Look beyond the typical tourist guide channels and you might wonder why South Africa isn’t one of the leading countries for tourism in the entire world! There’s so much to see and do that some tourists try to find a way to stay permanently in the southernmost country of the African continent, citing some great weather as just one of the many reasons for that.
For now though, if you’re just heading in for a visit, the best way to get around is in a rental car. That’s if you want to be able to explore some of those unique locations which are off the beaten path and be able to do so affordably.
Public transport madness
The only time when locals choose public transport over driving in their own cars is during the workweek and only in a specific part of the most densely populated province of Gauteng. From the middle income gap and up, people who don’t want to stress about being stuck in rush-hour traffic take the Gautrain, which is a high-speed railway line that connects Pretoria to Johannesburg, running through some of the province and country’s most important work hubs, like Sandton, Rosebank, the airport, etc.
Otherwise the public transport system in South Africa is very interesting to say the least. The regular Metro train (Metrorail) is never on time, is often crowded in the mornings and early evenings, and appears to be becoming increasingly unsafe. Many locals who get financed for their own cars cite the Metro train as the singular reason for taking on this debt…
The likes of Uber are relatively expensive in relation to less reliable public transport options such as the train, while the regular taxis only cover certain busy routes and require a little bit of know-how with regards to how to stop them and where to go. They usually have to get filled up with passengers before departing (mini-bus taxis) and they have specific routes they take.
Why renting is the best option
It’s not uncommon for even the locals to be darting around in a Europcar rental when they need to make sure to get to wherever they want to be on time, but locals themselves also particularly love going the rental route for a road trip or local escape. All-of-a-sudden the oh-so-beautiful land becomes so much more accessible when you have your own set of wheels to get around in.
Europcar has been around in the country since the days when it was known under its former name, Imperial, so they have an extensive network with an extensive range of vehicles too. You’ll be driving some of the latest models, which feel as new as they look…
Seek advice on areas to avoid, which can be easy to venture into with a couple of wrong turns, such as finding yourself in the gang-violence riddled Cape Flats as you perhaps seek to explore the city limits of Cape Town.
Obey the rules of the road, which are simple and easy enough to follow as the signs are clear and remember that they drive on the left hand side of the road in SA.