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South African Trucking

South Africa driving information.
roads,rules,conditions,distances,tips etc.


Strasse, PLZ, Ort

Strasse, PLZ, Ort



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   Planning your journey 

Spend some time before each journey to plan your route and prepare your vehicle. Study and review your maps. Make sure you know which routes to follow and the estimated time it will take to reach your destination.

The website of
Shell Geostar provides excellent information. Use its “Plan your route” function before you embark on a journey. Current information on South Africa driving and road conditions can be obtained through the Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa.
The distances are long and the roads are straight in South Africa. Often you will find and feel yourself driving in the “middle of nowhere”. Concentration levels tend to drop and fatigue levels become noticeable.
Proper planning of your route and its refuelling, rest and overnight stops will take most of the fatigue and stress out of your journey. Take a 15 minute break at least every two hours and make sure you get good quality sleep every night.
Check the overall roadworthiness of your vehicle before you leave. See to it that the vehicle is in optimum condition. Check the tyre pressures (including the spare wheel), the fluid levels, the windscreen wipers and the lights. Always have enough fuel to reach the next petrol station.

9,600 km of surfaced national highways and metropolitan freeways, including 2,400 km of toll roads of the highest standard. National highways are identified by a number with the prefix “N”. Metropolitan freeways are identified by a number with the prefix “M”.

56,000 km of surfaced provincial roads of a very high standard. Provincial roads are identified by a number with the prefix “R”.

300,000 km of gravel roads in excellent condition, usually identified by just a number. Perfectly driveable with an ordinary 2WD vehicle.

168,000 km of surfaced and non-surfaced urban roads in good condition.

221,000 km unclassified roads in rural areas. South Africa driving conditions of most of them are good enough for ordinary 2WD vehicles.

Metropolitan highway in Pretoria
South Africa Driving, Driving in South Africa Tips and Info
Check it up on Google Maps.

View Larger Map

A summary of all the named routes is available on the
“Routes Travel Info Portal”. Here you will find excellent information on current South Africa driving conditions on the roads and the distances to your destination.

Many of the national highways 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 fees for a light passenger vehicle average from R 2.50 to R 50.00 (South African Rands) and sometimes even more .

There are few roads in South Africa where you would need a 4WD vehicle. Even in the self-drive national parks and off the beaten track safari areas South Africa driving conditions are good enough for standard 2WD vehicles to be able to cope adequately.

Farmroad in the Free State province
 South Africa Driving, Driving in South Africa Tips and Info

Road maps

The different types of roads on the maps of South Africa can be described as follows:

National Highways
, identified by a number with the prefix “N”.
Metropolitan Freeways, identified by a number with the prefix “M”.
Provincial Main Roads, identified by a number with the prefix “R”.
Gravel roads and surfaced secondary roads, usually identified by just a number.
Urban roads and streets.
Unclassified roads, off the beaten track in rural areas, with South Africa driving conditions good enough for ordinary 2WD vehicles.

The Automobile Association of South Africa produces maps, atlases and guides of South Africa which are easy to read, giving you accurate information on South Africa driving directions and conditions.

They are obtainable at most of the bookshops in cities and towns throughout the country. The AA also provides invaluable guides of most of the
major routes in South Africa in the form of strip maps.

The following are a selection of websites where you can access interactive maps of South Africa. They will allow you to zoom in to street level and then print out the map to help you find your way. You will also find information about hotels and guesthouses in the area you are planning to visit.

SOUTH AFRICA MAP,... Find your way on an interactive, multi dimensional, macro to micro map and find addresses, restaurants, accommodation.

SHELL GEOSTAR,... A useful guide. Use it to plan your route, including refreshment stops and toll roads. You can view alternative routes and check journey distances and time.

ANANZI ROAD MAPS,... Search for streets, suburbs, provinces or places of interest. Zoom in, pan around and print detailed maps of the route you have selected.

MORE MAPS OF SOUTH AFRICA,... To help you learn more about the geography of South Africa.

Metropolitan highways around Port Elizabeth
South Africa Driving, Driving in South Africa Tips and Info

Travel distances

The distance table below will give you an idea of the travel distances between the major cities of South Africa. These distances are in kilometres. Divide by 1.6 to convert them to miles.

BLOEMFONTEIN distances in kilometres (km)
628 1660 DURBAN
546 1042 667 EAST LONDON
764 436 1240 630 GEORGE
396 1405 598 992 1168 JOHANNESBURG
175 960 842 722 734 467 KIMBERLEY
454 1463 656 1050 1226 58 525 PRETORIA
754 1779 689 1214 1509 358 832 328 NELSPRUIT
880 1888 809 1334 1616 478 952 436 120 SKUKUZA
676 756 927 300 330 1062 763 1080 1450 358 PORT ELIZABETH
527 1181 436 231 851 866 779 933 1024 839 490  
  1. The AA distance calculator will give you the South Africa driving distances between most of our other cities and towns. All distances shown are based on the shortest practicable routes. They are notnecessarily the best or the fastest.
South Africa , Driving in South Africa

Basic traffic rules,...

South Africa driving rule number one... we drive on the left-handside of the road and all vehicles in south africa are right-hand drive.

The legal driving age is 18.

Distances and speed are measured in kilometres.

Wearing of seatbelts is compulsory.

Operating a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal.

It is illegal to park a vehicle on the opposite side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

The general speed limit on national highways and metropolitan freeways is 120 km/h (75 mph). On public roads outside urban areas it is 100km/h (60mph. Within urban areas it is 60km/h (35mph). Always check the road signs.

It’s a legal requirement to carry your driver’s licence with you when driving in South Africa. Only valid up-to-date and non-endorsed driver’s licences, issued by the country where you live, bearing the photograph and signature of the holder and printed in English are, accepted. To be on the safe side, make sure that you are also in the possession of an international driver’s licence, printed in English.

At a 4-way stop intersection, vehicles from all 4 directions must stop at the stop sign before proceeding to cross the intersection. With more vehicles stopping at the intersection, the rule is first one to stop is first one to move.

If vehicles stop at the same time, common courtesy applies and either vehicle may proceed first. Always ensure that you come to a complete stop before you proceed.

At a 2-way stop intersection vehicles from two opposite directions must stop at their stop signs, while the vehicles from the other two opposite directions have the right-of-way to cross the intersection without stopping. This can be a dangerous situation.

Always ensure that you come to a complete stop before you proceed and make sure that there is no oncoming traffic from the right-of-way directions. Again, first vehicle to stop is the first one to move. When stopping at the same time, common courtesy applies and either vehicle may move first.

Provincial road to Pofadder in the Northern Cape province

In South Africa a traffic light is often called “Robot”. When approaching a traffic light take note of the following;

Stop when the light is red.

If the light is green, you may proceed. Be a defensive driver and slow down at a green light and check the other traffic.

If you are turning right when the light is green, the approaching traffic from the opposite direction has the right-of-way. Wait for the approaching traffic to pass before you proceed.

If you turn left when the light is green, you may do so. Traffic from the opposite direction also turning, must give you right-of-way. Look out and be carefull.

If the light turns amber, slow down and stop, as the light will soon be turning red.

A flashing green arrow indicates you may turn in the direction indicated by the arrow.

A flashing red arrow on your left indicates that you may turn if no other traffic is approaching.

This arrow must be treated as a yield.

A steady red or green arrow indicates that you may proceed with caution.When traffic lights are out of order, you must treat the intersection as a 4-way stop.

Approaching a traffic circle

Always yield to the at a traffic circle.
Vehicles already in the traffic circle and those vehicles entering the circle on your right have the right-of-way.
Proceed with caution only once all vehicles on your right have passed.
Vehicles already in the circle always have the right-of-way

Main road in the Kruger National Park
Driving in South Africa

   Service / Petrol stations

South Africa has a large and widespread network of petrol / service stations along both main and country roads. Most of them are open until late at night or even 24 hrs a day. Along the national highways and main roads they are complete service stations, including restaurants, restrooms, shops and often a repair shop. Ultra City, 1-Stop and Star Shop are familiar names.


These service stations are dispersed along the highways in such a way, that you can make a rest stop every two to three hours. Highway service stations are open 24 hrs a day. South Africa driving distances between petrol stations in the rural areas can be considerable, so it’s important that you plan your refuelling stops carefully.

South African Mining Trucks - Inter links or Super Links

Petrol / service stations in South Africa are not self-service. When you pull into one, you will usually be met by a smiling attendant who will direct you to one of the pumps available. He or she will fill your car, check oil and water, clean the windscreen and, if necessary, check the tyre pressures.

If they don’t, kindly ask them to do it. For this they expect a tip of between R3.00 and R 5.00 (South African Rands). You have a long way ahead of you, so it's good South Africa driving practice to keep your vehicle in an optimum and safe condition.

Shell, Engen, Caltex, Total, and BP, are the most common brands of fuel sold in South Africa. Next to them at almost every petrol station you will find the South African Sasol brand. An excellent quality fuel, produced in our country from coal.

In South Africa petrol may only be purchased for cash, credit cards and cheques are not accepted. Most of the larger petrol stations however, have ATM’s on their site, from which you can draw the cash needed. But, to be on the safe side, always ensure that you have sufficient cash for petrol when you are on the road.

The different types of
petrol available  
in South Africa,are as follows

 Leaded and unleaded petrol. From the beginning of 2006 however all leaded petrol is being phased out, so in the near future only lead-free petrol will be available.

93 octane (premium) and 95 octane (super) petrol is sold in the higher altitude and internal regions of the country.

95 octane (premium) and 97 octane (super) petrol is sold in the lower altitude coastal regions.

And of course diesel is sold at virtually all petrol / service stations.

Petrol prices in South africa are fixed and controlled by the government.
They are between 7 en 8 rands per litre (approximately 1 dollar cents or 65 euro cents per litre.)
At the coast fuel prices are somewhat lower then in the interior

Long Tom pass provincial road in Mpumalanga province
Driving in South Africa

Planning and preparing your journeys in South Africa also means preparing for the event of a road accident or emergency. As a tourist you will most probably be using a rental vehicle when driving in South Africa. Car rental companies usually provide you with a step by step South Africa driving directions guide, for you to follow in the event of an emergency.

Help is only a phone call away. Make sure that you have a fully operational mobile phone at your disposal. This can either be your own, or one provided by the car rental company. It is often part of their rental package.

A comprehensive SOS communication system has been installed alongside the major highways in South Africa. Fixed SOS telephones are spaced at 2km intervals from each other, enabling you to reach help and alarm centres very quickly. Take stock of your surrounding and make an assessment of the situation. Determine on a map where you more or less are.

  When you phone for help have   
  the following information ready

What happened?
Assessment of the situation
The registration number of the vehicle(s)
Colour, Make and type of the vehicle(s)
Driver’s licence details
Where are you situated ? (street/highway name, landmarks etc.)
The condition / damage of the vehicle(s)  
Your (mobile) phone number

If you do not have access to a phone and are unable to obtain help, it might be possible to stop a passing vehicle. Ask the driver to call for help. Relax and stay calm, help is on its way.

To learn more about handling roadside accidents in South Africa

Gravel road and thunderstorm
in the Karoo
Driving in South Africa

Personal safety tips

For tourists, South Africa driving conditions are as safe as in any other destination in the world, provided you take the normal common-sense precautions like you would anywhere else. Simply stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you and you will most likely enjoy a problem-free holiday.

Most of the crime that takes place in South Africa, is between people who know each other. Random criminal acts are the minority of cases. If you are in doubt as to the safety of a particular area or attraction, contact South Africa’s National Tourism information and safety line on 083 123 2345. This number may also be used for practical assistance in replacing lost documents or reporting incidents.

The following safety precaution tips will
help you to stay out of trouble

Check beforehand that the areas or attractions you plan to visit are safe. Ask the staff of your hotel or your host. When in doubt, contact the National Tourism information and safety line at the number shown above.

Avoid visibly wearing cameras, handbags or other valuables in areas that are considered risky.

Do not leave handbags, mobile phones, cameras etc. in full view on the passenger or back seat of the car. Keep them out of sight, or rather lock them in the boot of your car.

Do not stop and wander around in deserted areas off the beaten track, rather stop at open picnic areas or service stations.

Car hijackings do occur in South Africa. You should be on the alert when coming to a halt at a traffic light or stop street, as well as when you are arriving at or leaving premises. Be careful when approached by strangers at these places.

Keep your doors locked and your windows closed at all times.

Do not stop to pick up hitchhikers, however innocent, lost or appealing they may look. If you are worried about their plight, stop at the next town and report it to someone.

When parking, choose busy, well lit or security patrolled areas. At shopping centres and in the main streets of most cities, street security guards will watch over your vehicle in return for a tip. This may be anything from R 2.00 to R 5.00 (South African Rands).

Watch out for con artists. A favoured target is the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Under no circumstances allow a stranger to assist you in your transactions.

Should your card become stuck in the ATM, enter your PIN three times whereupon the machine will retain your card. The card is safe now and you can enter the bank to ask them to release it. Alternatively you can call the helpline number that can usually be found at ATM’s for assistance. 

Beware of confidence tricksters who try and persuade you to invest in their schemes, requiring you to disclose confidential banking details.

To learn more about safe South Africa driving manners and enjoy a problem free holiday in our country, check out South Africa‘s road safety website "Arrive-Alive".


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