With school holidays underway, many of us are gearing up for that family trip, while others are already enjoying it. Either way, school holidays bring increased traffic volumes on the roads. And whether you’re exploring the beauty of South Africa or wandering further afield to visit our African neighbours, holidaymakers should be aware of all the relevant regulations and precautions to ensure your trip is smooth and worry-free.
No matter your destination, the usual rules apply: first and foremost, you need to make sure you travel safely – always wear your seatbelt, obey the simple rules of the road, and plan your route carefully. Taking it slow will also allow you to enjoy the scenery that our beautiful country and continent has to offer.
If you’re travelling further afield into Africa, here are a few simple tips from the Automobile Association (AA) to help ensure an enjoyable journey for you and your family.
Money! Most African countries accept the US Dollar, and are generally happy to take your $50, but often with no change to give in return. The AA recommends travelling with smaller denominations to make sure you are not dishing out dollars for nothing. If you are going to use plastic, make sure it’s a Visa card as this is the preferred payment provider on the continent.
Vaccinations! – make sure all your vaccinations are up to date. For those like yellow fever, remember to hold on to your vaccination card as this jab lasts for seven years! And it’s vital to remember that if you do not have a yellow fever vaccination after visiting an infected country, you will not be let back into South Africa.
Third party insurance is something that you will need to get when travelling cross border, to cover you against loss or damage to any third party’s property, or bodily injury as a result of driver negligence. The AA recommends pre-purchasing the necessary insurance to avoid unnecessary delays at the border, especially during peak hours and over holiday periods.
Authorisation and customs! If you are going to be using a friend or family member’s car, or a rented vehicle to go beyond our South African borders, make sure you have a letter of authorisation from the vehicle owner to present at the border. And if your car is financed, you will need an authorisation letter from the financing institution. You will also need a Carnet de Passage, which is your international customs document covering temporary admission of vehicles into other countries - remember to apply in advance as it could take up to four weeks to process.
Signage! Different African destinations require different signage on vehicles that enter the country. Travellers can visit any AA Accredited Sales Agent store located across South Africa to purchase the signage. Information on vehicle requirements can be found here.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a legal document that endorses your South African driver’s license and is highly recommended when driving in another country. Your IDP translates your license into several languages, including the 5 official UN languages, allowing it to be easily understood in various countries. An IDP is also essential for insurance purposes and when renting a car abroad.
Geoff Elske, General Manager of AA Travel says. “Travelling, whether alone or with family, requires planning, preparation and contingency arrangements. The AA Travel team, through its call centre and the AA website, provides access to essential information from continuously updated route maps, toll plaza and road conditions reports and alternate routes to recommended safety measures, additional necessities and even how to plan the cost of the trip.”
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180