Is it Safe To Drive In South Africa?

Driving in South Africa

This question comes up a lot, and there are different ways of answering it! I am always optimistic and a generally positive person. That being said I think it is essential to have a good measure of common sense when traveling anywhere. Especially when driving. So, is it safe to drive in South Africa?

Road Safety

Whilst South Africa is not up to quite the same driving standards as many western countries. You will find that it is much better than in most countries outside of Europe and North America. It is well signposted, and major roads are generally in good condition. I would never consider driving myself in India. I am however happy to drive in South Africa.


First of all, are you a confident driver? Driving in a foreign country can be stressful. If you do not enjoy driving at home, you might not want to spend your holiday driving. I would go as far as saying, that it is not safe to drive in South Africa if you are a nervous driver. There is a lot going on, and a lot to take in.


Let’s say that you are a competent driver. You might have driven on previous holidays in Europe or North America. What makes driving in South Africa different? You will find that you are often approached whilst at intersections and traffic lights by people selling various items. I have found that ignoring them is the best option. It is an unwelcome distraction, but I have never felt threatened by people trying to sell things on the road. They are just trying to make a living, after all. Another distraction that you will not be used to is the wildlife.


You are likely to see a lot of interesting wildlife as you drive around South Africa. Especially if you are visiting a wildlife reserve. For example, there are many wild baboons to be seen when driving around Table Mountain Nation Park. This might be something that you are not used too. So it is important to drive accordingly.

Baboons. Driving in South Africa.
A standoff with some baboons near Stellenbosch

Drive In Daylight

I think this is an important rule to follow. First of all, when I travel I like to see the country I am visiting. This really isn’t possible if you are driving in the dark. I have always found it safe to drive in South Africa, but I have never driven at night. When planning your route, try to avoid long drives that will result in having to drive at night time.


If you are traveling on a well-established tourist route, like the Garden Route. Then I would not expect you to have any issues. If your holiday is taking you a bit off the beaten track then it is a good idea to seek local advice. Why not contact your hotel and ask for any tips for the best route, and where to fill up. Find out about the best stops on the Garden Route.


There are a lot of intimidating figures for violent crime incidents in South Africa. I am not an expert in this, but I believe that most of these crimes take place in the townships, with some in isolated places away from the normal tourist destinations. From the research I have done, the vast majority of visits to South Africa are trouble-free. However it is important to take safety precautions. Stay alert, and avoid unnecessary risks. I like to stick to places where there are other people around. Especially if I am pulling over to go for walk, or fill up the car.

I have been to South Africa several times, and have enjoyed driving there. From my experience it is safe to drive in South Africa. For more tips on driving in South Africa please click here. If you have any advice for driving in South Africa, please add a comment below.

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