How to survive a South African road trip

South African road tripSouth African road trip
South African road tripSouth African road trip


How to survive a South African road trip

Setting out on the open road, seeing new and exciting things and experiencing different provinces is all part of the charm of the great South African road trip. However, it is sometimes a journey that is paved with disasters, such as potholes, flat tyres and too many emergency snack breaks, if you happen to have small children.

Below is some handy advice on how to survive a South African road trip and arrive safely (albeit a little exhausted) and your location.


Check your car before you leave

This is the most important step for any road trip: check your pre-owned cars before you leave. You will need to look at the tyres, checking their pressure and for any wear and tear. All pre-owned cars for sale have a spare tyre, so ensure that it is packed and is not flat, and make sure to check for any oil, radiator fluid and other leaks.

If you have an older car, you should listen out for any strange noises coming from the engine or exhaust that may need attention before you leave. Go to a petrol station or a garage and ask for your oil and water to be checked and refilled if necessary, so that your car does not overheat or run out of oil on the journey. Do not forget to pack an emergency medical aid kit in your car in case something should happen on the road.


Plan it together with your family

Gather your family together before your trip and make everyone a part of the planning process. Spread your map out on the table and ask your children and your partner where they would like to stop off on the journey, keeping the stop-off points within reason of the amount of time you have for the trip.

Choosing the route together will make time spent in the car easier and more enjoyable. You will need to inform your children that although their enthusiasm for visiting every shopping centre along the way to your final destination is valued, you will have to limit it to one stop per child, as numerous could waste valuable time.  


Stock up on healthy snacks

An important way to survive a South African road trip is to make sure you are fully stocked with healthy, tasty snacks. It is best to stick to healthy snacks over sugary, carb-laden ones as this will mean less stopping for drinks (chips can make you very thirsty) and less cranky children.

Pack a cooler bag to keep your drinks cold, and be sure to pack food that will not melt, become runny or is too mushy for little fingers. Nuts, fruits and healthy sandwiches are perfect for on-the-road snacks. You should avoid stone fruits such as peaches and plums, as they tend to become sticky and mushy after being left out for too long, and do not last well in a cooler bag.


Cool car games

If you are going to be travelling with your family, it would be wise to pack some car games for your children to enjoy on your road trip, especially if it is a long one. Tablets and other digital devices are ideal for older children to play on, but be sure to pack a car charger for these devices as the battery may become low as the day wears on.

Be sure to play some interactive car games so your children do not spend the entire trip glued to the screen of a tablet. Games such as I Spy, the Alphabet Game (where you create different words with the letters of sign boards along the road) or Twenty Questions are easy enough for the family to play and are entertaining and fun for all involved.


Stop often and stretch those legs

As a driver, you will need to stop often to avoid driving while fatigued, which can be equally as dangerous as driving while drunk. You should stop every two hours for a long road trip, if possible, and should avoid driving for longer than ten hours without a break.

You can combine these stops with fun activities, such as sightseeing and taking photographs of the scenery of the area you have stopped or simply going for a short walk to stretch everybody’s legs. It is important to get fresh air while driving, as this will help to keep you alert on the road, so be sure to actually leave the car on these pit stops. Find a roadside picnic spot and eat lunch, this will allow everyone to feel more refreshed and refuelled for the road ahead.


On the road again

To make your road trip safer, remember to have your car fully checked before you leave. You should plan the route together with your family to ensure that nobody feels left out of the journey. Stock up on healthy snacks rather than sugary treats, as these will keep your children happy, full and not sluggish or cranky. Remember to have fun and savour every moment as you make your way along the roads of our beautiful country.

South African road trip