Barring the antics of Minibus taxi drivers, South African streets are well regulated, and once you get your bearings, the city is also fairly easy to navigate. With the mountains always in sight, it’s hard to get as lost as one might in the relative flatness of London or New York.
If you do, though, Capetonian streets don’t present anything a good GPS can’t handle. You can buy one for about R2000 from most computer and gadget stores (the department store Game also stocks them) or hire one from any car rental company. This is vastly cheaper in the long run than hiring a driver, a thing no one but a politician, billionaire or eccentric would do.
In terms of the cost of owning a vehicle, while most cars, being imported, are sold at a mark-up of at least five or ten thousand rand, you may be able to find a decent second hand vehicle for as little as R15 000. Fuel has, of course, seen the price increase it’s seen everywhere else. As of this writing, unleaded petrol is hovering around R7.30 per liter.
Parking in busy commercial districts is usually hard to come by, and is tightly regulated by metered parking attendants. You’ll pay around R7.50 for one hour of on-street parking in the CBD before 17:00, when informal car guards make their appearance and, typically, will be satisfied with two or three rand, payable when you leave.
Parking and high traffic make owning a scooter far more convenient if you live in City Bowl or another area that doesn’t require you to travel long distances to carry out your day-to-day errands.
All the basic vehicle-related issues facing foreigners moving to South Africa are dealt with in the following subsections – how to insure, buy, rent and import a car, along with where to learn the rules of the road and get licensed to drive locally.