Tourist Info

Useful Info

Air Travel

The country's major points of entry are Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airports, while Durban airport also has International status. Among domestic centres served by South African Airways are Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, George, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Upington. British Airways operated by Comair in South Africa and other small airlines serve the lesser towns and main tourist destinations. Air charter services (including helicopter hire) are widely available.

Rail Travel

Spoornet is a South African company that operates in the freight logistics and passenger markets in Southern Africa. In the domestic passenger market, Spoornet provides safe and cost-effective transportation to more than 5-million people each year. South Africa has an extensive rail network that connects all the major centres in the country and is one of the most relaxing modes of transport while giving the passenger a scenic view of the beautiful countryside. Spoornet operates the world-famous Blue Train that travels four return routes: Pretoria - Cape Town (1 Night), Pretoria - Victoria Falls (2 Nights), Pretoria - Hoedspruit (1 Night) and Cape Town - Port Elizabeth, Garden Route (2 Nights).

Metrorail is the preferred operator for urban and suburban rail commuter transport in South Africa. Their core business is to provide rail services that meet the region's needs for affordable public transport. The company strives to be client oriented and are constantly devising ways to enhance their performance with the aim of positioning Cape Metrorail as the first choice of transport in the Western Cape. Metrorail provides extensive coverage in the province with a well serviced line between Cape Town and Simon's Town.

Road Travel

South Africa has an extensive and well-signposted road network comprising some 200 000 kilometers (124,280 miles) of national and provincial highways. Surfaces are generally in very good condition, though the going can be a bit rugged in the remoter and hillier country areas.

Driver's License
Drivers are compelled by law to carry their Driver's Licenses on them at all times when driving. Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland licenses are valid in South Africa. So too are other foreign licenses, provided they carry a photograph and are either printed in English or accompanied by an English-language certificate of authenticity. Alternatively, an International Driving Permit should be obtained before departure.

TrafficMotor vehicles drive on the left side of the road. The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120 km/h (75 mph), that on secondary (rural) roads is 100 km/h (60 mph), and in built-up areas 60 km/h (35 mph) unless otherwise indicated. Note that in South Africa, a set of traffic lights is referred to as "robots".

Main roads are identified by colour and number rather than by name. Using a good map (one which incorporates the route marker system), the visitor should have little difficulty in finding his or her way around city and country.

Road Signs In Afrikaans
Words to watch out for are:

  • Links = Left
  • Regs = Right
  • Stad = City
  • Lughawe = Airport
  • Straat = Street
  • Weg = Road
  • Rylaan = Avenue
  • Hou = Keep
  • Slegs = Only
  • Verkeer = Traffic
  • Oop = Open
  • Gesluit = Closed
  • Gevaar = Danger (Beware Hazard)
  • Verbode = Forbidden, Prohibited
  • Ompad = Detour
  • Tuin = Garden
  • Wildtuin = Game Reserve
  • Strand = Beach
  • Hawe = Harbour
  • Polisie = Police

Third party Insurance
Your motor vehicle must be covered by a Third Party Insurance policy; if you're hiring a car, the rental firm will make the appropriate arrangements; for overland visitors, insurance tokens are available at Beit Bridge and other major border control posts.

Excellent regional and city maps are available from Satour, the Automobile Association, from major book stores and airport kiosks. Recommended are those in the Map Studio series.

Cities, towns and main routes are very well served by filling stations. Many of these stay open 24 hours a day, others from 06:00 to 18:00. Pump attendants see to your fuel and other needs, both unleaded and lead replacement as well as diesel fuel is available.

Automobile Association
The Automobile Association (AA) is the country's biggest motoring club, and provides a wide range of services, including assistance with breakdowns and other emergencies, accommodation reservations and advice on touring, caravanning, camping, places of interest, insurance and car hire. Maps and brochures are available. These services are offered to visitors who belong to the AA or any affiliated motoring organization.

Coach Travel
Luxury coach services link the major centres (Greyhound, Intercape Ferreira, Translux, Trancity); tour operators spread the network wider, taking in game parks, scenic attractions and other tourist venues.

Personal Safety

At Your Hotel
  • Never leave your luggage unattended.
  • Store valuables in the hotel's safety deposit box.
  • Keep room locked, whether you are in it or out.
  • Check who is at your door before opening it.
  • Hand your keys into reception whenever leaving the hotel.
In The Street
  • Avoid displaying expensive jewellery, cameras and valuables.
  • Do not carry large sums of money.
  • Keep away from dark, isolated areas at night.
  • It is better to be in groups and stick to busy well lit streets.
  • Plan your route.
  • Call a taxi from your hotel.
In Your Car
  • Plan your route in advance.
  • Lock the doors and close the windows.
  • Lock valuable items in the boot (trunk).
  • Park in well lit areas at night.
  • Never pick up strangers or hitch hikers.
  • If in doubt about your safety, phone the police or drive to the nearest police station.