In a country where robots tell you how to drive and the plastic coat hangers can be bought while you wait in traffic using a hire car in South Africa can be a tricky minefield for foreign visitors. Despite the bad attention South African roads receive in the media it is in fact a fascinating country to explore by road, making use of car hire in South Africa when on holiday opens you up to adventures that will provide you with a lifetime of memories and as with all road trips there will be some that may fill you with frustration at the time but all of which you will look back at with fondness and possible laugh.

Firstly and most importantly to ensuring that you are not left perplexed and possibly frightened is the fact that robots are what South African call traffic lights. Don’t ask why, it has been like that for as long as anyone from the current generation can remember, it could be that it was the first automated robotic system that the country has used on scale such as it was. When you have your South African hire car and you get direction telling you to turn at the robots don’t panic, we have not been invaded by the transformers.

The second thing to note is that is that almost anything is available at the robots while waiting in traffic, and don’t under-estimate me when I say almost anything. From curious to household items and food products, the robots really are your one stop, or sometime barely stopped shop. For anything you can’t find at these handy little vendors there are always the convenient 24 hour petrol stations, almost all of which have shops attached which stock everything you could need.

On the subject of petrol if you’re from either the UK or the states one aspect of topping up your car that you need to get used to is that you don’t do it yourself. When travelling across South Africa in a hire car when you stop to fill up with petrol there will be attendants to ill the car, they will normally take care of the other services such as checking tyre pressure and cleaning the windscreens. It is customary to tip the attendees for this service and although not compulsory it is always appreciated many of these guys earn minimum wage and live on the breadline.

Now for some basics, we drive on the left so unless your South African hire car has fantastic insurance and you have medical insurance to match then it is best if youremember this one. Right hand drive cars left side of the road, it’s that simple. When approaching a traffic circle yield to the right, that one is especially for our friends in the UK.

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