I emerged from the aircraft onto the tarmac in Cape Town, out of a 10 hours long flight at 11 in the morning, with bleary eyes. Cold breeze and cloudy sky welcomed me to the Mother City.
Every impression I had about this African country started vanishing as I stepped out of the terminal building after having my passport stamped by an immigration official.
I rented my car through Avis and got a nice deal for the time I rented the car for. If you want to make the most out of your visit, I would suggest you to drive through the N2 road commonly known as the Garden Route, stretching from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
Shortly after landing I drove to the amazing room I had rented in Amber Tree Lodge. The 45 mins drive from the airport to the hostel was truly an unforgettable one.
I was enthralled to see what the Mother City really was. Every turn, every street had its own charisma and the people… Well the friendliest I have ever met.
It was a great start to my one week’s trip along the southern coast of South Africa.
Here are some things you should know if you are planning to rent a car in South Africa.
Where To Hire A Car From?
South Africa has a wide vehicle hire fleets run by international and local rental companies. Most car rental companies are represented at South Africa’s main airports and in most city centres. Vehicles may generally be picked up at one centre and dropped off at a branch in another centre, subject to a fee.
Any valid driver’s licence is accepted in South Africa, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed or authenticated in English.
Keep left, pass right.
South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road, and the cars are therefore right-hand drive vehicles, the gear shift being operated with the left hand.
All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are marked in kilometres
South Africa has excellent road infrastructure which makes driving around the country a viable option by enjoying the stunning scenic beauty.
Usually while parking along the streets you would find people walking upto you and saying “ your car will be taken care” which means they would keep an eye while you are away, which they do. In return he or she would expect a tip between 2 and 5 ZAR.
Even at the fuel stations the attendant would offer to clean the windscreen of the car for which he or she will expect a tip at your discretion, this is usually between 2 and 5 Rands.
What are ‘Robots’ ?
Traffic lights are referred to as ‘Robots’ in South Africa, don’t be alarmed, these are traffic lights and not a programmed mechanical person.
Some Tips along the road.
It is advisable to switch on the headlights of the vehicle to be more easily observed by other drivers.
All the national roads in South Africa have petrol stations with restaurants, restrooms and shops dispersed along the route, use them to freshen-up on the long drives.