Traffic rules

Many people worry about driving themselves in South Africa. Because driving is on the left side of the road, it takes some getting used to. However, with a little common sense, it is not difficult. In general you just follow the traffic flow (roundabouts are taken to the left) and you will not end up on the wrong side of the road. Only on a quiet road, from an exit or after a strange turn you may be inclined to turn right again. It is a matter of regularly reminding yourself of driving on the left. The steering wheel in South African cars is on the right side of the car and you operate the gear lever with your left hand.

For this last reason, clients regularly opt for a machine. Easy to not have to switch and 1 thing less to think about. A vending machine is often more expensive to rent. The availability of vending machines is very limited, especially with motorhome rental. Also when renting a car the range of manual cars is much larger, so let us know immediately if you want an automatic.

We recommend that you choose a somewhat higher car if possible to have a good overview. Along the way you can come across mountainous and rugged areas, hilly landscapes, unscathed roads or roads with potholes (holes). A somewhat higher car will have no problems with bumpy roads or, for example, an unpaved road that leads to your accommodation. It is also nice when your car has sufficient traction, especially when driving through the mountains. If you are only staying in the city, a smaller car may also suffice.

Stop crossing
A special traffic use is the so-called ‘stop intersection’. On the road you see the word STOP written and there is a stop sign (signs are not always clearly visible). If it says STOP, this means actually stopping. Whoever stands still at such a STOP intersection – really stands still – can be the first to drive on. This also means that oncoming traffic that wants to turn off for you has priority if this vehicle was the first to stop. This sometimes goes completely against Dutch traffic rules and you have to get used to that. Forget now the European rule where straight ahead on the same road.

Yellow lines
Another special use is ‘the yellow line’. In Europe this is used to indicate the flight token and you may therefore only cross the line in an emergency. In South Africa it also counts as an escape lane, but here this lane can also be used to pass behind traffic. Out of politeness, slow-moving traffic crosses the yellow line and therefore on the emergency lane and allows faster-moving traffic to pass. As a thank you, the passer-by blinks once with the hazard warning lights when he has passed the slow moving vehicle. It is a friendly intended use, but you have to be careful. There are also pedestrians on this part of the road and cyclists are driving. You can even find cyclists or walkers on the highway!

If you yourself drive slower than the maximum permitted speed, you are also expected to drive over the yellow line. However, do this only if you have a good overview and can see that this strip is completely free for you.


Keep to the maximum speed and traffic rules, just like in the Netherlands. Traffic violations are also punished in South Africa and clients are regularly fined after the trip by the credit card is collected by the rental company. Many car rental companies also charge extra administration costs for collecting via your credit card. After all, the mover pays the South Africa traffic service and has extra work ..
Speed cameras, agents with laser and route controls, they occur all over the country. So make sure you leave on time for your overnight address so you don’t have to rush. Work is regularly carried out on the roads and this often leads to long waiting times. Take this into account and calculate some extra travel time. In the National Parks (for example the Kruger Park) there are also maximum speeds for your own safety and that of the game.

There is unfortunately corruption among agents. In the past this was often a problem for tourists who drove to the Kruger Park. For that reason, flyers are distributed in that area with the clear announcement that it is forbidden to pay a fine cash along the way. If an agent asks you to pay in cash, you know that you are dealing with corruption. In such a case, indicate that you will pay the fine at the police station as it should be. It can help to print this flyer and show it to the agent. Stay friendly, then there are no problems.

In connection with your safety, we advise you to always arrive at your destination before dark, so that you do not have to search in the dark. People regularly walk or cycle along the road or they cross the road, even on highways! You can almost see them in the dark and an accident happens quickly. Animals can also walk on the road in rural areas.

A good habit is to lock your doors when you drive. Especially in the dark it is advisable to keep doors and windows closed under the guise of ‘better safe than sorry’.

Always use your parking brake when parking, it is not as flat here as it is in the Netherlands. Just like in the Netherlands: do not leave any valuables in your car and certainly not in sight. Make sure your car is large enough to place the suitcases / bags out of sight in the trunk.

Finally: when crossing a road on foot: first look to the right, then left and again right.

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