Not long to go before the World Cup and we have the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warning England fans who will be driving in South Africa about safety when travelling this summer. These warnings are not specifically for the English fans – neither will the South Africans treat the English fans indifferently – but all football fans travelling to South Africa from the rest of the world should make a note of the following instructions/warnings.
Some of the instructions are a bit strong in my opinion but I haven’t been so South Africa so I don’t know. Maybe that’s the biggest fear about South Africa, that we don’t know. Nonetheless, the spokesman for the Know Before You Go campaign from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:
“South Africa offers some spectacular scenery for those thinking of driving around the country. You drive on the same side of the road as the UK but there are other challenges to bear in mind. Make sure you are prepared by taking out travel insurance, check out the local rules of the road and remember to take your full driving licence. It is also important to be aware of your own safety and to take sensible precautions such as taking regular breaks. The last thing you want to do is miss the game so plan your journey ahead of time. Visit the South Africa page on www.fco.gov.uk/travel for the latest up to date travel information on the country.”
Now here are the “all important” instructions for your trip:
- Four way stops – The equivalent to British crossroads, but the first car to arrive at the junction has priority and then others follow in the order that they arrive at the junction.
- Traffic lights/robot – These are positioned on the far side of the junction – not on the stop line. Reduce the risk of ‘Smash & Grab’ raids by keeping your doors locked and valuables out of sight, preferably in the boot.
- Night time driving – This can be difficult as most areas have little or no street lighting. Care should be taken, especially with animals potentially on the road and other vehicles driving without lights on.
- Speed cameras – Be aware of your speed. Speed traps are common – they are usually hidden rather than being marked like the UK cameras. Speed limits in South Africa are:
- 120kph (74.5mph) on national highways and major routes / 100kph (62.14mph) on rural roads / 60kph (37.28mph) in built-up areas
- Accidents – Should you be involved in an accident, contact your car hire and insurance company immediately before your car is towed away. If possible, take photos of the damage to your car. Be careful not to be caught out by fake road-side incidents by motorists that appear to be distressed. If a person looks as though they need help on the road, report the incident to the police rather than stopping your car to try and help.
- Drink driving – the limits for drink driving are lower than in the UK, so be aware of how much alcohol you consume.
- Fuel/Tolls – In rural areas, there can be large distances between petrol stations, so plan ahead. Fuel stations are not self-service and you’ll need cash to tip attendants (up to 5 rand, which is about 50p).You should carry cash to pay for fuel and tolls as credit cards are unlikely to be accepted. Details on tolls in South Africa can be found here.
- Car hire – Check the type of insurance you are offered, normally this will only cover you for the third party legal minimum. Check with your UK insurance provider before travelling, they may be able to increase your cover. Be sure to take your UK full licence with you. Be aware of hidden extras, such as extra mileage charges.
Now, those fans who are not planning to drive in South Africa should only use official public transport and licensed taxis. It is suggested that you also take a look at the South African Department of Transport website.