The Busiest Days To Travel This December

Avoid traffic jams en route to your holiday destination this season. SANRAL lets us know which days are going to be calm, and which chaos.
Jason Snyman
SANRAL manages around 30 000 km of national routes.  They recently published the peak festive season travel times they’re expecting from now up until New Year’s Eve. The busiest days to travel, as well as the quietest. They based this information on historical data and current traffic trends, such as people on the highway inexplicably slamming on the brakes the moment they spot Table Mountain. The info is based on the amount of cars travelling through our toll gates on any given day, and of course, unforeseen weather and road accidents aren’t accounted for. With most people about to take leave, we thought we’d jump into it. We took a look at the data and worked out the four busiest and four quietest days to travel to and from your favourite holiday destinations. Not only that, but we also worked out how much it would cost you in tolls, according to the March 2017 toll tariffs. These toll prices cover Class 1 light vehicles, as well as Class 2, 3 and 4 heavy vehicles.
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Gauteng – Bloemfontein

Busiest Days: 22, 23, 26 and 28 Calmest Days: 18, 19, 20 and 21 Ah, the City of Roses. Most people believe that once you’ve seen the Nelson Mandela statue, that just about covers it. Let's move on to passing out drunk in the mielie fields, then… But Bloemfontein hides some interesting places. They may not be flashy, or your typical ‘holiday entertainment’ but they’re worth checking out. These include the National Women’s Memorial, the Naval Hill Planetarium or catching a classical concert at the Odeion.  

Gauteng – Cape Town

Busiest Days: 21, 22, 23 and 26 Calmest Days: 19, 20, 24 and 25 Last year, Cape Town International Airport saw 522 659 arrivals in the month of December alone, 398 245 of which were domestic. Cape Town, during the holiday season, is beautiful – and everybody wants a piece of it. The crowds and traffic are, for lack of a better description, absolute pandemonium. No wonder the city’s running out of water.  

Gauteng – Durban

Busiest Days: 22, 23, 26 and 27 Calmest Days: 19, 20, 24 and 25 The Christmas lights down Dr Pixley KaSeme Street (previously West) are pretty spectacular, if you enjoy the simple things in life. The beaches are usually packed, the water is warm and there are activities galore. Must try: the Durban bunny chow, of course.  

Gauteng – Port Elizabeth

Busiest Days: 21, 22, 23 and 26 Calmest Days: 24, 25, 30 and 31 The city of too-many-nicknames, PE is South Africa’s second largest city, in terms of area, and fifth largest in terms of population. Sounds pretty spacious, but according to SANRAL, the journey there is one long traffic jam. Fortunately, once you arrive there is much to do and see, and plenty of relaxation.  

Gauteng – Polokwane

Busiest Days: 22, 23, 26 and 29 Calmest Days: 18, 19, 20 and 21 South Africa’s Limpopo province is the best place to see our famous Big 5, enjoy some bird watching and hike the picturesque mountains. Polokwane is one of the fastest growing cities, with a number of great activities to keep you entertained.


Gauteng – Sun City

Busiest Days: 22, 23, 26 and 29 Calmest Days: 24, 25, 30 and 31 The Lost City, Valley of the Waves, baobab trees, waterfalls, live music, gambling, golf or safari. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t enjoy at Sun City, and there’s something for the entire family. According to SANRAL, too, the roads to and from the North-West Province will be relatively calm this festive season.  

Gauteng – Kruger National Park

Busiest Days: 21, 22, 26 and 29 Calmest Days: 24, 25, 30 and 31 It doesn’t get much more impressive than the Kruger National Park. With a warm, sub-tropical climate and tranquil surroundings, there’s no better way to get away from the city life. South Africa’s flagship national park is only slightly smaller than the country of Belgium, boasting 21 rest camps, 15 private safari lodges and 2 private lodge concessions. No matter where you look, you’re in the middle of pure, untamed, wild African bushveld.   Start your car insurance quote.