8 things you need to do when planning a road trip in South Africa

South Africa boasts a rich diversity of wildlife, landscapes and people. The tourism scene within the country has boomed throughout the last decade, and the country’s hidden treasures are more accessible than ever. From the shores of Cape Town to the plains of Kruger, there is a road trip to suit everyone. Travelling in 2018 couldn’t be easier or even cheaper, so there are no excuses not to book this trip of a lifetime! Keep reading for a little helping hand in planning the perfect South African road trip:

1. Get some reliable travel insurance


South African healthcare has come a long way in recent years, but it goes without saying that on holiday, you want to spend as little time in hospital as possible. Should you spend more than a night there, costs begin the rack up which can eat into your holiday fund! By buying insurance you also buy yourself some peace of mind to relax and enjoy your holiday, in the confidence that should something happen you’ll be covered.


2. Identify where you want to go


Begin by researching all the incredible places South Africa has to offer. Anywhere that catches your eye? Write down your favourites and see which areas naturally group together. Make sure to maintain variety when selecting these spots, since South Africa has much to offer in terms of both natural and manmade attractions. Try and piece these together with overnight stops in smaller, traditional towns to give yourself a taste of how the locals live.


3. Piece your stops together on a map


Google My Maps is a handy tool that allows you to retain all this information in a digital format. Users can plot their accomodation, monuments and attractions on one map, before identifying the quickest routes between all of them. This map can then be accessed on their smartphones throughout the trip as a budget GPS, or alternatively…


4. Hire a GPS


Smartphone maps are incredibly useful - they have got us all out of a few pickles, but are they best during a road trip? First off it’s hard to access wifi when you’re on the move, but this is necessary to input your destination and account for road closures or traffic. Users can always use mobile internet, but this can be expensive and wasteful. Secondly, a GPS gets power from your car battery, which won’t run out as long as the ignition is on. The same reliability cannot be guaranteed from a smartphone.


5. Hire a car


First off look at the roads you’ll be travelling on, are they particularly ‘off the beaten track’? If this is the case consider hiring a car with 4 wheel drive. Not only will this make your ride much smoother, but it will greatly reduce the risk of additional costs that often come with rougher roads.  

Should you be confident that the roads you are driving will serve you well, then begin to look into a car that will suit your specific trip. Can you hire it for as long as you’d like to? Does it suit your budget? Can it carry as many people as are going on the trip? Consider Hertz, Sixt and Enterprise are global reliable rental companies that you should check out.


6. Book some accommodation


By this point you should have an idea of where you wish to break up your trip. This may be in a quirky little town, or just a quick place to rest your head before continuing the adventure. There is guaranteed to be some form of luxury accommodation in most towns, but for those travelling on a budget check out these tips on travelling smarter and cheaper. This includes details of couchsurfing, an online platform recognized widely as airbnb for free! If that doesn’t tickle your fancy then have a browse on HostelWorld, for quality accommodation on a budget, backed up with ratings and reviews.


7. Create a specific packing list


Now you know where you’re headed, begin researching into the sort of possessions you should take. South Africa has several microclimates - so be sure to research the weather tendencies of each area you’re visiting. Consider the season in which you’re going to be there, is it going to be especially rainy or hot? This will ensure you have the appropriate clothing to maximise comfort on your travels! 

Be sure to do research into health risks as well. Should you be planning your trip from abroad, look into the necessary vaccinations or medication you’ll need before your flight.


8. Get a good camera!


A South African road trip should never be forgotten! Ensure the memories of your travels are perfectly preserved through quality photographs. Sometimes a smartphone won’t cut it, unlike a decent camera that will always deliver the shot. Investing in a good one presents the user with many perks not offered by a smartphone, such as bigger memory, shutter speed control or more. 

Have a good road trip!

This is a guest post by Maia Gummer.