South Africa’s Strangest Road Signs

hippo's crossing strange road signs


Your local road trip is about to take an unexpected turn, thanks to these road signs that lead to South Africa's hidden holiday treasures.


Sometimes quirky, sometimes shocking, but always completely legit, these South African road signs have to be seen to be believed. When you follow the signs, you'll find that some of our country's lesser-known travel destinations are well worth exploring, too. Start your engine and prepare to light up your Insta feed.


Penguins Crossing


Ease yourself in with a visit to a familiar location: Cape Town. Or, more specifically, the naval base of Simon's Town on the breathtaking Cape Peninsula. A must-see landmark in the area is the charming Boulder's Beach, South Africa's only national park set within an urban area. Here you'll see tuxedo-clad penguins waddling purposefully across the sand, rocks and road on their way to very important meetings. To stay on schedule, they're aided by a Penguin Crossing sign. Weird to you, totally normal to the town's locals and simply indispensable to the penguins.



Jokes aside, the sign (said to be a world first) was erected in 2003 in response to the rising number of penguins being killed by passing motorists. So why did the penguins really cross the road? It all comes down to the birds and the bees: they were seeking nesting areas for breeding season.


Toads Crossing


Barely 20 minutes from Simon's Town is Noordhoek, a charming seaside village where road-trippers and other motorists have to pump the brakes again... this time at road signs that warn of crossing Western Leopard Toads. No, you're not in a Disney movie. These toads are also crossing the road to seek freshwater ponds to (you guessed it) get jiggy with it.



Seems the road signs aren't enough, though. South Africa recently installed its first Toad Tunnels for these endangered amphibians to make it across the road unscathed. Built in nearby Zeekoevlei, it's all part of the Western Cape Leopard Toad Underpass Project, which will hopefully also guide other animals to safety. Toadally.


Cats Crossing


Marking the start of South Africa's Route 62 is Montagu's main drag, where you'll find a Cats Crossing sign. Local lore has it that the Preston family worked with local authorities to erect the signs on either side of historic Bath Street to alert motorists to the presence of their beloved felines, Fatcat and Heather. The Cats Crossing pops up just before the pedestrian crossing, which helps to show humans their place in the pecking order. (The signpost even includes a plaque erected in honour of the now-late Heather the cat.)



It's not just these small-town idiosyncrasies that make Montagu so charming. Nestled in the Breede River Valley between majestic mountains, this is wine country, boasting some of the best blends in the area. It's also famous for its mineral hot springs and rock formations. 


Remove Dentures


Taking a detour from our animal theme, this next pearler even made it to a World's Weirdest Road Signs list. Presenting the Danger Ahead: Fasten Safety Belts And Remove Dentures sign in the magical Karoo. Kraairivier Farm owner HP Esterhuyse put the sign up as a warning about the bad roads in the Karoo. Must be the desert air.



Much further afield, you'll find this road sign's unexpected cousin in KwaZulu-Natal's remote Kosi Bay. This time it's the ladies and the be-dentured who have to take extra care: Warning. Fasten Brastraps and Remove Dentures. Very Bumpy Road. After you make it over the bumps (hopefully with cleavage and dentistry intact), take your time to explore one of the most stunning lake systems on the African coast.


There are many more amusing road signs to spot on South Africa's highways and byways. Use Hippo's Car Rental comparison tool to find a set of wheels to explore the roads with.  

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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