About South Africa (ZA)
The southernmost state in Africa, South Africa is a sprawling country with remarkable natural diversity. From the Cape of Good Hope to the semi-arid Kalahari Desert in the country’s north, South Africa has vibrant cities, stunning natural vistas, and an exquisite variety of plant and animal life.
Rent a car in South Africa and come for a safari or to see a glimpse of a great white shark along the Garden Route coast, but definitely stay for the lush wineries and the laidback beaches.
The Drakensberg mountain range has snow skiing facilities; don’t miss the spectacular Blyde River Canyon. Kruger National Park has cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes and lions, among many other species of animals. To the northeast of Cape Town is the country’s wine growing region of Boland, a lovely place to discover with your South African car rental.
Overall, South Africa’s main highways are in good condition, but you may encounter roads of variable quality in more rural areas. Note also that the national highways are usually toll roads, and you will need to drive on the left-hand side. As violent crime can be an issue, foreign drivers must take a number of precautions to avoid being targeted by carjackers or thieves while traveling with their car hire in South Africa, most notably in urban areas and away from touristy areas.
Lock the windows and doors of your South Africa car rental at all times, and be especially careful at night, or when you slow down or stop (including at traffic lights). Don’t leave anything valuable visible in the car, even if you are in it. In general, don’t stop to pick someone up or because there is an obstacle in the road, as these are well-documented techniques used by would-be robbers.
Choosing your car
Major providers of car rentals in South Africa include Avis and Hertz. Popular choices for a cheap car rental and discounts include a 4x4 such as a truck or SUV, or a budget-friendly compact car. For a more luxurious experience, you can book a sports car, convertible or spacious sedan. Larger groups, or groups traveling with a sizeable amount of luggage or equipment, can book a 7—12 person mini van or people mover.
Tips and advice for renting a car in South Africa
It’s imperative to drive with a working—and charged—mobile phone in South Africa. From a cell phone, you can call the national emergency number of 112.
Before taking the road, make sure that, in addition to having a charged mobile phone, you have sufficient fuel, oil and pressure in your tires.
Fuel stations are usually open at all hours. Note that they are not self-service, but have attendants who can help you refuel.
If you see a vehicle or person that appears to be in some sort of trouble, call emergency services rather than stop.
The allowed alcohol blood content on the road is quite low, so play it safe and avoid driving after drinking.
In some areas, you may see road signs warning about various animal crossings (such as antelope or cows). Drive carefully in these areas, especially at night.