Will I be able to drive?
Yes. Technically you are required to have an international driving license to hire a car here. However many car hire firms don’t require one and you can drive on a foreign license as long as it’s “issued in an official language of South Africa”, and has a photograph on the license. As a temporary resident you can drive on your home country license. If you become a permanent resident you would need to convert your license to a South African one!
Is it safe to drive?
Like many things here, driving is an exercise in common sense. Thankfully South Africans drive on the lefthand side of the road (apart from taxi drivers who drive where ever they want!) You are safe if you stick to the safer areas, and don’t take any risks. Driving at night is reasonably safe as long as you don’t go into the centre of town, or any of the other notorious areas. It is pretty common here for people to lock their doors while driving and keep their windows shut. At many traffic lights (known as robots here) there are hawkers and beggars. This can be unnerving but most are completely harmless. It’s advisable to ensure that valuables are not on display. Handbags on the passenger seat can be a bit too tempting!!
One of the biggest hazards with driving is that taxi drivers can be (will be) erratic and you need to keep your eyes open at all times for them as they can come from nowhere! You will more than likely come across cars that in other countries would not be allowed on the roads at all but some things here you must just put down to AFRICA!! Also a lot of vehicles will be overloaded with people!