Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fuel for thought

Two days ago blogger friend,Sandra from Madsnapper blog wrote about different fuel / gas prices at different stations. I e-mailed her about our small fuel stations in our previous town, Marquard. Then I remembered that there are many dozens of large chain fuel stations all over South Africa. Many are situated about 200km apart on the National Freeways between our large cities. 

Yesterday as Grant and I returned from a nearby town, we had to travel along the National N3 between Johannesburg and Durban. I took out my camera and snapped the Shell Ultra City as we drove in for Grant to visit the little boys' room. 

There is nowhere in Africa where you fill your own vehicle with petrol or diesel. You ride onto the driveway and park next to a bowser. A bowser attendant normally flags you in, keen to have you use his pump. You roll your window down and then ask him to fill up with 93 or 95 unleaded petrol. Or if your vehicle was diesel, you ask for 50ppm (sulphur parts per million) My live-in mechanical technician tells me this extends the life of your engine.


While the fuel is running into your tank, the same attendant will clean your windscreen. And he does it beautifully! There are often lady pump attendants as well and they are every bit as helpful and efficient as their male counterparts.  

When your tank is full (or you have the required amount in it) the attendant tells you how much you owe him. If you're paying by credit card, he brings the card machine. 

You're expected to give this friendly, helpful man/woman a R5 - R7 tip  - a minuscule amount in comparison to the US$ or Euro - but that's how it's done. 

The fuel attendant waves to us to use his pump

Every large franchise such as this Shell Ultra City, has a quick shop, open 24 hours, which stocks several grocery items, iced drinks, take-away coffee and snacks. All much more expensive than your regular grocery store. (Above and below is the Shell Select Store at this fuel stop) 

The restrooms are beautifully clean, there are ATM's machines for most banks and there is also a sit-down diner where you order a meal to break your journey. 

I hope you're all enjoying the last few days of 2016. I've not yet stopped to reflect on this past year. If I was a negative person, I'd call it the Annus Horribilis  of my life.


It was a little challenging; it was life-changing. But then again, Grant's health has improved 100% and we are living in one of the most beautiful places on God's earth. 


  1. your fuel stations are almost exactly like ours here in USA, even to the store with much higher prices. no sit down diners, but they do sell some food to take with. the big difference is we do it ourselves with no helpers. I would like to have it pumped for me like we did in the past. I wish for you the opposite of a horrible year and so happy that Grant is so much healthier. I can attest by your photos to you living in a beautiful place. and think how happy the dogs and cats are.

  2. Hello, Usually hubby or I will pump our own gas. The only USA state I know that still have gas attendants is in New Jersey, they do not take tips. our gas just went up again, due to state taxes. I am so happy your Grant is feeling much better. I agree you are living in a beautiful place now. Enjoy your day and the weekend ahead! I wish you all the best in 2017, Happy New Years!

  3. It's a very beautiful and clean gas station compared to many of ours. What you are describing is the old days here though I don't think I've ever seen such a large or exceptionally clean station. These days you pump your own gas and pay at the pump via credit or interact or go into the station where you can find snacks and some basic foods. These latter are at generally higher prices given they are convenience foods for say something you forgot to pick up when out shopping or something you ran out of, or snacks if you are travelling but sometimes the cost is almost the same.

  4. I had to get used to the differences when fueling up in SA, and the tipping part, yet always got good and friendly service. You are now living a beautiful life in a beautiful part of the country. Happy New Year!

  5. Sorry to hear you had a bad year. I hope next year will be better.Its great to see that you have a positive attitude.


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