Clarke’s team thrashed England 5-0 in Australia during the recent Ashes and their next goal was to beat the Proteas on their home turf.
“I said when we departed from Australia that the biggest challenge this team faces now is having success away from home,” Clarke said after Australia went 1-0 up in the three-Test series on Saturday.
“I think we are quite comfortable playing in our own backyard with our home fans right behind us, and everybody knowing the conditions, the weather and the pitches.
“It is extremely hard to have success away from home.”
In 2013, Australia had lost away to England 3-0 in the Ashes, and Clarke said the experience had provided valuable lessons for the side.
“This team has found it tough to win away from home and that is why this series is such a great challenge for us.
“You are playing the number one team in the world, and the only way to beat them is to be at your best all day, every day, throughout three Test matches.”
While Mitchell Johnson’s 12/127 stole the headlines, Clarke said the Australian batsman had shone.
“I think we have played as good cricket as we have played over the last few months.
“I think our batters deserve a lot of credit being able to make the runs they did on quite a tough batting wicket.
“Their execution in the second innings was a lot better than in the first.
“Obviously Mitch was outstanding once again, but I think we were a little bit short with the ball in the first innings, but then we executed very well in the second dig.”