Driving in South Africa has proven to be relatively easy, especially for me given my butt has been firmly planted in the passenger seat. I fumble with maps and try to keep myself focused so I can, at least, pretend to offer some mediocre navigating support. But with so many distractions, my road ADD kicks in leaving me at about 50% capacity.
Scott, however, has taken to driving on the other side of the car, shifting manually with his left hand while driving on the left side of the road like a pro. He’s my hero.
Fortunately, the South Africans are some of the most courteous drivers we’ve ever experienced. They use their signals! To me, using your car’s signals is the simplest form of communication. There are a lot of non-communicators out there in the world.
And then there’s the passing etiquette here. While on the smaller (one or two lane) roads in SA, one will see the slower drivers (including big trucks) move over to the shoulder to allow the faster drivers to pass. The passer then puts on his/her hazards as a “thank you” and the passee responds back with a flash of the high beams or a turn signal as a “you’re welcome”. Scott and I developed a thank you system that ranges from 1-4 flashes of our hazard light thank you. The more efforts the passee makes, the longer the thank you.
On the road, especially near towns and cities, one will see hawkers (folks selling their goods) walking in the middle of the road. Dangerous way to make a living. There are also a lot of hitchhikers waiting alongside the road. I have a sense that this is how some folks get to work. This seems to be a more frequent occurrence near towns and cities, but we’ve seen people way out in the middle of nowhere looking for a ride – families, singles, men, women, women with babies or small children. Often the hitchhikers are holding their arm out with a 10 or 20 Rand bill in their hand.
Did you know?
South Africans call stoplights robots. This is very important information to know, when receiving directions from locals. At first we expected to see a giant Robot (think “Lost in Space”) standing by the road up ahead…
People We Meet While Driving
Things We See While Driving
Important Road Signs to Heed!
Driving in a quickly-passing rainstorm lends itself to joy and intrigue: Breathing in the crisp, fresh air of the sky’s newly cleansed palate and to be privy to (like part of a secret club) a glimpse, off in the distance, of earth’s brilliant and fleeting living display of technicolor. This double-beauty below? We chased her down and caught her on an isolated and beautiful beach…alone with birds and rainbows. Dizzying exhilaration.
Did you know?
You have to turn your back to the light and face the darkness if you want to see the brilliance of a rainbow. ~ksp
If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.
We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity
– a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.
~From Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech in 1994
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Photos, videos and stuff*** Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use. And please do follow this blog and/or write comments. A million five-hundred thanks. Check out the other South Africa posts below:
South Africa Post #1: Our first Kruger National Park Safari
South Africa Post #2: Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park
South Africa Post #3: When Zebras Visit
South Africa Post #4: Daily Living in Marloth Park, South Africa
South Africa Post #5: Kruger Restcamps: Skukuza, Satara and Olifants
South Africa Post #6: Kruger Safari: Full Moon over Letaba
South Africa Post #7: Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie
South Africa Post #8: There’s a Mongoose in my Ear!
South Africa Post #9: Peering through God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #10: The Dam Boat Tour at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #11: Rare Sexual Encounters of South Africa
South Africa Post #12: To the Wildlife of Marloth Park
South Africa Post #13: Nelspruit to Cape Town
South Africa Post #14: Moved to Tears on Freedom Day
South Africa Post #15: Penguins in South Africa?
South Africa Post #16: The Southernmost Tip of Africa
South Africa Post #17: Birds of Eden at Plettenberg Bay
South Africa Post #18: Dear South Africa: I love you, but…
South Africa Post #19: Elephants at Addo National Park
South Africa Post #20: The Garden Route: Nature’s Valley and Wilderness
South Africa Post #21: Endangered Bontebok
South Africa Post #22: Top Five Cape Town Experiences
This is South Africa Post #23: Chasing Rainbows in South Africa
South Africa Post #24: Vegan Wanderlust in South Africa
South Africa Post #25: Ubuntu