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a *non* safari question: really, honestly is dirving a dumb idea in sa?

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Oct 1st, 2004, 04:53 PM
  #1
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a *non* safari question: really, honestly is dirving a dumb idea in sa?

ok

i am at last dropping the safari questions in favor of driving questions.

i am not a nervous person and have been to many countries where it is not advised to drive and i have hired a driver (it costs the same as just the car in these other countries).

that said, i am getting the sense on the one hand that south africa has many easy to reach destinations that it would be desireable to reach by car.

and then on the other i am also getting the idea that it is lawless on the roads and an accident is assured, as a mugging and car jacking might be, too. i am being hyperbolic.


the point and question are the same: is south africa a driving destination along the lines of new zealand or australia, or is south africa a driving destination along the lines of india or sri lanka?

which is it? safe or unsafe? wise or unwise?

i would very much like to drive there (not alone, mind you), but i really am uncertain about the message of whether this is unwise/unsafe.

thanks very kindly for honest specifics (like it's ok to drive j-burg to kruger but don't go through ___).

kerikeri
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Oct 1st, 2004, 04:59 PM
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of course i mean "driving"

and while you are reading- sometimes people on this bpoard invite others to email them but do not post email addresses- is there an internal email function on this board the same way there is a private message function on other boards?

thanks
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:15 PM
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where in sa are you going? a friend and i visited South Africa last summer. While in Jo'burg, we walked or took cars to where we wanted to be.

We later went to Capetown, where we rented a car. Capetown is pretty hilly, but we found driving there like driving in any major city. From capetown we drove to the wine country and along the garden route. the drive is really pretty and the roads for the most part weren't very crowded. we later found out that we got a speeding ticket while driving along the garden route.

we were only in sa for about 10 days, so admittedly we didn't get to see most of the country, but the parts we saw were wonderful!
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:48 PM
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Driving in SA is about as safe as anywhere, I think. Over the last 24 years my husband I have driven over a good deal of the country, on the excellent national roads and the back country dirt roads, in most kinds of weather including probably the worst hail storm ever seen in that part of the world, certainly the worst one I ever saw.

It isn't lawless on the roads. There are some incompetent drivers, but I don't know whether there are more or fewer than in Italy, (to pick a country at random), or the US. Are there more drunks driving on any given Saturday night in Jo'burg than in Chicago? I don't know.

On the national roads there are what in the US we call oases every so often, and all the towns have gas stations, so you'll have no problems on that score.

If you've driven in foreign countries before, I would certainly advise you to do so in South Africa. The danger to look out for is really yourself, especially in parking lots and on deserted roads. Without other traffic around, it can be easy to forget to keep left, and you can suddenly find yourself looking into headlights, and your first reaction is to pull to the right, of course, while the first reaction of the experienced SA driver is to pull to the left, which leaves you both still coming at each other head on.

So make it a point to have your companion say "keep left" every time you make a turn or leave a parking lot, or any other time when it's easy to mess up.

The locals can give better advice about areas to avoid.
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 03:14 PM
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Hello Kerikeri,

To add to what already has been said, Safarinut, who posts here, has warned about the SPAR shopping mall in Hazyview. At first glance, this looks like an ideal spot to stock up with groceries on the way to the Kruger National Park, but there has been a high incidence of crime (car jackings and such) at that particular shopping centre.

Something you might consider doing, when you have your itinerary figured out, is posting it here and asking for feedback on it.

Travellers with experience of South Africa might offer suggestions for tweaking it, not only because of a crime hot spot like the SPAR shopping mall in Hazyview, but also for many other reasons, e.g., you may have underestimated the realistic driving time on a segment of road or whatever.

Just a thought.

On another of your questions

>>>>>>and while you are reading- sometimes people on this bpoard invite others to email them but do not post email addresses- is there an internal email function on this board the same way there is a private message function on other boards?<<<<<<

As far as I know, Fodors does not have a private message function. If a poster invites another poster to e-mail him/her, and if the person issuing the invitation doesn't have his/her e-mail address published within his/her screen name, I think he/she usually has mentioned his/her e-mail address somewhere in a previous post, and the two posters in question already may be in the habit of e-mailing each other outside of Fodors.
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