FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Africa Motorhome Rentals
Our road infrastructure is excellent, so driving is a viable option, but South Africa is a huge country not easily traversed in a day, so plan your journeys carefully. If you're not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents.
While most national roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced.
Road info, maps
Current information on the conditions of roads can be obtained through the Automobile Association of South Africa. The AA also provides invaluable guides for road users in the form of strip maps tailored for specific destinations and information for tourists on accommodation en route.
Main roads are identified by colour and number rather than by name, and with a good map which incorporates the route marker system, visitors should have little difficulty in finding their way around.
* Maps of South Africa
* Automobile Association of SA web site
* Shell Geostar
Before you set off, check your route. Many of the national roads between the major centres are toll roads. Check the toll fees before you leave, and make sure that you have either a credit card or cash to pay. Toll fares for a light passenger vehicle vary from R2.50 to R46.00.
∑ Routes Travel Info Portal: Toll Roads
Driving at night
Driving at night is highly unadvisable, if you are late for arrival at a lodge, donít drive faster to save time, rather slow down, accept the fact you are late and concentrate on making sure that there are no animals on the road.
Large antelope crossing the road can also be a hazard in certain areas Ė watch out for the road signs depicting a leaping antelope, and take it slowly, especially towards evening.
Keep left, belt up, think kilometres
The most important thing to remember is that in Souterhn Africa, driving is on the LEFT HAND SIDE of the road.
All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are in kilometres.
Wearing of seat belts is compulsory.
Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law -use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit, if you want to speak on your mobile phone. The law prohibits the use of hand-held phones while driving but that doesnít stop most of the locals from using them.
The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph). On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph). In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph) unless otherwise indicated. Check the road signs.
Any valid driverís licence is accepted provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed in English.
A variety of petrol (gas) stations are situated on both main and country roads. Most of them are open 24 hours a day, although some keep shorter hours. However, distances between towns (and therefore between petrol stations) are considerable in some parts of the country, so it is advisable to fill up your tank before it starts giving warning signals.
Different petrol types are available: unleaded, and 95- or 93-octane ("super" or "premium"). The 95-octane petrol is available in the higher altitude, inland regions, while 93 or lower is used at the coast. New fuel specifications will be in effect from January 2006, when all petrol will be lead free.
If you are hiring a car it is likely to require unleaded petrol, but check before you set off.
South African petrol stations are not self-help: an attendant will fill the car, check oil and water and tire pressure and, if necessary, clean the windscreen -for which he or she will expect a tip of two or three rand.
Camping and caravaning is permitted in most of the parks. In most a campsite is open to either tents or caravans, however Tsitsikamma and Wilderness have specific sites. For the other parks, a maximum of six persons, one caravan with a side tent and one vehicle, or one tent and one vehicle, or one autovilla, or one motorised caravan will be permitted per site. In the case of camping with a small tent, more than one tent will be permitted on a site, provided the maximum number of 6 persons is not exceeded. Most campsites are have sites equipped with power points although in some cases this only applies to a portion of the sites (consult specific park for details). Visitors may use generators from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset only. Communal kitchen and ablution facilities are available in all the camps.
In Kruger a communal freezer is available for campers at Malelane, Balule and Maroela. Cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery are not provided. Although ground sheets may be used in the restcamps, specific arrangements must be made at the reception office of those camps where lawns have been planted.
Camping is offered at Addo Elephant, Augrabies Falls, Bontebok, Golden Gate (Glen Reenen), Karoo, Kgalagadi, Kruger, Marakele, Mountain Zebra, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld, Tsitsikamma (Stormís River and Nature's Valley), Vaalbos and Wilderness. In Kruger the following restcamps have camping: Balule, Berg-en-Dal, Crocodile Bridge, Letaba, Lower Sabie, Malelane, Maroela, Pretoriuskop, Punda Maria, Satara, Shingwedzi and Skukuza.
ALWAYS KEEP PLENTY OF DRINKING WATER!
* Observe traffic signs, especially those indicating to reduce speed, or a curve or turn ahead, always reduce speed accordingly.
* On gravel roads, when approaching oncoming traffic, reduce speed and stick as far to the left as conditions allow.
* In wet or rainy conditions always take extra care to look out for streams or flowing rivers. Always slow down when driving through a drift or riverbed, you can easily strike a rock or tree stump.
* Try not to hurry, leave earlier and set your watch to African time, enjoy the day and your surroundings.
* You should check tyre pressures as often as possible, even up to every 250 km.
* When driving in sand you can let your tyres down as low as possible (but not so low as to damage the side wall or that rocks can impact the rim). Don't forget to pump tyres up to their recommended pressure again as soon as you are back on hard surface.
4x4 - Safety Tips
* Your 4x4 vehicle is intended to make it possible for you to drive where an average vehicle cannot.
* When 4x4 is not engaged, the two rear wheels drive your vehicle. You should keep the vehicle in 2x4 at all times on tarmac roads.
* You should engage 4H (4x4 high speed) only when needed, such as on sub standard gravel roads.
* When driving in sandy, muddy or rugged conditions below 40 km/h you should use 4L (4x4 low speed).
* You may change from 2H to 4H while driving the vehicle at a speed up to 40 km/h. Any other gear changes must be performed when the vehicle is at a complete standstill.
* The main reason 4H is advised for gravel roads is that it offers better traction when driving on slippery surfaces.
4L offers you more strength and power that will enable you to pull out of sand if you get stuck.
* The differential stops your vehicleís wheels from spinning and should only be engaged when needed (thick sand, mud, icy conditions).
* You must always disengage the differential lock when it is not needed to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the axle and on the tyres.
* To disengage 4x4, you must stop, engage 2H, reverse the vehicle for 3Ė4 m and then pull away, this enables the automatic free running hub to unlock.