Warning for Drivers for the holidays: Here are the busiest roads – and days – to travel in December

If you are looking to plot a Christmas getaway, make sure you don’t get caught up on the busiest roads at the worst times. We’re here to help.

The holidays are almost upon us, which means the roads in South Africa are set to get even more packed than usual. Speaking to Business Tech, Sanral revealed the key dates and busiest roads they believe will see the highest volumes of traffic, and there are a couple surprises in the mix.

It’s just one of life’s cruel pranks, isn’t it? Yes, you can have a few days off – but you have to sit in traffic jams first. Of course you can take a lekker road trip and go see your family and friends – if you sit in an endless gridlock first.

But, with a bit of forward planning, we might just be able to help you avoid the worst of the worst. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to planning your travel over the next few weeks.

What are the busiest roads in South Africa?

N1 to Beitbridge
If you’re leaving Limpopo and heading towards the southern Zimbabwe town of Beitbridge, be prepared. The well-known border post is notorious for delays as passports and documents are given the once-over, but it has also become something of an accident hotspot in the last few years.

N3 to Durban
A major highway that connects Durban to Johannesburg, passing through three provinces on the way. It’s not rocket science, this one. Plenty of city dwellers make their way down to the KZN coast this time of year, whereas Durbanites take the opportunity to head north. Again, it’s a common theme, but there are accidents aplenty on these roads, too.

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N4 to Maputo
From North West, through to Gauteng, into Mpumalanga and beyond. The road connecting South Africa with Mozambique is a popular one for holidaymakers. Border posts and frequent roadworks mean that a journey on the N4 is about as fun as clipping the cat’s toenails.

N2 to the North Coast, KZN
It genuinely is one of the most annoying roads in the world: Never-ending maintenance, a myriad of toll plazas and a nasty reputation for hosting fatal head-on collisions. If you can avoid these roads, please do. If you can’t, remain vigilant, and set off earlier than usual to allow time for disruptions.

The busiest days of the festive season on our roads:
Friday 14 December has been singled out as it falls ahead of a long weekend. Most people planning their getaways will try to sneak off before Saturday, getting an extra day out of their time off.

Meanwhile, the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th of December have all been identified as nightmare times. Given that we go straight from a weekend into Christmas Eve, motorists are likely to flock to the roads on any one of these given days.

And, for the return journeys, the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st of December are the most frustrating for road users. People are either leaving after spending as much time as they can stand with the family, or heading out for New Years’ celebrations.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the lightest dates to travel, whereas Monday 17 December – the actual Day of Reconciliation – does not feature in the Sanral guidelines.


This news release does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SA-news.

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