News Room

The Best Times To Avoid Heavy Traffic In SA Cities

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2019-07-28
We've all had to feel the full wrath of peak-hour traffic at one time or another. TomTom's latest Traffic Index reveals which congested South African city has the absolute worst traffic, and at which times the roads are best avoided.

Sat nav giant, TomTom, recently released the results of its latest Traffic Index report, which analyses traffic congestion levels in 56 countries around the world, as well as revealing which times of day these peak conditions are most likely to occur. 

Traffic congestion has increased significantly all across the world over the last decade, with nearly 75% of the analysed cities in the Traffic Index reporting worsening conditions. As stated by TomTom, the increase in traffic can be seen as both good and bad – good because it indicates a strong global economy, but bad because motorists are wasting valuable time sitting in traffic, as well as the effect that this has on the environment. 

Of the 403 cities assessed in these 56 countries, India’s Mumbai took the number one spot this year as the city with the worst traffic congestion in the world. 

This was followed by Colombian capital, Bogota, Peru’s Lima, India’s New Delhi and Russian capital, Moscow, to round up the top five. 

Egypt’s Cairo was named as the most congested city in Africa, with the rest of the top seven all made up of South African cities.

It may come as no surprise that Cape Town has once again emerged as the most congested city in South Africa (ranking 90th globally), followed by Jozi (ranking 105th globally) and then Pretoria (ranking 182th globally).

Let’s take a closer look at the findings.

Cape Town – The Worst Traffic In South Africa

Cape Town’s traffic situation has become so unbearable that some CT-based companies have begun to ‘decentralise’ their offices, which has been proven to radically improve the lifestyles of employees and their efficiency at work. 

Capetonian commuters waste, on average, a full week of their lives every year sitting in gridlocked traffic. 

TomTom’s Traffic Index shows that motorists in the Mother City can expect a 30-minute trip to take anything upwards of 50 minutes during peak traffic, but any Capetonian commuter who braves the N1 every morning and every evening will tell you that it could potentially take even longer.  

Peak traffic conditions in Cape Town begin as early as 05:30 on a weekday morning, peaking at 07:00, and continuing until around 10:00. 

Peak conditions in the evening begin at around 15:00 in the afternoon (earlier on Fridays), and will continue until around 18:30.

Unless, of course, you have to navigate your way through the absolute nightmare that is Foreshore, in which case you may as well just wait it out until it’s dark. 


TomTom’s data shows that, generally, motorists in Cape Town and Johannesburg face almost identical commute times and delays in peak traffic.

The chief difference between the two cities, however, depends on where you live and where you are traveling to. When taking the highway out of the city, Capetonians only have two main options, while Johannesburg provides a multitude of roads to choose from. 

Of course, this also allows for far more hijacking opportunities, which Johannesburg does suffer from. Only a lunatic would attempt to hijack a vehicle in Cape Town’s Foreshore traffic. 

Peak Johannesburg traffic begins a little later in the morning, starting at 06:00, also peaking at 07:00, and also lasting until around 10:00.

Evening traffic also begins to worsen at about 15:00 in the afternoon, but starts to ease a little earlier, at 18:00.


We also took a look at Durban, which ranked as the city with the 5th worst congestion in South Africa. Durbanites enjoy considerably less traffic than those in Cape Town or Johannesburg, with a 30-minute trip in peak traffic expected to take around 40 minutes.

Surprisingly, a lot of this heavy traffic – around 25% – can be found on side and main roads, as opposed to the highways. 

Peak traffic in Durban begins at around 06:00 on a weekday morning, peaks at 07:00, and begins to ease a lot earlier than in the other two cities, at around 08:30.  

Likewise, peak traffic in the evening begins to ease far earlier – at around 17:30 in the afternoon – and begins at about 15:30.

How Do We Beat The Traffic?

There isn't much that motorists can do about the behaviour of other driver on the road, or a lack of foresight from the local government. 

If you're travelling during peak hours, there's just no avoiding the chaos and confusion of traffic. We can try to ease the agony, though, by offering a couple of tips.

• Try to plan ahead and schedule your appointments or errands;

• Find a different route. Sure, getting into the city itself limits you to only a small handful of roads, but there are a number of navigation apps, such as Waze, to help you steer clear of the heaviest congestion;

• That said, it helps to keep an eye on traffic reports before you leave;

• If possible and when available, use public transport;

• Speak to your employer about working flexi time or working from home as much as possible. Many companies, in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, have adopted this policy in order to ease congestion and get the most out of their employees.

• Consider alternative modes of transport, such as cycling or investing in a scooter or motorcycle. Or a Microlight. 

• Make the drive more enjoyable by creating playlists of your favourite tunes, listening to audiobooks, learning new languages or catching up with your favourite podcasts. 

It's important to remember that we as motorists – wherever we are – have a responsibility to our fellow commuters. We need to understand that we have our own roles to play in the free flow of traffic, and that includes being patient, being thoughtful, being observant and for heaven's sake – stop slowing down to stare at accidents.

CompareGuru knows what's good - you'll never need another insurance comparison tool again!

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest tips on how to get the best out of your insurance, what insurance really means and how to avoid any pitfalls along the way.

CompareGuru has you covered.   

Sign up to our Newsletter now, and don’t miss a beat.

Email Address
Sign Up