Tips for on the road
- With around 700,000 kms of roads available, the road network is mostly of high standards. However, pot holes can be found more frequently. One of the reasons not to drive at night.
- Southern Africa is driving on the left and give way to the right. Drivers that hire our motoroghmes and 4×4 campers must have an international driver’s permit in English. Seatbelts are mandatory. Driving in South Africa is easy to adapt to with sign posting in English.
- Overtaking on the left is common on our roads although not legal.
- Do not talk on your mobile phone while driving. It’s illegal.
- Keep left on multi-lanes and pass right.
- Do not park next to the road anywhere there is nobody around.
- Do not park your camper into oncoming traffic.
- Keep a safe following distance, many cars on our roads have poor brake lights.
Tips for your camper trip
- Suntan lotion factor 15 or more is recommended.
- Responsibility for using own Malaria tablets lies with the hirer.
- Don’t swim in standing water, especially standing water on riverbanks, due to the Bilharzia parasite mostly found in the northern and eastern parts of South Africa.
- Don’t give hitchhikers a lift.
- Be at a campsite before sunset.
- When visiting a flea market, don’t carry a handbag if possible.
- If not in the camper, don’t leave items such as cell phones, cameras, etc. in full view in your camper.
- Close curtains when leaving the camper.
- Please check tires, oil and water levels at about 1000 km intervals.
- Before driving in the morning please check that the roof hatches are closed.
- Keep your fuel tank as full as possible – distances between filling stations may be further than you think.
- When walking in long grass or forests, watch out for snakes and scorpions. Wear high shoes and socks.
Hows the weather?
South Africa and Namibia rank high in the world as far as sunshine days are concerned.
Summer is from October until March. Despite regional differences, South Africa’s climate is generally mild throughout the year. South Africa has temperature variations ranging from cold, mild winters (-5 to 15°C) to warm, hot summers (20 to 40°C).
Namibia has a subtropical desert climate characterized by great differences in day and nighttime temperatures, low rainfall and overall low humidity. Namibian average day temperatures lie at 35° C in January to 20° C in July and between 17° C in January and 7° C in June at night. During winter overnight frost can occur. Usually no rainfall occurs between June and September.
Language, trading hours and emergency numbers
Although there are 11 official languages in SA alone (English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and a variety of other African dialects), the English-speaking visitor will have no problem while traveling throughout southern Africa.
Trading hours for most shops from Monday to Friday are 09:00 to 17:00 and on Saturday from 08:00 to 15:00. Many shops in metropolitan areas are also open on Sunday from 09:00 to 13:00.
Important Contact Numbers and Addresses SA & Namibia
It is advised that you have the following information when making an emergency call:
- The nature of the emergency.
- Exact location of the incident (including nearby landmarks).
- The details about any injuries.
- Your personal information.
Tourism & Safety Information Line: 083 123 2345
South African Police Services (SAPS): 10111
Namibian Police: +264 (61) 10111.
SA Cell phone emergency: 112
Ambulance response: 10177
SA Netcare Medical services: 082 911 (www.netcare911.co.za)
Medi-Clinic Windhoek: Medical services +264 (61) 222 687
Tygerberg Hospital snake Poison Hotline: 021 913 2010
General Poisons Information Helpline: 0861 555 777
Interesting facts about South Africa
South Africa is he 25th largest country in the world. Over 120 Million square kilometers actually. Kruger Park alone is about the size of the Netherlands. SA is 5 times bigger than the UK and 3 times the size of Texas. Lots to see then…
South Africa has the longest stretching wine route in the world
South Africa is home to the largest wine cellar in the world. The KWV cellars in Paarl cover an area of 22 hectares (54 acres) and has a capacity of 121 million litres.
South Africa is the largest producer of meat in Africa
Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains in the world
South Africa’s Table Mountain alone has more flower species than England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland combined
South Africa is the only place in the world where Mercedes Benz manufacture right hand drive cars
South African has the highest commercial bungee jumping bridge in the world at Bloukrans
Vilakazi Street in Soweto, South Africa is the one street in the world to have housed two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
The Palace of the Lost City is the biggest theme resort hotel in the world and the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere
South Africa naturally hosts four of the seven fastest mammals in the world, namely the wildebeest, the African lion, the springbok and the cheetah
South Africa is the only country to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program.
The official name of South Africa is the Republic of South Africa.
In 2011 the population of South Africa was around 52 million.
South Africa has three capital cities, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Pretoria.
The largest city in South Africa is Johannesburg. It was founded in 1886 (thanks to the Witwatersrand Gold Rush).
SA generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity.
In 2002, South Africa was the world’s fastest growing tourist destination. In 2006, South Africa’s tourism grew at 3 times the global average.
J.R.R. Tolkien (the author of the Lord of the Rings books) was born in Bloemfontein (in the Free State province) in 1892.
Elon Musk (the genius behind SpaceX and Tesla) was born in Pretoria, Gauteng in 1971.
Charlize Theron (the famous Hollywood actress) was born in Benoni, Gauteng in 1972. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004.
South Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and around 41% of all the world’s Gold!
South Africa is home to the oldest meteor scar in the world – the Vredefort Dome in a town called Parys.
South Africa has 10 UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites. They include Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape; Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape; Khomani Cultural Landscape; Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains; Cape Floral Region Protected Areas; iSimangaliso Wetland Park; Vredefort Dome; Maloti-Drakensberg Park; Robben Island, home to a now-closed prison that housed political prisoners during the apartheid era including Nelson Mandela; and the fossil hominid sites northwest of Johannesburg, home to some of the earliest human fossils found and the place that scientists label as the Cradle of Humankind.
Interesting facts about Namibia
Namibia is the third least densely populated country in the world.
It has a population of around 2.4 million in a country that is twice the size of California. The low population makes it an excellent place to see wildlife. The name ‘Namib’ translates as “vast place”, which is apt given that Namibia is one of the least crowded destinations on the planet. Only Greenland and Mongolia and have fewer people per square kilometre.
It is home to the world’s oldest desert.
According to scientists, Namib Desert is over 55 million years old! The desert is also quite large, stretching for 2000 km along the Atlantic coasts of Namibia, South Africa and Angola.
Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution.
The result of this has been many community-based tourism initiatives that provide social and monetary benefits to the communities and authentic experience for visitors. It’s sustainable tourism at its best!
About 30 languages are spoken in the country.
The country has a population of close to 2.4 million, and the citizens speak up to 30 languages. The most popular of these is Oshiwambo. English is the recognized official language. German is also still spoken. Great for our Germna customer who rent our campers.
It has some of the highest sand dunes in the world…
The highest dune in the area rises to 383 metres. Sossusvlei climbing to watch the sunrise is actually a popular tourist activity in the country.
…And the largest underwater lake.
Dubbed Dragon’s Breath Cave – on account of the humid air that rises from its entrance – this gargantuan grotto is home to the largest non-subglacial lake in the world. Discovered in 1986. Unfortunately the cave can only be explored by professionals because of its treacherous topography.
World’s most extensive meteorite shower
The Gibeon meteorite shower occurred in prehistoric times in central Namibia. It covered an elliptical area of 275 by 100 km. Remains from this meteorite shower are exhibited at Windhoek,
Namibia’s capital city.
It has the largest population of free-roaming cheetahs and black rhinos in the world.
At the Cheetah Conservation in Namibia, you can run across one of the 3,000 or so free-roaming cheetahs in the country. It also has the world’s largest population of free-roaming black rhinos.
It is home to the second largest canyon in the world.
The Fish River Canyon, located close to the border with South Africa, is also the oldest in the world. Researchers have determined that the canyon was formed at least 500 million years ago through water and wind erosion, coupled with the collapse of the valley floor.
It has Hollywood connections.
Namibia’s dramatic landscapes, which range from desolate deserts to shimmering salt pans, have been used as the backdrop for numerous big budget blockbusters including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Flight of the Phoenix (2006).
Frank “Frankie” Fredericks
Frankie is a former track and field athlete from Namibia. Running in the 100 metres and 200 metres, he won four silver medals (1992 & 1996) at the Olympic Games, making him Namibia’s only Olympic medalist to date.
There’s an eerie ghost town.
Once a well-heeled mining town, Kolmanskop was abandoned in the Thirties when the diamond rush took prospectors elsewhere. The Namib Desert slowly started to reclaim the middle-of-nowhere outpost, which is now a popular tourist attraction.
The German’s inspired subversive tribal dress.
In what is considered a mass act of subversion, some Herero men and women continue to dress like the German colonialists who tried to eradicate them.
Tribesmen and women still cling to the 19th century apparel of their suppressors in a bid to protest and raise awareness about their bloody history.
It’s one of the thirstiest nations in Africa.
Namibia is one of the thirstiest nations in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation. By its reckoning only Gabon and South Africa record higher rates of alcohol consumption – although it must be said that Namibians tuck away much less booze per capita than most European nations.
There’s an intriguing story behind the country’s shape.
Ever wondered why Namibia has that weird panhandle on the top?
Well, when the United Kingdom and Germany were carving up southern Africa they struck a deal: the former would give the latter what’s now known as the Caprivi Strip, in exchange for land elsewhere. The Germans accepted, believing the panhandle would give them access to the Zambezi River and a route to Africa’s east coast.
There was just one problem: the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, lay in the way. The Germans, it transpired, had signed a raw deal.
Visiting South Africa
Every person seeking to enter South Africa to hire our motorhomes and 4×4 campers must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa.
Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa’s neighbouring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.
In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.
Vist the South African Department of Home Affairs for more info.
You do not need a Visa for entering South Africa for up to 90 days if your come from:
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates
I want to visit South Africa. Where do I find information?
The South African Tourism website provides information on tourist attractions, more camper hire tips, destinations, contact information and links.
MALARIA RISK AREAS
This disease is to the larger extent under control in South Africa. City centres like Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town are free from malaria and safe for travellers of all ages. Regions that are affected are the Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga, northern KwaZulu Natal and Zululand. The risk of contracting the disease is negligible provided that you take the standard precautions. Malaria tablets, a good insect repellent particularly in the evening, long-sleeved shirts and mosquito coils are advisable precautions.
PRECAUTIONS AND ADVICE
- Visitors to high risk Malaria areas should personally take precautions between dawn and dusk.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin
- If possible remain indoors close windows and doors at night unless they are screened
- Spray an aerosol insecticide inside the sleeping area
burn mosquito coils and mosquito mats in sleeping areas
- Sleep under a mosquito-proof bed-net
- wear long-sleeved clothing, trousers and socks if outdoors during this time
in high-risk areas (Kruger Park, northern parts of Limpopo and northern parts of KwaZulu Natal)
- The use of anti-malaria drugs is recommended from October to May.
TIPPING / GRATUITIES
Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following:
Porters R5 per item
Taxi drivers 10%
Waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%
Mobile phone coverage is surprisingly great
Luckily, in South Africa mobile phone coverage is extensive and easy to access. Purchase a local SIM card from one of the four key providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom. You can do this at the airport when you arrive.
Reception and internet speeds are great in major cities and towns, but you will lose the ability to connect fast when you head into the wilderness.
Keep in mind a local SIM can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones. Check with your mobile network provider in your home country to be sure you can use it on your phone before you leave.
Never, ever purchase a SIM card from a street seller. Always buy one in store at a kiosk, supermarket or one of the official outlets.
South Africa has 11 official languages, and most of these are indigenous to the country. Around 40% of the population speak either Zulu or Xhosa and 13% speak Afrikaans (11% speak Afrikaans in Namibia), though almost everywhere you go you will be able to get by with English – which is commonly spoken in all major towns and cities, at hotels, banks, and government departments. Another major language is Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch, which northern Europeans will find surprisingly easy to follow.
South Africa is like nowhere you‘ve ever been. A famous South African, Desmond Tutu, described South Africa by saying, “We of many cultures, languages, and races become one nation. We are the Rainbow People of God.” In such a diverse country, it’s important to remain alert, in order to stay safe and respect the culture.