South Africa and Namibia are both very well suited to self-drive holidays, and this is the most popular type of trip for visitors to both countries.
The driving experience will be very familiar to overseas visitors in many respects: both countries drive on the left hand side of the road, and all signposts are written in English.
As in Europe and much of the rest of the world, it is law to wear a seat belt at all times, and using a mobile phone when driving is prohibited.
The main roads and highways are generally maintained in an good condition, especially in South Africa, however some more remote areas (including most of Namibia!) will have gravel roads which you will need to drive more cautiously on.
2WD or 4WD?
There are very few roads in South Africa where you would need a 4WD. Even in the self-drive National Parks and safari areas such as Kruger or Hluhluwe, the roads are good and a 2WD can adequately cope with the odd bit of unevenness.
The story is much the same in Namibia for most of the year, although if you are planing on going to very remote areas or travel extensively in the wet season then you may want to consider a 4WD vehicle.
All drivers must have a valid driving licence from their country of residence. If the license is not printed in English, then you will need to obtain an International Drivers Licence.
Please note that the various car hire companies have different regulations regarding the length of time that you need to have held a driving licence, so it is advisable to check with your hire car company about their requirements.
Buying Petrol (Gas)
It is worth noting that none of the petrol stations in South Africa or Namibia are self-service, and they alos only accept locally issued credit cards, meaning visitors from overseas will need to keep some cash handy to buy fuel.