Cape Town to Rustenburg
January 31, 2010 5:45 PM   Subscribe

South Africa filter: Is it feasible to drive from Cape Town to Rustenburg in a day?

Looking for some World Cup logistical advice: Friends have tickets to the opening-day match in Cape Town between France and Uruguay (kickoff 20:30), but don't want to miss U.S.-England the next day in Rustenburg (also a 20:30 kickoff). Rather than fly, they are considering driving—leaving Cape Town immediately after the first game and traveling through the night and into the next day.

FIFA's website puts the distance and drive time as 1385km and about 14 hours, which would get them in at 2pm. Google Maps pegs it at 1430 km and about 18 hours, on the N1 and the N12 for a 6pm arrival. this doable? Is it safe? What are those roads like? Would it be wise to hire a driver? Any insight into why FIFA and Google would so widely disagree on the estimated time?
posted by stargell to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Not a good idea.

I just phoned South African family for further advice, here is what they had to say: The drive is extremely long and you are going through really remote parts of the country, like karoo, and the landscape is very desolate. If anything sketchy were to happen (and south africa is notorious that way) you would be screwed. Any gas or car problems would be almost impossible to resolve. What are the chances that there will be 24hr gas stops along the way in a mostly uninhabited region of the country?

Even if things worked out perfectly, your risks would still outweigh the benefits of driving.

...and South Africa isn't fun at night, especially if you aren't familiar there and not at a club.

obligatory/especially relevant ymmv

posted by bradly at 6:37 PM on January 31, 2010

On a related note, they should be sure to book any flights they will need asap. I just saw a FIFA news conference where officials were expressing dismay about the dearth of flights available to SA. Apparently most everything is booked (even though many tickets to games are still available) and people are having trouble getting flights; not sure if they same thing is true of flights within SA but I'd be concerned about availability, especially for a very specific scheduling need. Just a heads up.
posted by JenMarie at 9:22 PM on January 31, 2010

I wouldn't recommend it. It's a long drive and they'll be tired for the second match. Some people do that drive in one go, but most break it up over two days.

In terms of the time, Fifa's estimate is about right in terms of hours. The highways between cities are generally pretty good. As bradly says, parts of the drive are very monotonous which can make driving difficult when tired.

Also, factoring in the cost of fuel, tolls and car rental, it may not be cheaper than flights. The flights issue is one that is being discussed in the media a lot currently with the allegations of price fixing and issues of availability. If they can't get flights direct to Rustenburg, there will be many more flights to Johannesburg and the drive from Joburg to Rustenburg is reasonably short (1 to 1.5 hours).

They should also consider the rest of the itinerary, it would be unfortunate if they were to rush off from Cape Town without visiting the many sites that is has to offer.

In terms of the differences in time, I would assume that Fifa's estimates are based on actual journey times whilst Google does it based on average speeds for different classes of roads.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 10:24 PM on January 31, 2010

There are going to be people who try this and end up in the headlines for the wrong reasons, courtesy of animals on the road, or misreading the terrain, or running out of petrol in the middle of nowhere. Or worse. Your friends have the option not to be in the pool of people taking that risk.
posted by holgate at 9:24 AM on February 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I appreciate your insights and will pass them along.
posted by stargell at 7:11 PM on February 1, 2010

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