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Cape Town South Africa Table Mountain
Cape Town South Africa Table Mountain
Durban South Africa City Coast
Durban South Africa City Coast
Johannesburg City Centre South Africa
Johannesburg City Centre South Africa

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.

  Getting around

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.

Are you driving a rental car in South Africa?

Urban Speed Limit


60 kph  | 37.3 mph
Rural Speed Limit


100 kph  | 62.1 mph
Motorway Speed Limit


120 kph  | 74.6 mph
Fuel Price




Road Driving


Driving Age


18 years of age
18 years of age to RENT
Emergency Services


Documentation requirements



Here's some more in depth South Africa driving rules and guidelines for car renters:

Driving in South Africa shouldn’t be that difficult, though it may be a challenge if you’re used to driving on the right-hand side of the road, as you will need to drive on the left.  Read on to learn more about the rules and regulations of driving in the country.


Your country’s license will be valid in South Africa, but make sure you gather all the documentation you need. Be sure to take the following:

  • A valid driver’s license from your country
  • Official photo ID (passport)
  • Proof of insurance (Call your company to be sure of coverage)
  • Proof of ownership if you are bringing your own car or written permission by the owner
  • An International Driver’s Permit (IDP), which is a translation of your license. You should get it before you leave home
  • Car rental agreement if renting a car

Age Restrictions

For a motorcycle or car, you must be 17-years-old to get a license, though 16-year-olds can drive smaller motorcycles (mopeds). Check with your rental company for age restrictions.

Driving Rules, Laws, and Regulations

  • Drive on the left hand side of the road; pass on the right
  • All people in the vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt
  • To use your phone, you must have a hands-free device
  • Watch out for wildlife on the roads, as many areas aren’t fenced
  • Most major highways are toll roads, so be prepared to pay
  • Some rural roads may be in poor condition or not even paved
  • Road signs will be in English
  • Traffic lights are often referred to as “robots”
  • Be aware of people in the vicinity at stop lights; be sure to keep your car locked and windows up at all times
  • Gas pumps are full service, so don’t try to pump your own gas

Speed Limits and Fines

The speed limits will be posted in kilometers per hour. Generally, they are as follows:

  • 120 km/h (75 mph) on freeways
  • 100 km/h (60 mph) on rural roads
  • 60 km/h (35 mph) in urban areas

Traffic fines begin at 250 rand and go up to about 2,500 rand, depending on how many kilometers you are over the speed limit and what speed zone you are in. For instance, in 60 km/h (35 mph), you’ll pay 500 rand for 15-20 km/h over, 1,000 for 20-25, and 2,500 for 25-30. If you are driving at 100km/h or more in a 60 zone, you will need to appear in court. To pay a fine, you can obtain a Purchase Order at a post office and send it by registered mail. You do not have to pay on the spot.

Drunk Driving

For driving, your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) shouldn’t be over 0.05 g/100ml. That is approximately one drink per hour, depending on your weight. If caught operating a vehicle while above the legal limit, you could face one of the following punishments:

  • Fines, which can be as much as 120,000 rands
  • Suspension of license. The first time you are caught, your license can be suspended for 6 months, which means you will not be allowed to drive while you are visiting
  • Jail time, up to 6 years, depending on how many offenses you have


  • Park in the direction of traffic
  • Don’t stop at red curbs or lines; don’t park at yellow curbs or lines
  • Don’t block road signs
  • Don’t park on sidewalks or near intersections
  • Don’t park on major roads

Be aware of safety as you are driving. Don’t pick up hitchhikers, and don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car.

South Africa Driving Ideas Guide

Situated at the tip of Africa, the vastness and sheer beauty of South Africa cannot be summed up in mere words alone. It has to be experienced, felt and seen with your own eyes.

This spectacular country is not only one of the modern miracles of our time politically, but it also has so many attractions, appealing to every desire you as a tourist might have.

From the sheer majesty of Table Mountain hovering over Cape Town, one of the world’s great cities, to the abundance of wildlife in the Kruger National Park or the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg (or Jozi as the locals know it), South Africa will welcome you with open arms, make you fall in love and definitely ensure you will visit again.

Although travelling distances between major destinations can be vast, South Africa has a well maintained national highway system. However, it is the little back roads just outside of the major cities where you will find real gems worth visiting. So don’t be afraid to get into your rental car and explore!

Cape Town

The “Mother City”, established in 1652, Cape Town is possibly the most famous travel destination in Africa. Blessed with a majestic backdrop of Table Mountain, this city has it all, from beautiful, white sandy beaches along its coastline to the wine producing regions of Paarl and Stellenbosch only 50 kilometres inland.

It is well loved by adrenaline junkies as well with the blustery summer winds ideal for kite and windsurfing. The Atlantic Ocean along the Cape shores teem with marine species and whale watching is a favourite past-time especially during August and September. For those a little braver, a cage dive with the apex predator of the deep, the fearsome Great White Shark is a must.

But the city also has a rich cultural history and is filled with museums and old architecture. Be sure to visit the colourful “Bo-Kaap” region, home to a vibrant Cape Malay heritage (and try their curry). Speaking of food, Cape Town has a number of fine restaurants serving an array of dishes. If you love seafood, then local restaurants will not disappoint.

Accommodation in Cape Town includes backpackers’ lodges, rental apartments, self-catering units and hotels.

Kruger National Park

Situated in the north-west of South Africa, around 400 kilometres from Johannesburg, lies the Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve on the African continent.

The park itself is around 19 000 square kilometres in size and filled with over 140 unique mammal species, 500 birds species, 110 reptile species, 50 fish species and over 330 different types of trees. The park is also home to Africa’s Big 5; African lion, African elephant, African leopard, White or Black rhinoceros and the Cape buffalo. Be sure to partake in a game drive (or two) where the chances of seeing these incredible animals are fairly high.

The fauna and flora are not the only attractions in the park. There are numerous hiking trails, camping facilities as well as guided trails through the bush.  If you love the outdoors, the bush and wildlife, a trip to the Kruger National Park is more than worth it.


Situated on the east coast of KwaZulu — Natal, the city of Durban is an extremely popular tourist attraction. It is blessed with sun-kissed beaches (particularly along a stretch called the Golden Mile) and incredible weather all year round, with winter temperature in the low 20 degree Celsius range.

Durban is also a favoured water sport’s venue in South Africa, particularly for surfing, especially at the North Pier. The city is a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures, with a rich British influence as well as Zulu and Indian heritage. For brave gastronomes, be sure to try a Durban curry, probably the hottest you will experience outside of India. Also don’t forget to try a traditional “Bunny Chow”, curry in a hollowed out half white loaf of bread! Delicious!

Durban has numerous other attractions including the UShaka Marine World Aquarium, a great place to take the family.

Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels offer great deals for both car rental and accommodation. This saves YOU money that can then be used to make your holiday even more special!

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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Frequently asked questions about renting a car in South Africa

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1. What is the best time of year to book a rental car in South Africa?

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2. Is it possible for one way rentals in South Africa?

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3. Should I rent a round trip or one-way rental in South Africa?

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4. Which location should I rent my car from in South Africa?

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5. Do I pay more fees and taxes for renting a car at the airport in South Africa?

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6. What insurance do I require for driving a rental car in South Africa?

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7. What is the best way to save money on rental car insurance in South Africa?

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8. Should I prepay my rental car booking in South Africa?

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9. What are the largest numbers of vehicle seats available for a rental car in South Africa?

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10. What types of sports and special cars are available in South Africa?

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11. Can I take my rental car across borders in South Africa?

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12. How do I inform the rental company I will be crossing a border from the South Africa?