Surviving a South African road trip

South African road tripSouth African road trip
South African road tripSouth African road trip


Surviving a South African road trip

Going on a road trip during the holidays, or when you have spare time, is a South African staple among both old and young. It is usually an exciting and memorable experience but it can also be disastrous and difficult.

There are some simple tips and tricks that you can follow to make for a pleasant and successful experience, as outlined below.


Plan your route carefully

Planning your route down to the last detail before you set off will help you avoid getting lost or taking any wrong turns while travelling along roads you may not know. Bring both a paper map with the route marked out and a phone or GPS device that can be charged in your car, so you will always have directions available should you need them.

Planning ahead will also allow you to book at a hotel along the way. If you are driving through Africa, stopping at one of the many Country Hotels options will alleviate the stress on the driver and allow the family to spend time relaxing and luxuriating in the surrounds. Being able to book ahead is part of a well-planned road trip.


Be weather wise

South Africa experiences hot summers from December to February, with some scattered thunderstorms over most of the country, except in the Western Cape which remains dry. Be sure to plan your trip so it happens during the cooler months, as sitting in a hot car for hours is nobody’s idea of fun.

The summer months are also the most popular with both locals and tourists, so if you are planning a road trip to one of the country’s stunning beaches, be prepared to fight your way through busy crowds of people for a spot in the sun. March to May and September to November are ideal for longer drives, being sunny but not sweltering months.


Pack the essentials the night before

Rushing around, packing essential items on the morning of the road trip can cause unwanted stress for both driver and passengers. To avoid this, you should pack everything the night before, allowing you to rest easy in the knowledge that everything is put away for the day ahead.

Packing the night before also cuts down on early morning preparation time, making it easier to get little ones out of bed and woken up before you leave. Be sure to include items such as wet wipes, bottled water, a first aid kit and a charger for any devices that may need it, such as the GPS device.


Get a good night’s sleep the night before

Getting a good night’s rest the day before your journey allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead, especially if you are the driver. Be sure it is at least a seven hour sleep and ask your family not to disturb you during the night so you will not wake up too early having not slept for long enough.

Sleep is important for everyone who is going on the road trip. It will be an unpleasant drive if people are tired and grumpy due to lack of sleep. Be sure your little ones go to bed early and allow them to sleep in the car if possible and necessary. It is dangerous to drive while tired, so be sure that you make stops every 200 km to rest, and book a room at a hotel or bed and breakfast for proper sleep.


Don’t forget the snacks

On a long road trip, you are going to need to eat to restore energy and to keep grumbling little tummies at bay. It is more cost effective to pack your own snacks than stopping off at every petrol station on the way to buy a bag of chips and a soft drink. Be sure that you do not pack food or fruits that will perish in the heat, and put all snacks in a cooler bag.

If you do not want your family to snack on unhealthy, sugar-laden foods, then pack some healthy nibbles for the drive. The best healthy snacks to pack are nuts, dried fruits, biltong, baby carrots and hummus dip, so be sure to add these to your list. Snacking on nuts is ideal for the driver, because they provide essential oils to boost energy and alertness.


Most importantly, have fun

A road trip can be an exhilarating experience for all involved, so be sure to prepare ahead of time to ensure a fun trip. Whether you are going to a new and exotic location or simply visiting family in another province, packing the essentials and choosing the right route will make for a safe and successful trip. Road trips with the family create special memories, so make sure yours is unforgettable by following the above advice.

South African road trip