Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > is an international drivers license necessary in South Africa

is an international drivers license necessary in South Africa

Reply

Mar 1st, 2013, 04:54 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 77
is an international drivers license necessary in South Africa

I have read conflicting advice about this - I will be picking up an Alamo rental car at Cape Town airport. Alamo's website says I need one but I have seen a number of people post on various sites that no one asked them for one. Even asked the person I will be visiting there and she said that when she was travelling with a United States drivers license she never had to produce international. Curious about others' experiences. Thanks, Pam
Buckeyeknitter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2013, 05:02 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 767
The site linked below reflects my understanding and experience; i.e., that your license will be accepted as long as it includes your photo and is in an accepted language.

http://idlicense.com/IDLNews/post/In...ar-Rental.aspx
sdb2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2013, 08:19 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
We rented through Avis at JNB in 2011 and didn't need an int'l drivers license. I would call (or email and bring the response with me) the Alamo office in CPT to double check.
christabir is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2013, 07:32 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,700
From the South African government site:
http://www.southafrica.info/travel/a...m#.UTIo8Wd62Sq

'Any valid driver's licence is accepted in South Africa, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed or authenticated in English.

However, vehicle hire companies may also require an international driver's licence. It is worth confirming requirements with your travel agent or the vehicle hire company when making your booking.

This holds for additional drivers as well, who must be identified when you hire your vehicle. Remember to carry all your documentation with you when you travel as traffic officers will expect to see it if they stop you for any reason'

We always have an International permit as we live in France, and our documentation is in French. but it appears that if your license is in English there shouldn't be any problem.

Of course if Alamo demands it ...
Carlux is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2013, 07:56 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,100
I have rented a car in ZA couple times without an international license. I could not see anywhere on the Alamo ZA site stating they require international license.
Odin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2013, 08:28 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
I lived in South Africa 3 years. I used my California license. Funniest experience was being stopped for speeding in a rural area and showing it to a Zulu officer who spoke little English. He looked at it and asked what it was. Then let me go. Another crisis averted.
Best advice I got from a resident is if you have a breakdown, leave the keys in the car and hide in the bush with your cell phone. Not worth risking a confrontation.
kimwhits is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2013, 12:27 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 77
Kimwhits- you are making me nervous. I just called Alamo at Cape Town airport and spoke with someone from Europcar who evidently handles their rentals. They told me that an American drivers license will be enough. Thanks to all for your input

I am a little nervous about this trip - I will be meeting some people there but will be on my own quite a bit. I know I will be fine in the tourist area of Cape Town - staying near the waterfront. But will be driving to Hermanus and around that area solo - but from what I have read these are safe areas. I think I am just as worried about spacing off while driving on the left side of the road - any tips for that?
Buckeyeknitter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2013, 04:07 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 767
On my first trip to SA I drove about 1500 km. I drove solo. SA has good infrastructure so the roads are easy to navigate. Driving around the Cape Peninsula and to places east like Hermanus, the Garden Route and the Wine Country is fun and self-driving adds to the adventure.

Whenever I'm in places like Africa, Austalia or Ireland, I always repeat to myself, like a mantra, "Stay left, stay left." I find the only times I start heading for the right side is when I'm fatigued, so I almost never drive at night. I find my biggest challenge is entering a roundabout (circle), where cars seem to be coming from various directions, so I do it slowly. After doing a couple circles even they become easy (well, at least easier) to handle.
sdb2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 10th, 2014, 12:42 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
After dozens of trips into RSA over the last few years with never an issue, we were stopped today by a young policeman in Bloemfontein who, after examining our current and valid US licenses and passports, declared them to be invalid. Wrote a citation and took us to his Sergeant who demanded we stay overnight and pay the citation in the morning and get the "proper documentation" in order to drive. After much talk, we convinced them to waive the citation, and we went on our way. Thinking we will now get an IDP just for insurance...
AllenP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2014, 05:53 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
I lived in SA for 3 years. I heard about scams where some driver will point at your tire. You think something is wrong, stop and then they rob you. Doesn't happen in tourists areas but I worked in KZN in rural area. The plastic covering to bottom of my car half fell off while driving home on major hi way. Driver in big BMW pointed and waved me over. He looked harmless. So this man in a nice suit rolled under my car and attached bottom with zip ties and escorted me home. So you never know. I drove all over SA with nary a robbery
kimwhits is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:42 PM.