Guide to Driving In South Africa - Drive Safe in South Africa

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in South Africa and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.


60 kph

More info  


100 kph

More info  

motorway speed limit

120 kph

speed limit
More info  

Drink Drive Limit


drink and drive limit
More info  
You drive in South Africa on the Left side  
The currency in South Africa is ZAR
To rent a car is  18 years and to drive is 18 years of age
Current fuel price in South Africa 0.81 €/Ltr

Driving Laws in South Africa

Driving in South Africa
Pocket guide to driving in South Africa
South Africa
Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Pretoria
Driving in South Africa
SPEED: (kph)
Speed limit in South Africa
Rush hour in South Africa
Speed cameras in South Africa
Fuel prices in South Africa
Drive LEFT in South Africa
Min driving age in South Africa
Blood alcohol content
Drink driving in South Africa
Emergency phone number in South Africa
Driving documents in South Africa
Hands free only
Mobile phone driving in South Africa
Seat belt in South Africa
See here for current child seats law in South Africa

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in South Africa?

Driving is on the left with right hand side drive vehicles. Roads are generally good and you may not necessarily need a 4x4 in South Africa. You may find yourself driving very long distances in South Africa so make sure you stop frequently as fatigue is the main cause of road accidents. Also refuel regularly as in the country, fuel stations are few and far between. The Automobile Association of South Africa is the best source of up to date road information.

Rules of the road

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Emergency Services Numbers

Police Police: 10 111

Police Fire: 10 177

Police Ambulance: 10 177


Fuel Prices in South Africa by Month

Parking Information

Parking regulations

Parking regulations
You must always park facing the same direction as the traffic. You cannot park on a yellow line nor stop or park on a red line. You mustn't park on the pavement nor within five metres of a junction or intersection.
Paid parking
There is limited free parking in any of the cities and invariably you'll find you have to park on a meter or in a garage. Parking rates are reasonable so in most cases there's not too much point driving around looking for free spaces. 
There are parking officers and traffic wardens in South Africa. First you will get a parking ticket and if you don't move your car within a reasonable time, you'll have it clamped or towed away. As well as paying the towing fee and fine you'll also pay a release fee and a 'pound' rate for holding your car.
Disabled parking
Whilst there's no reason why they shouldn't, it's unlikely you'll find that your home country's disability parking badge will be accepted in South Africa. The country has its own scheme but even then doesn't always accept badges from neighbouring authorities.

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Police Police: 10 111

Police Fire: 10 177

Police Ambulance: 10 177

The number is 10111 for police and fire services and 10177 for medical services. If you break down use the number given to you by your car hire company 

The British Embassy is located at 255 Hill Street, Arcadia, Pretoria and has the phone number 27 12 421-7500.

The American Embassy is located at 877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, Pretoria and has the phone number 27 12 431-4000. The emergency medical company Netcare can be called on 082911.

Emergency SOS Phone Booth in South Africa

What to do in an emergency

To avoid potential emergencies, do not pick up hitch hikers or offer assistance to broken down vehicles. Always leave your car parked in a safe and well lit spot. You may want to consult local knowledge about some areas which are best avoided.

Driving at night you should always be aware that there may be vehicles on the road without proper lights such as bicycles.

Animals in the road are also something to watch out for and these can vary from domestic animals like cows to wild animals such as baboons and antelope. If someone is leading animals across the road and request you to stop you must do so. Do not ever try to feed wild animals.

The following advice is only recommended and not statutory. If you have a warning triangle, display it 30m from the scene of the emergency. Move all people to the side of the road and call the emergency services. Don't move any of the vehicles until the police arrive. Take photographs of the scene plus any injuries where possible.If you are involved in the accident don’t move your car till the police arrive. Turn on your hazard lights. 

Handy Guides

World Driving Guides

Road Signs

Handy Phrases

Traffic lights – Robots
Rand – South African currency
Heita - Hello
Dirt roads – Usually safe to drive on at a reduced speed.
Garage card - For buying fuel, otherwise its cash only.
A small hill - Koppie
Phone call – Tinkle
I have broken down - My motor het gebreuk
Where is the police station? - Waar is die polisiestasie? 
I have a flat tyre - Ek het 'n pap band 
I have been in an accident - Ek was in 'n ongeluk
Where is? - Waar is?
Where can I buy petrol? - Waar Kan ek petrol koop?  

South Africa Fuel Price History

Fuel Prices in South Africa by Month
Month, YearDiesel €/ltrUnleaded €/ltr
Jan, 2021 0.81 0.79
Dec, 2020 0.79 0.78
Nov, 2020 0.77 0.77
Oct, 2020 0.73 0.74
Sep, 2020 0.77 0.75
Aug, 2020 0.75 0.73

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in South Africa and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.
Phil Partridge
Posted by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Visitor Comments

  • 30/10/2018


    One thing about the speed limits; I think you wanna say kmh since kms is more like an astronomic speed.
  • 30/10/2018

    Colin Nelson

    I am from South Africa. The following phrases are not correct. I have restructure it: I have broken down - My motor het gebreuk I have been in an accident - Ek was in 'n ongeluk Where can I buy petrol? - Waar kan ek petrol koop?
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