riding in south africa and neighbouring countries
Generally weather conditions in Southern Africa are warm and comfortable. Summers can be very warm with temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius toward midday. Well ventilated gear and plenty of water is recommended for these conditions. Winters in South Africa can be quite cool, but riding between 09h00 and 16h00 on even the coldest days in moderate winter gear is still very pleasant. Rainfall in the interior is generally in the form of short thunderstorms in the late afternoons, however coastal areas sometimes experience frontal rain for longer periods. In the higher regions of the country and in places like Lesotho, heavy snowfalls are experienced in winter and riding during these periods is not recommended. The Transkei experiences heavy and persistent rainfall over the December period, making riding in the area hazardous and taxing.
Detailed forecasts on current weather conditions can be viewed at www.yr.no, www.weathersa.co.za and www.saweather.co.za. In certain areas, wind is also a factor to consider. Wind forcasts are available at www.windfinder.com.
All motorcycles run on unleaded 95 octane fuel which is available in 99.9% of South African towns. Top up oil (15W- 40 multigrade) is available at all fuel stations within South Africa and most of our neighbouring countries. In remote areas outside of South Africa, fuelling may occasionally be a problem, but information from the local residents or passing overlanders should alert you to the availability of fuel (or lack thereof) in these areas.
An array of hotels of varying quality are available throughout Southern Africa. Bed and breakfast establishments as well as guesthouses are becoming increasingly popular and are available from budget to luxury tastes. The "African Experience" can also be enjoyed at many varying levels of luxury at the numerous establishments within and bordering our many nature reserves. Camping facitities are in abundance.
Visits to our numerous national parks are a must for visitors to our beautiful country. Access by motorcycle to certain of these parks is restricted owing to the nature of wild animals that may be encountered. Various tour operators offer alternatives to enter these areas in designated game viewing vehicles. Others, like Shamwari, are disected by national roads, so entry cannot be prohibitted, provided one stays on these national roads. Care should be taken however as there is no division or physical separation between park and road and wild animals (including lion) can often be found on the roads.
Visit www.parks-sa.co.za for more information.
rules of the road:
Southern African countries drive on the LEFT HAND SIDE of the road. Road quality is generally excellent in most of Southern Africa. Potholed sections, however, may be encountered in certain rural areas throughout the country.
Speed is restricted to 60km/h in urban areas unless otherwise stated, and 120km/h on any rural road, unless otherwise stated. The maximum legal speed in the country is 120km/h.
The first thing to know about malaria in South Africa is that it’s prevalent only in the country’s three north easternmost provinces – KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo – and only in their outermost regions. See the map (provided by malaria.org.za) for SA malaria risk areas.
You do not need to take precautions against malaria for trips to SA that are limited to Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, or any of the country’s six malaria-free provinces: North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng. (Note that parts of the North West and Northern Cape provinces, in certain areas along the borders with Botswana and Namibia – including the Kalahari desert – sometimes require seasonal malaria precautions. Check in advance with your local contact.)
You do need to take precautions if you plan to enter a malaria-prevalent zone, including the Kruger National Park, during any part of your trip here.
- Risk of malaria infection in prevalent areas is highest between October and May.
- Kruger National Park malaria information hotline: +27 (0) 82 234 1800.