Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Cape Town has many options for getting around. You can either drive your own vehicle or rely on Cape Town's public transportation system. Many people in Cape Town choose to walk because buses and taxis can get expensive.
The options available are:
- Buses: Cape Town's bus network is reliable. The routes cover the major sights around the city.
- Official Taxis: This is probably the best and most reliable way to get around town.
- Walking: Central Cape Town is safe to walk through and visit during the day. Try to avoid the area called the Cape Flats. This is known to be dangerous if you are new and unfamiliar to the area.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
There are a few options that will allow you to drive legally while in Cape Town. You can use your foreign or international driver's license in South Africa as long as it has your photograph and signature on it. If it is not written in English, a Certificate of Authenticity from your embassy must accompany it. A foreign license is valid for six months, during which time you may apply for a South African one. An international license is valid for one year and may be renewed. Also, third-party car insurance is mandatory from a South African insurance company and it is advisable to have full coverage as the accident rate is one of the highest in the world.
Keep in mind, South Africans drive on the LEFT SIDE of the road. The speed limits are 60 kph (37 mph) in urban areas, 100 kph (62 mph) on secondary roads and 120 kph (75 mph) on motorways. All roads are identified by a prefix system: N - National Highway, R - Regional Highway and M - Metropolitan Road.
What side of the road do people drive on?
As mentioned above, South Africans drive on the left side of the road, like the United Kingdom.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
As mentioned previously, there are a couple of options for public transportation, all of which are very reliable. The quickest and most economical would be the taxis. It's not advisable, though, to use this form of transportation for trips out of town. Also, make sure you are getting on board a reputable taxi. You can usually tell by the condition of the vehicle and by the large blue marking on the side identifying it as a taxi, along with the route it is licensed to travel.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
South Africa is geared towards travel by private car because public transport is limited and expensive. Unlike Europe and the US, we do not have tram services or underground rail systems in place. We do have luxury inter-city coach services that offer trips between major towns in the Western Cape. The central departure point of these services is the Cape Town Central Station about halfway up Adderley Street.
Regular rail services are available in the Peninsula. As a rule of thumb, it is best to travel by first-class coach only. Traveling by rail is a nice experience because there are some lovely scenic routes, such as the route between George and Knysna. Another new route is between Somerset West and Elgin (apple country). You can find out more about the rail system and other public transportation available outside of Cape Town from any local travel agent.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Typically, the speed limit in urban areas is usually 60km per hour and on freeways 120km per hour. Also, wearing seat belts is mandatory. Another important issue to remember is that driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense and traffic laws are strictly enforced. Also don't forget to drive on the left and give way to traffic approaching from the right.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
You may buy your travel tickets at any local ticket office.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.