South Africa offers what’s best in Africa for travellers who enjoy well-maintained holiday infrastructure and an average level of unpredictability. There are plenty of safari destinations scattered around it, the flora and fauna are so diverse that they will melt your heart, and cities are pretty modern in comparison to a number of other African countries.
South Africa is one of the largest melting pots on the continent with plenty of ethnic backgrounds and local traditions creating one unique blend of colourful and smiling residents. The most mesmerising places are, however, the South African cities where the modern and the traditional combine into one perfect ambiance.
South Africa’s legislative capital, Cape Town, ranks among the most romantic places in this part of the continent. It offers a stunning backdrop of Table Mountain, with the surrounding national park, providing travellers with a wide choice of outdoor activities, including hiking, trekking, and walking trips. Start from the city centre and be sure to check out the highlights of the Cape Peninsula, including the False Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard.
One of the most scenic places to visit in South Africa is KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a plethora of interesting things to pursue, vibrant culture, and beautiful vistas that will enrich your African experience. You can start your journey from Durban, which is the industrial hub of the region. Travel to the Elephant Coast, spend some relaxing time on the shores of Lake St Lucia, and admire the stunning coral reefs located near the Sodwana Bay. Among the most interesting towns in this region, you’ll find Zulus, Ondini, Eshowe, and Shakaland.
Even though Guateng ranks among the smallest South African regions, it has plenty of potential. Travel to Johannesburg, one of the riches metropolises on the continent, or Pretoria, which is the country’s administrative capital offering a superb insight into traditional architecture. While in the cities be sure to visit such places as the Cradle of Humankind, the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, Pretoria National Botanic Garden, and Voortrekker Monument.
The Eastern Cape will be an ideal choice for those who would like to spend some time close to natural wonders. Start in Port Elizabeth, which is the province’s main commercial centre, travel to the Addo Elephant National Park to admire majestic animals, and check out Grahamstown for more culinary experiences. You should also visit the Mountain Zebra National Park, the tiny scenic village of Rhodes, and Port St Johns, a brilliant seaside resort.
South Africa might be a new environment for many motorists as it follows left-hand traffic. Don’t worry, you can always start from less frequented places and South African roads aren’t particularly congested.
The state of the roads is usually very good and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the condition of many road sections. The only obstacle is that there are very long distances between major cities in South Africa so make sure to take proper breaks. You can also consider renting a 4x4 off-road vehicle to make your travelling experience even more comfortable.
The minimum driving age is 18, however, many car hire companies require the potential drivers to be as old as 25. Some of them also impose additional fees for your lack of experience.
South Africa has strict regulations concerning seatbelts. They are obligatory for passengers both in the front and in the rear seats. Other restrictions are connected with drinking and driving. In South Africa, you shouldn’t exceed the blood alcohol level of 0.05%. If you fail two tests in a row, you’ll be charged with high fines or even imprisonment.
What’s more, avoid driving and talking on your mobile phone. Instead, invest in a hands-free set or make sure that the car rental company provides you with one.
The documents that you should carry while travelling around South Africa are as follows: driver’s licence and an International Driving Permit. Remember to take care of proper insurance to prevent unpleasant situations on the road.
The speed limits in South Africa are as follows: 60 km/h in built-up areas, 100 km/h in rural areas depending on the roads, and 120 km/h on highways. Speed cameras are both fixed and mobile; however, it’s not illegal to use safety camera warning devices. There are no on-the-spot fines in South Africa. Whenever you are asked to pay in cash to the police officer, you should insist on receiving a proper ticket that allows you to pay the penalty within 14 days.
Remember to always park in the same direction as the traffic flow. You should avoid parking on yellow lines, stop signs, and red road marks. Avoid parking within five metres from an intersection.