Roads in South Africa are classified as follows:
· National Highway Roads – these are classified by a number and having the letter “N” before them. Examples of these roads are the N1 and N2 from Cape Town, the N3 from Durban to Johannesburg and the N6 from East London to Bloemfontein.
· Metropolitan Freeways – these are noted by a number with the “M” prefix.
· The Provincial Main Roads – identified by the letter “R”. Examples are the R21 from Pretoria to Johannesburg International Airport and the R27 from Cape Town to Upington.
· Gravel Roads and secondary roads that are surfaced, and these are classified with a number.
· Urban streets and roads in the major cities and towns of South Africa.
· Generally unclassified roads. These roads are located off the beaten track in rural countryside areas.
In total, there are just under 760,000 kilometers of road network in South Africa. Nearly 10,000 km of fully surfaced National Highway toads and metropolitan freeways. This total includes over 2,400 km of toll roads that are fully surfaced.
56,000km of Provincial roads are completely surfaced to a very high quality finish.
There are 300,000km of gravel roads that are in very good condition and are perfect to drive on with just a two-wheel drive vehicle.
There are almost 170,000km of surfaced and non-surfaced roads in urban areas that are in excellent driving condition.
Over 220,000 km of unclassified roads that are located in rural country areas. The majority of these are perfect driving conditions for two wheel drive vehicles.
In fact, there are very few roads in South Africa that are totally exclusive for four wheel drive vehicles. This includes the National Parks that are largely self-drive parks, and the safari areas that are off the beaten track. Most of the National roads have a tarred surface and are in excellent driving condition. Obviously the more rural the road, the more possibility that it will have a poor driving surface and have pot holes and plenty of bumps!
In South Africa, many of the national highways that connect the major centres are toll roads, for example the N1 and N2. It is important to check out the toll fees before you embark on your journey and ensure that you have the cash/credit card on hand to pay to gain access! The average fees for a standard light two wheel drive vehicle range up to 50 South Africa Rands.
John writes for Novacarhire.com – an independent car hire reservation website where you can book low cost car hire at over 5,000 locations worldwide.