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Pick up a car hire in South Africa and discover an exciting land of charm and adventure. This varied landscape comprises vibrant cities, lush countryside, wild beaches and craggy cliffs, offering some of the most magnificent sights on the planet. Experience a unique and fascinating culture and witness incredible wildlife as you explore South Africa by rental car.
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Where to pick up rental cars in South Africa
South Africa is a vast and varied country, with several options for international arrival and car rental pick up. The largest and busiest airport in South Africa is Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport, with many overseas travellers arriving and getting acclimated here first before touring the rest of the country. Lanseria Airport is located northwest of Johannesburg and serves as an alternative to bustling Tambo, offering cheaper airfares and more convenient proximity to the city of Pretoria.
As the gateway to the Western Cape, picking up a car hire from Cape Town Airport means navigating the second busiest airport in the country, offering direct international flights from several countries and multiple domestic daily flight services to various South African major cities. Driving your rental car from Port Elizabeth Airport or George Airport offers south coastal beauty, as well as access to some of South Africa’s most exciting wildlife parks and natural wonders.
What to know about driving a car rental in South Africa
Here’s a quick bullet-point summary of the things you need to know about driving your car hire in South Africa:
- Rental providers have varying rules about licensing so you must check to ensure you have the required documentation. An International Driver's Permit carried in conjunction with your national driving license is recommended and must be printed or authenticated in English. This must be kept with you at all times.
- Plan your car hire South Africa route in advance. Road infrastructure is generally well maintained by the South African National Roads Agency [SANRAL], but side roads are less attended to, so it is best to avoid them where possible. Current information on the conditions of roads can be obtained through the Automobile Association of South Africa.
- Many roads between the main centres in South Africa are toll roads. They take credit cards or cash, and there are several e-tolls around Gauteng. These require setting up a temporary account online—ask your local rental provider about the protocol.
- Petrol/Fuel Stations are spread along the main routes, open 24 hours, and are equipped with facilities to freshen up and eat a meal. They are usually manned by attendants who can also check oil, water and tyre pressure if required. Tips for this service are at your own discretion.
- Be safety conscious at all times. Avoid driving at night and in remote areas if possible, and park your rental car in busy, well-lit areas. Keep your windows rolled up, doors locked and valuables out of sight at all times. Don’t pick up hitchhikers—no matter how innocent they look. Be aware of thieving scams that try to get you to stop your vehicle by placing stones or large objects on the road. Drive around them carefully.
Sights to see/popular itineraries with car rental South Africa
If you pick up your South Africa rental car in one of the following cities, here’s what you can expect.
Car Rental Cape Town
Cape Town is one of the most attractive cities in South Africa, and a perfect pick up location for a car hire road trip. Cape Town not only boasts fascinating architecture, diverse cultural influences and a strikingly unique geological setting, but it’s also the gateway to exploring the natural wonders of the Western Cape.
Durban Car Rental
The coastal city of Durban is a prime destination for sunseekers, surfers and watersports enthusiasts. The Golden Mile draws tourists from far and wide, while those seeking the serenity of nature can head their South African vehicle rental to Burman Bush, just 8 kilometres north of Durban’s CBD and around 31 kilometres south of Durban Airport.
Johannesburg Car Rental
Johannesburg or Jo-burg offers visitors to enjoy trendy restaurants and urban delights, as well as explore a number of historic and natural attractions. Mandela House, a museum located in the former home of Nelson Mandela, gives Johannesburg tourists a unique look at this central anti-apartheid figure. Driving 40 minutes to the Krugersdorp Nature Reserve in your car hire South Africa will treat you to a safari experience without the inconvenience of travelling to a major reserve.
Port Elizabeth Car Rental
Set just beyond the eastern end of the Garden Route, Port Elizabeth provides an ideal midpoint for your South Africa adventures. Pick up your car hire at Port Elizabeth Airport and drive along the gorgeous coastal Garden Route to the west or the exploration of Eastern Cape game reserves. The choice is yours.
George Car Rental
Right in the midst of South Africa's Garden Route is the town of George. There’s no better way to jump right into this classic coastal road trip in Southern Africa than with a car rental from George Airport—it will also give you the freedom to head up to the ostrich farms of Oudtshoorn or discover the ancient glories of the Cango Caves.
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How old do you have to be to hire a car in South Africa?
The absolute minimum age for hiring a car in South Africa is 18, but drivers under the age of 25 may encounter restrictions or surcharges.
How much does it cost to rent a car in South Africa?
Car hire prices in South Africa will vary from location to location, and fluctuate based on season and vehicle availability. Take advantage of long term car hire packages as you can get a better daily rate if you hire a car long term for a week or month. Be sure to pay attention to changes in rates with added features like unlimited mileage. For the most current prices, type your pick up/drop off date and destination into the search function on this page and compare rates across multiple car hire companies in South Africa.
What is the best car hire company in South Africa?
The best car hire company will vary based on where you’re hiring from and what kind of South African trip you’re taking. You can find rental vehicles from well-known international brands like Budget Car Rental South Africa, Hertz, and Europcar South Africa, as well as trusted local brands. Compare brands and offers using the search function on this page, and find cheap car rental South Africa deals with GoSee.
Is it safe to rent a car in South Africa?
Yes, it is safer in many cases to rent a car in South Africa than it is to use public transport. Public transport is non-existent in rural areas, and limited and often unreliable or unsafe in some cities. For the most part, with adequate precaution and planning, renting a car in South Africa is safe and suitable.
What type of cars can I hire in South Africa?
Our website can help you compare vehicles, prices, and inclusions from the top car hire companies in South Africa and provide you with access to great deals. Choose from the widest range of vehicles available - from compact and economy cars to SUV and larger vehicles. From cheap rental cars South Africa to luxury car hire, we can help you find what you’re looking for, here.
Do I need an international drivers license?
If you wish to drive a South African car rental, you need to bring a valid drivers licence from your country of residence. If the licence does not have an English translation or is not in the acceptable format, then you will also need an International Drivers Licence. If unsure, confirm requirements with the local depot before you travel.
What is the most popular car hire in South Africa?
Economy size vehicles tend to be the most popular car hire in Southern Africa, but this can vary depending on a variety of factors. Economy size vehicles include Toyota Yaris, Suzuki Swift, Nissan Amara, and similar.
What is the minimum rental period?
For most car hire companies in South Africa, there is no minimum rental period. You could rent a car for one day if you wish. However, a longer rental period offers better value for money.
What documents do I need to hire a car in South Africa?
To rent a car in South Africa, you should bring your passport, drivers license, and a credit card in your name. If your license is not in an acceptable format, you may need an accompanying translation or International Drivers Permit.
What is the cheapest car to rent in South Africa?
Looking for cheap car rental South Africa offers? It is much like everywhere else—the no-frills economy size and compact vehicles are the cheapest to rent. Remember to look for more than just the cheapest car hire agency. When comparing brands, inclusions and convenience may be worth the extra money in some cases, so read the terms carefully.
Is it easy to rent a car in South Africa?
With GoSee, it is easy to book and drive a South Africa car rental! Search, compare, and select the best rental car South Africa deals using our search widget, with no charge. As long as you have planned for your travel with the dates and all inclusions, plus all official identification and documents have been prepared, you have nothing to worry about.