’s 100km/h (60mph), and in built-up spaces it’s in most cases 60km/h (35mph).
  • Be careful for four-way crossroads. All automobiles have to prevent after which the primary person who arrived is going first.
  • Don’t stroll round at night time in towns. We did stroll round in small cities and more secure neighbourhoods like Sea Level in Cape The city. If unsure, ask an area.
  • Watch out in downtown Cape The city, particularly at night time and on weekends, and keep watch over your possessions. That is the one position we had any problems on our shuttle with an tried pickpocket and a threatening beggar.

We did really feel secure in South Africa, even though, so don’t let this recommendation put you off. You simply need to be a little extra wary than in some portions of the sector.

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Automobile Condominium

Our rental car in South Africa on the Swartberg Pass

Our Renault Sandero rent automotive

Automobile rent is rather priced in South Africa and also you don’t desire a 4wd, so we rented the most affordable compact automotive with A/C which value US$12.60 an afternoon together with one-way rate. Our Renault Sandero was once superb, however looking back, a bigger automotive with energy steerage and cruise keep an eye on would were extra at ease taking into account the distances we travelled.

You’ll be able to in most cases in finding the most productive offers on comparability websites like Condominium Vehicles, nevertheless it’s additionally price checking with native firms. As we have been renting for an extended length (36 days), we have been introduced an additional bargain from Round About Vehicles (who sub-contract to Tempest in Johannesburg) so that they labored out inexpensive. The one factor we had was once Tempest charging us a cleansing rate on the finish. We might have wiped clean it ourselves if we had identified this was once anticipated.

If you find yourself evaluating costs you should definitely come with the entire additional fees like contract rate, further motive force, and one-way rate, and you should definitely have limitless kilometres.

You’ll additionally desire a bank card within the motive force’s title for a deposit—a hang of 6500R ($490) was once placed on our card and got rid of on go back.

We at all times purchase separate extra automotive insurance coverage because it’s a lot inexpensive than purchasing the coverage the auto condo corporate tries to promote you. An annual international coverage value us £52 ($67). UK citizens can glance on Cash Saving Professional for the most productive insurance coverage offers.

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Petrol Stations

It’s a good suggestion to not let your petrol get too low as we did come across some quieter stretches with out petrol stations for a couple of hours. Some stations don’t settle for playing cards so stay some money readily available. Maximum stations have a store, bathrooms, and on occasion fast-food shops.

Petrol stations in South Africa don’t seem to be self-service. Keep on your automotive and an attendant will refill for you and ceaselessly blank your windscreen. They are able to additionally take a look at your oil, water and tyre power in the event you ask. It’s normal to tip round 5R—we in most cases gave extra, particularly in the event that they wiped clean the home windows.

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Highway Stipulations

Highway stipulations are typically excellent in South Africa and we hardly encountered site visitors (Cape The city is the key exception). Even supposing the primary roads are in most cases tarmacked there are sometimes rougher sections with potholes. We additionally needed to pressure on bumpy filth tracks for brief sections to succeed in a few of our lodging as we selected extra remoted places. Our little automotive controlled the filth roads superb, if slightly uncomfortably.

There are rather a couple of toll roads. We drove on 5 of them which value from 43–78R ($three–6). Stay money for those as they just settle for South African playing cards.

Planning a road trip in South Africa - cows on the road are a potential hazard.

Cows are a possible danger! This was once close to Graskop however there have been lots close to Espresso Bay too.

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We purchased a SIM card and knowledge plan (see underneath) and used Google Maps for instructions, which labored properly. The one space it didn’t paintings was once Better Kruger as Google Maps didn’t know that you simply needed to go away the non-public reserves and input via legitimate Kruger Nationwide Park gates. Simply you should definitely get instructions in the event you keep at a safari hotel.

We had 3G or a minimum of Edge nearly all over the place we visited. In the event you get started turn-by-turn instructions when you’ve got sign they are going to proceed even supposing you lose connection.

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Opting for Your South Africa Highway Travel Itinerary

There are such a large amount of puts to discuss with in South Africa. I like to recommend getting inspiration from blogs and a guidebook (we used Lonely Planet South Africa) and making a customized Google Map with pins for the entire puts you have an interest in visiting. You’ll be able to then calculate how lengthy it’s going to take to commute between them and determine a logical path. One-way condo charges and home flights are reasonably priced so there’s no wish to pressure again on your start line.

Custom google map for South Africa road trip ideas

The map I created when first saving concepts of the place to discuss with in South Africa

We spent 36 days (together with 3 days initially and not using a automotive) riding from Johannesburg to Cape The city by means of Kruger Nationwide Park, the Drakensberg Mountains, the Wild Coast, and the Lawn Direction. You’ll be able to see our detailed South Africa street shuttle itinerary.

I extremely suggest this path when you have the time because it coated quite a lot of landscapes and actions. In case you have much less time, you have to make a selection one phase comparable to Kruger from Johannesburg (learn our Kruger self-drive information) or the Lawn Direction from Cape The city.

Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route - a great place for a South Africa road trip

Robberg Seaside in Plettenberg Bay at the Lawn Direction

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Cash and Prices

The native foreign money is the South African Rand (ZAR). The present change fee is 1 USD = 13 ZAR and 1 GBP = 17 ZAR.

Bank cards are ceaselessly permitted however no longer at all times, so stay some money on you. Many ATMs rate withdrawal charges. FNB doesn’t however the most quantity you’ll withdraw is 2000R ($152). There aren’t any ATMs in small cities like Espresso Bay at the Wild Coast so replenish earlier than you cross.

To trace our bills on our travels, we at all times use our iPhone app, Path Pockets. We spent a mean of £52/ $65 consistent with particular person consistent with day on our 36-day street shuttle staying in mid-range lodging and consuming out continuously (we did self-cater on occasion). See our South Africa commute prices publish for an in depth breakdown.

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The view from our terrace at Orange Grove Farm in Robertson

The view from our patio at Orange Grove Farm in Robertson

We most commonly stayed in at ease, mid-range lodging that we discovered on Reserving.com. Self-catering could be very in style in South Africa and we nearly at all times had a kitchen, both personal in a bungalow/area or shared in a hostel.

A few of our favourites come with Havana Nights in Graskop, Forellenhof Farm in Wakkerstroom, Barren region Seaside Hotel in Barren region, The Edge in Hogsback, and Orange Grove Farm in Robertson (our favorite and utterly definitely worth the splurge!).

You’ll be able to learn extra about them in our publish on particular puts to stick in South Africa.

Hostels are referred to as backpackers in South Africa and there are some excellent ones with personal rooms as great as resorts (comparable to the ocean view room at Buccaneers in Chintsa). Dorm rooms are best in the event you’re on a good price range.

Airbnb is a great choice in towns however restricted all over the place else. We stayed in superb Airbnb flats in Johannesburg, Plettenberg Bay, and Cape The city. In the event you haven’t used Airbnb earlier than, join right here for $39 off your first keep.

We additionally stayed in a couple of government-run SAN Parks camps in Nationwide Parks. The lodging isn’t superb however you’ll’t beat the settings. Relaxation camps are probably the most reasonably priced choice in Kruger Nationwide Park (ebook upfront as they’re in style) and one of the simplest ways to do the cheap self-drive safari.

Klaserie Sands River Camp Review - the lounge

The pretty front room/bar at Klaserie Sands River Camp. There are handiest four rooms so it felt like our personal villa!

The most efficient puts we stayed have been the 2 safari hotels in personal sport reserves that border Kruger Nationwide Park—learn our critiques of Klaserie Sands River Camp and Umlani Bushcamp. If you’ll have the funds for it, a safari hotel is definitely price it.

We booked all our lodging upfront. We booked our Kruger camps about 3 months upfront (as some distance upfront as imaginable is absolute best) and different stops for our first two weeks (together with 8 days in Kruger) two months upfront. Out of doors of Kruger, I’m positive we might have discovered availability on Reserving.com closer the time even though.

Midway via our street shuttle I booked lodging for the rest few weeks. Some puts we would have liked to stick have been already booked up however there have been numerous possible choices. It’s good to almost definitely ebook as you cross, particularly out of doors of the summer season, however we most popular to have all of it looked after.

You’ll be able to see precisely the place we stayed in our street shuttle itinerary.

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Web and Cell Knowledge Plans

WiFi is typically sluggish and no longer all lodging has it (or it’s handiest in commonplace spaces). Some backpackers rate for WiFi.

We discovered a cellular information plan a greater method to keep hooked up. We purchased a Vodacom SIM for 105R ($eight) from the Vodacom store at Johannesburg airport and a 10GB information plan for 599R ($45). SIM playing cards are inexpensive in different places nevertheless it was once more straightforward to shop for it on the airport.

We had 3G as a rule nevertheless it on occasion dropped to Edge in additional far flung spaces. We didn’t have any sign within the personal sport reserves and out of doors of the camps in Kruger Nationwide Park.

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Well being and Commute Insurance coverage

Malaria isn’t found in many of the nation excluding the some distance northeast. Chances are you’ll wish to believe taking antimalarial tablets in case you are visiting Kruger Nationwide Park. It’s absolute best to get a physician’s recommendation earlier than you commute.

Faucet water is secure to drink in South Africa. We did get ill at the Wild Coast so you could wish to watch out there.

Commute insurance coverage is very important in case the rest is going improper. We use True Traveller insurance coverage, which is the most productive and least expensive choice we’ve discovered for UK/EU voters. If you’re from out of doors Europe, we suggest International Nomads, which is a well-respected corporate with superb protection.

Taking a break on a horse riding trip in Underberg in the Drakensberg Mountains

Taking a destroy on a horse using shuttle in Underberg within the Drakensberg Mountains

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Meals and Drink

Wine is excellent and reasonably priced—don’t omit a discuss with to the Cape Winelands. Appletiser is a scrumptious glowing 100% apple juice made in South Africa.

Maximum eating places serve all kinds of global delicacies such as you’d be expecting in the United States or UK. There are some conventional African dishes however those come with meat. Indian meals is a better choice for vegetarians.

Nearly all eating places have vegetarian choices even though they may not be very thrilling in rural spaces. We ate a large number of toasted cheese sandwiches, Greek salads, and pizza. The meals in Cape The city is far better—see our favorite vegetarian-friendly eating places in Cape The city.

Self-catering is in style and also you’ll most likely have get admission to to a kitchen and/or braai (fish fry). South Africans like to fish fry. There are many supermarkets like SPAR and Select n Pay. Woolworths is a extra upmarket choice very similar to M&S in the United Kingdom. Glance out for farm stalls, which can be small stores promoting tasty do-it-yourself merchandise like bread, jam, and baked items.

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What to Pack

A couple of pieces that will be helpful:

  • South African energy adapter – They use a around three-pronged plug that isn’t incorporated in common adapters.
  • Water bottle – We use this Vapur Component foldable one who doesn’t soak up a lot area when no longer in use.
  • Digital camera with an extended lens (for safaris) – I used my mirrorless digicam, the Olympus OMD-EM5 and the Olympus 75–300mm lens. This can be a a lot smaller, lighter combo than an SLR with telephoto lens and labored properly.
  • Spare digicam batteries and reminiscence playing cards – You’ll be taking a large number of footage!
  • Binoculars – We didn’t have any however ceaselessly wanted we did on safari.
  • Torch/flashlight – This was once helpful on safari.
  • Insect repellent
  • Moveable battery charger – Helpful if you wish to keep in remoted off-the-grid places (Umlani Bushcamp didn’t have energy issues in our room).

Differently, we simply packed our standard garments, electronics, and toiletries in our carry-on measurement backpacks—see our carry-on packing listing.

Tortuga Outbreaker backpack review: a detailed review of the best carry-on backpack

Simon together with his Outbreaker backpack in Barren region

Once we were given to South Africa we stocked up on fundamental self-catering provides at a grocery store in addition to a tupperware pot for storing leftovers and a flask for espresso within the automotive. Simon in most cases made his personal together with his AeroPress espresso maker. A cooler would even be helpful for storing perishables and chilly beverages on lengthy drives however we controlled with out.

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Really helpful Studying

I feel it’s necessary to have an working out of new historical past earlier than you discuss with. In the event you handiest learn one ebook, make it Nelson Mandela’s inspiring autobiography Lengthy Stroll to Freedom. See my listing of alternative South Africa books to learn earlier than you discuss with.

We extensively utilized the Lonely Planet South Africa guidebook on our Kindle.

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Our South Africa Posts

For extra about our reviews in South Africa, check out those posts:


  • The Very best South Africa Highway Travel Itinerary
  • How A lot Does a South Africa Highway Travel Price?
  • 12 Books to Learn Sooner than Visiting South Africa


  • Kruger Safari on a Funds: Find out how to Plan the Easiest Self-Pressure Travel
  • Which Kruger Safari is Proper For You? Self-Pressure vs Personal Resort
  • Klaserie Sands River Camp: An Intimate Safari Resort in Kruger
  • Umlani Bushcamp: An Reasonably priced Eco Safari Resort in Kruger

Cape The city

  • The 28 Very best Issues to Do in Cape The city
  • The 25 Very best Vegetarian-Pleasant Eating places in Cape The city
  • Riding the Cape Peninsula on a Harley Davidson
  • Cape The city From Above: A Helicopter Travel Over the Town

Different Locations

  • Surprising Franschhoek: The Very best Base for South Africa’s Cape Winelands
  • Meerkats, Mountains and Caves in Oudtshoorn
  • Find a Other Aspect of South Africa in Espresso Bay

We had a great time street tripping throughout South Africa. I’m hoping this publish has helped you propose your individual street shuttle—let me know when you have any questions.

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How to plan a South Africa road trip including itinerary ideas (such as Johannesburg to Cape Town or the Garden Route), car rental, safety, costs, how to find accommodation and other tips for an amazing road trip.

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Similar posts:

  1. The Very best South Africa Highway Travel Itinerary
  2. How A lot Does a South Africa Highway Travel Price?
  3. Cape The city From Above: A Helicopter Travel Over the Town