South Africa is a fantastic place to take a road trip, but you need to be organised to make the most of the experience and enjoy a smooth journey. The country has an excellent network of roads which are well maintained and connected (with the exception of some of the more rural areas). While you cruise along, you can take in the spectacular landscapes, wildlife, stunning hiking trails, unique towns and tourist attractions. It’s a chance to see the country in a whole new way, meet real people from lots of different walks of life and challenge yourself with new experiences.
Of course, just like any holiday, you need to put in the time for research and planning to make sure your trip runs without a hitch. You can’t plan for every eventuality, but there is a lot you can do to reduce the likelihood of problems such as ensuring motor warranties are in place. To make your next road trip to South Africa a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all the right reasons, make sure you follow these 4 planning hints and tips.
1. Drive safely and carefully
While the majority of South Africa’s roads are good quality (with the exception of potholes in certain areas), you can’t predict the behaviour of other drivers. You may be on holiday, but you still need to approach your trip with the same level of safety and attention you’d give to everyday driving. This means not eating or drinking at the wheel, not using cell phones and only using hands-free GPS systems. Never pick up hitch-hikers, try to avoid travelling at night or driving off-road, be aware of natural predators in the wild and keep your doors locked in urban areas.
2. Plan your itinerary
One of the big attractions of a road trip is the freedom and spontaneity it provides travellers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan some aspects of your trip. Accommodation, for example, is best to sort ahead of time to ensure you have a bed for the night. If your travels are due to you taking part in tours or activities which take place at a certain time, make sure you leave plenty of time for traffic and breaks. If you can, plan a route which sticks to the main highways as shortcuts and backroads may not be in the best condition.
3. Be prepared
Not everywhere will accept card payments so always keep a supply of cash on you and keep a paper map in the car for areas where your GPS loses signal. It’s also a good idea to keep snacks in the car for everyone to munch on as well as entertainment like music, books, tablets or portable game consoles. You should also pack a basic tool kit and a first aid kit just in case, as well as clothes and shoes for all types of weather. Insect repellent and sun lotion are essentials.
4. Make sure your vehicle is ready
One of the biggest worries we have when setting out on a road trip is that our car will break down. If this happens in the middle of nowhere or at night, this quickly becomes more of an urgent issue. Before you set off on your trip you need to make sure your car is in top condition by carrying out essential car vehicle maintenance, getting it professionally serviced, making sure you’ve got roadside assistance and, if you haven’t already, get a motor warranty to cover the cost of repairs. You can compare online quotes for motor warranties at hippo.za.