The basics for driving a motorhome in Southern Africa
To drive a rental vehicle in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe) or any other kind of vehicle you are required to have an international driving license. Importantly, this is only valid in combination with your national license. The new EU driving licence - for example - is not accepted on its own. When renting a motorhome a minimum age limit always applies. You can find out what minimum age applies by viewing each of our Southern Africa rental companies' 'Important rental info' on our website.
Traffic drives on the left hand side in all of our African destinations and seatbelts are compulsory.
South Africa's road infrastructure - with over 70,000km of sealed roads - is very well developed and there are very few roads where tolls are required to be paid. In more remote areas you may have to avoid herds of cows, vehicles without lights or animals and people on certain roads. You will find a large number of petrol stations alongside the motorways which often also have a garage and are usually open from approx. 7:00 - 18:00 most days, although on Sundays some stations are closed. Most petrol stations do NOT accept credit cards.
Only the most important roads in Namibia are sealed. Apart from that, there are well developed gravel roads and farm roads. Please keep a close eye on the speed limits because although many of the locals may drive quickly on unsealed road sections you should avoid driving faster than 80km/h for your own safety. The grooves in the road that are created by the loose surface can be hard to see at higher speeds and are in parts very deep. The most common cause of accidents is with wild animals and the most dangerous time to travel is during the first rain on tarred roads, where a slippery film exists on the surface as a result of a mix of dust and oils. The blood alcohol limit for breath tests is 0.8 in Namibia. Petrol stations are rare in very remote areas, so it is advisable to fill up the tank to the maximum every time you have the opportunity.
Rentals in Botswana are available upon request.
Speed Limits, Routes and Camping Options
Please always take note of the respective speed limits that where you are driving. It is not permitted to go off-road and drive a rental vehicle in any wildlife sanctuaries and animal parks and 'free camping' with your motorhome is also not allowed. You are only allowed to stay at camping grounds. The fines for anyone not adhering to this rule are normally quite high and we advise you not to travel at night as a guiding principle.
Petrol and Diesel
The campervans and motorhomes we offer consume between 12 and 20 litres of petrol per 100 km. However, fuel consumption costs are kept to a minimum because the price per litre is far lower than that of the UK and Europe for example. Of course, consumption is dependent on how you drive, the external temperature, your driving route and the quality of the terrain you are driving on. Prices as of September 2006 (subject to change of course):
Petrol (unleaded): South Africa: approx. 6.50 Rand/L - Namibia: approx. N$ 6.65/L
Diesel: South Africa: approx.6,50 Rand/L - Namibia: approx. N$ 6,78/L
You can collect your rental vehicle on the same day that you arrive in the country. However, we do recommend that you spend your first night in a hotel (or similar) in order to acclimatise and get some rest before your vehicle pick-up. We suggest that you do not plan in too many activities for the day when you pick up your motorhome. Once you have finished the paperwork, vehicle orientation, have made yourself comfortable in the vehicle and have bought supplies the afternoon will normally have arrived. For further details regarding pick-up and drop-off procedures please refer to the rental company pages on our website.
African countries charge VAT taxes on goods and services (14% in South Africa and 15% in Namibia). These taxes apply on top of the prices stated for anything you are required to pay locally in these countries. Anything that you pay to Motorhome Bookers already includes VAT. You can - in some cases - claim any VAT back that you pay in Southern Africa for goods purchased there which you take with you when leaving the country. You can obtain detailed information about how this works at airports and in many of the local shops.
South Africa boasts a network of approx. 800 camping grounds and caravan parks of of various sizes and quality - most of which operate to high standards. Most belong to either the private 'Caraville Resorts' chain or they are state-owned camping grounds ('Aventura Resorts'). They have electricity and water connections, bathroom, toilet, washroom and ironing facilities, shops and in many cases swimming pools. You can expect to pay - depending on the time of year - between 50 - 150 Rand or more per night. It is highly recommended that you make a reservation for campsites in the popular national parks for travel during the busy travel seasons. For information and to make online reservations in South Africa you can use the following links:
Namibia has a network of privately run (by locals) and partially state-owned (Namibia Wildlife Resorts) camping grounds and caravan parks of varying size and normally high quality. The prices for the Namibia Wildlife Resorts are between N$ 60 - N$ 140 for two people and one vehicle per night. Private camping grounds are normally cheaper. During the school holidays in Namibia the hotels and camping grounds are often well booked up and bookings should therefore be made well in advance. The main holiday period for Namibians is between early December and mid-January. For information and to make online reservations for camping grounds in Namibia please see:
In general, a mild, temperate climate prevails almost throughout South Africa. With the exception of the outer southwest region the majority of the country's weather is influenced by southeastern trade winds from the Indian Ocean. The damp nature of these winds is the reason why the Eastern Low Veld over to the Drakensberg area in the Eastern Uplands experiences approx. 890 mm of rain each year. The High Veld receives around 380 - 760 mm of rain a year, albeit the amount of rain dissipates the further west it moves. Annual rainfall is often as low as 51 mm on the West Coast, where droughts are common. The rains that fall with the trade winds mainly make their presence felt between October and April. Rainfall levels and the time when the rainy season begins vary greatly from one year to the next in the drier upper plateau regions. The climate in the outer southwest region is stongly influenced by west winds that originate in the Atlantic Ocean. This area experiences around 560 mm of rain each year - the most of which falls between June and September. In Durban the average daily temperature in January is approx. 24 degrees. In Johannesburg in the northern centre of South Africa the average temperature - resulting from the altitude of the city - is approx. 19 degrees. The average in January in Capetown on the southern coast is around 20 degrees; the region around Capetown is strongly influenced by cool Atlantic breezes. In Durban the median daily temperature in July is 17 degrees, in Johannesburg this is 9 and in Capetown 12 degrees. In Winter frosts can occur in the higher regions of the upper plateau.
Namibia has a hot and dry inner region and a milder coast. The seasons are split into two distinct ones: the dry period from Mai to September with temperatures averaging 20 - 25° during the day and cool, sometimes cold nights. The warm rainy season lasts from October to April, with temperatures averaging between 30 - 40°C. The heaviest rainfall occurs during the hottest time of the year between January and March, which is the time of the year we least recommend for travel to Namibia. At Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe it is hot year-round. In Winter (June and July) the days there are warm and the nights are cool. The rainy season begins in November, which is when the falls have the least amount of water. It is not until the end of the rainy season - in February / March - when the falls can be viewed again in all their glory.