From Johannesburg the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa opens up to you to explore, the northern neighbours of South Africa have some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. A reputable South African 4×4 hire agency could be your key to the gateway of Africa. Obviously ensuring that the car rental in South Africa will allow you to take the car across the border is essential. There are not many car rental agencies in South Africa that will allow you to take their car across the border and those that do will have a fee for each country that you wish to visit. While the roads are in good condition in most of South Africa, 4×4 hire is essential if you do want to cross the border, especially into the likes of Mozambique or Namibia if you are planning on exploring the desert.
Mozambique is an amazing country with so much to offer and its warm tropical climate is a huge draw card for tourists and facilitates some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world. Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, is a seven hour drive from central Johannesburg and although in distance the shortest part of that trip occurs once you cross the border you can be sure that it will be some of the slowest driving of the trip. Maputo is a major city and is obviously well serviced but trying to get to some of the more remote coastal towns and beach resorts will require a 4×4, the roads are almost non-existent in places.
If planning on taking your car rental from South Africa into Namibia, which is always a highly recommended trip, you will require a permit providing written permission from your car rental agency in South Africa to cross the border with the car. There are three border crossings from South Africa into Namibia. The Noordoewer / Vioolsdrif crossing is open throughout the day as is the Ariamsvlei / Nakopt crossing. If planning to use the Aroab / Rietfontein crossing it is important to remember that is only open from 8:00am till 4:00pm, although if it looks like you might be crossing after this time it might be a good idea to consider staying on the South African side and crossing over in the early morning.
Namibia is a well-travelled country and on the whole the roads are well maintained, however one cannot forget that you are travelling through or right next to a massive desert and getting lost could prove life threatening. It is not a common occurrence but it happens and even once is too often. Ill prepared travellers that find themselves in the desert without the proper equipment and adequate supplies could very well perish. This is why, even if you’re driving to the popular tourist destinations from South Africa 4×4 hire car is vital, you never know where the roads might take you.