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Another Question About Self Drive & Safety South Africa and Botswana

Another Question About Self Drive & Safety South Africa and Botswana

Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:20 AM
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Another Question About Self Drive & Safety South Africa and Botswana

I know that "safety" has been addressed on this forum, so I ask for your indulgence in discussing this topic again.

We are a group of 4, thinking about driving roundtrip from J'oburg (airport) to Kruger, Mashatu, Chobe and the Okavanga, roundtrip.

Two in our group have concerns about safety; warnings from the US State Department, forum posts related to warnings about keeping a distance from the car in front, at a traffic light, to have an "escape route," as well as smash and grab incidents, maintaining significant vigilance to remain safe that they've read about. In addition, they are concerned that mechanical breakdowns on the road would be a real problem.

Two of us do not have concerns, although we realize that normal precautions should be taken. Are we being naive?

Many thanks,
Les
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:43 AM
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"We are a group of 4, thinking about driving roundtrip from J'oburg (airport) to Kruger, Mashatu, Chobe and the Okavanga, roundtrip."

Les

We (couple from Germany) are going to do this route but only up to Pont Drift and leave the car on the SA side for a short week when we go to NITANI/Mashatu mid April 09 and pick up the car when we return, drive further thru kruger for 2 days, drive to Sabi Sands, back to JNB and proceed the next day to Madikwe reserve.

It's not the first time we drive ourselves in SA (Western Cape, KZN, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng - you name it) and hopefully it won't be the last!

Rental cars in SA are closing doors automatically when you start/driving which is also enhancing the safety feeling.

NO SAFETY ISSUES AT ALL!

Just use your common sense:
- no valuables left unattended in the car (not even sunglasses!)
- give some space to the car in front of you at traffic lights.
- don't stop, unfold the map on the roof and look dumb ;-) IF you realise you got lost. Just keep driving until you come to a petrol station, shopping mall, super market etc.
- let your car get fitted with a GPS/navigation system if you feel that is necessary but assist the navi-lady with your map which you get from the rental company ;-)

And don't let the bogglers take over the business.

We are from Germany so have to drive on the "wrong side of the road" as well. Not a problem at all! Just let the co-pilot have also a watch out regarding crossing roads, turn offs etc. and ask the bogglers in the back of the car to shut up and don't interfere with driving.

You should be fine!

Safe travels!

SV
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:46 AM
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NO - not at all! You are neither naive nor carefree!

Selfdrive vacationers are driving countless driving days in SA. One of the destinations preferred means of travel. All these folks are not suicidal underway at all! ;-)

SV
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Hi Les!
My husband and I, both in our 50s, have driven all over South Africa (including the Joburg airport to Kruger and back, Botswana (Chobe and Moremi) and Namibia and have never felt in any danger. We don't take any unnecessaery risks, seldom drive at night and take some obvious precautions - we research our routes/destinations well in advance, follow the advice of the locals, keep the car doors locked, don't flaunt valuables like cameras, dress casually etc. In case of break-down, we always rent a cell phone when we arrive at the airport and write down the police/emergency contact numbers that are posted by the side of the highways. In Botswana, our 4x4 came with a satellite phone.

We spent a year in Cape Town in 2004-2005 and have returned to Southern Africa (for more self-drives) twice since (2007 and 2008) and have never had a problem. We are returning again this summer - this time self-driving through Kenya and Tanzania. Be well prepared and take sensible precautions and you'll be fine.

Here are the links to my trip reports from July/August 2008 - the first outlines our 2-week self-drive through Moremi and Chobe in Botwana. The second, which is a work in progress, describes our 4-week self-drive through South Africa and Namibia. Hopefully, they will reassure you that traveling in Southern Africa can be perfectly safe if you are prepared and sensible. Enjoy! Robin

Botswana link:
http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/gall...18318816_Pyvk6

South Africa/Namibia link (work in progress!):
http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/gall...61053054_KcDbR
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 12:19 PM
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I'll add my assurances to the others. My husband and I always drive in SA -- during the course of about a dozen trips over the last 29 years, we've covered most of the country by car. It's a wonderful way to see South Africa.

Celia
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Old Mar 4th, 2009, 04:47 AM
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Thanks for your replies...much appreciated

Les
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