Car Rental in South Africa
Why rent a car in South Africa?
From famous cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg to nature areas and an extensive coastline, South Africa really seems to have everything. The large distances can sometimes feel overwhelming, but the road network is generally in good shape and even if you choose to stick to just one region of the country, you’ll most likely end up being surprised by the incredible diversity that you’ll find.
If you want to know more about renting a car in South Africa, don't miss our complete guide.
One-way Car Rentals in South Africa
Here are the most popular one-way rental options for pickup in South Africa and drop off in another country:
- From South Africa to Namibia - 92 offers from $40.11 per day
- From South Africa to Lesotho - 10 offers from $24.06 per day
- From South Africa to Botswana - 35 offers from $27.98 per day
- From South Africa to Swaziland - 10 offers from $24.06 per day
Top ways to enter South Africa
- Johannesburg Airport: The busiest not just in the country, but in all of Africa, Johannesburg Airport handled 28 million travelers in 2019. A hub for the South African carrier Airlink, it also has flights by more than 30 other airlines that connect the city with destinations all over the globe. Johannesburg is also served by Lanseria Airport which offers domestic flights.
- Cape Town Airport: Serving the city of Cape Town as well as the larger Western Cape Province, this airport handles about ten million travelers every year. In addition to many domestic connections, Cape Town Airport has direct flights to and from France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, and many other international destinations.
- Durban King Shaka Airport: Serving South Africa’s third-largest city, King Shaka Airport offers plenty of domestic connections, as well as flights to and from such countries as Mauritius, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Top cities and places to visit
- Cape Town: The capital of Western Cape Province, Cape Town is one of the most visited cities in Africa for a reason. Attractions like the Bo-Kaap or Malay Quarter and Robben Island provide an important insight into South Africa’s history while nature lovers will no doubt appreciate the penguin colony at nearby Boulder Beach.
- Johannesburg: The largest city in the country, ‘Jozi’ is better known for its economic prowess, but also has plenty for a curious traveler to explore. Attractions include some of South Africa’s best museums, centers of traditional culture, old gold mines, and nearby nature sites like the Suikerbosrand Reserve and Lion & Safari Park.
- Kruger National Park: There are many great national parks in South Africa, but Kruger in the Limpopo Province is one of the most notable ones. Located along the borders with Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the size of a small country, it has nine entry gates, two of which, Malelane and Phabeni, are about a five-hour drive from Johannesburg. All of the most notable and famous South African wildlife species can be found here. Visit the park’s website to learn more.
Most popular rental car
The most popular rental car types in South Africa are mini, economy, and intermediate, while the most popular rental cars are the Nissan Micra, Hyundai i20, and Datsun Go.
Picking a smaller car is fine for getting around cities and traveling along major highways, but if you plan to explore some nature during your trip, getting a sturdier and more powerful vehicle might be necessary.
Driver license requirements
- South Africa recognizes foreign driver’s licenses if they are valid, if the license is in English, and if you are visiting on a trip that’s shorter than one year. If you’re a foreign national permanently residing in South Africa, you need to acquire a local license.
- If your driver’s license is not English, you need to provide an official translation or have an International Driving Permit (IDP).
- Similarly, if your driver’s license doesn’t show your photograph, you might be required to have an IDP.
- Even if you have an IDP, you also need to carry the driver’s license from your country as you might be required to present both.
- You must carry your driver’s license, not a copy, with you at all times.
- You need to have had your driver’s license for at least two years.
- Some rental car suppliers charge a young driver fee for drivers between the ages of 22 and 25 and a senior driver fee for drivers over the age of 65.
- There may be additional requirements depending on the car supplier and category, so make sure to check rental conditions before booking.
South Africa has land borders with six countries — Lesotho (an enclave completely surrounded by South Africa), Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland).
South Africa and each of its six neighbors have their own unique visa policy, so, depending on your citizenship, you may or may not need a visa to visit them. If you plan to visit any of South Africa’s neighbors during your trip, make sure to consult your Ministry of Foreign Affairs in advance to find out about entry requirements for citizens of your country.
One-way rentals between South Africa and its neighboring countries are rarely permitted. You might find some suppliers that allow trips between South Africa and Lesotho, Eswatini, or Botswana, very few allowing trips to Mozambique and Namibia and likely none to Zimbabwe. You can find car rental companies that permit one-way rentals by entering your car pick-up and drop-off locations when searching. Another option is to drop off your car in South Africa, travel by public transportation, and pick up a new car when arriving at your destination.
Due to their proximity to popular South African destinations, some travelers might want to do a short car trip to Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, or Mozambique and later return to South Africa. However, if you plan to do this, make sure to not only check if you need a visa to visit the other country, but also to ask your rental car supplier in advance if they permit it. Most rental car companies do not permit crossing the border in a rental car (you might find some who permit entering Lesotho or Eswatini, but very few for Botswana and Mozambique).
Top driving routes
- Garden Route. Both a very scenic drive and a tourist attraction, the Garden Route is a 300km-long (180-mile) coastal stretch on the Western Cape. Home to the most beautiful beaches in South Africa (and, according to some, the world), it is known for the stunning views, surfing, Tsitsikamma National Park, and much more.
- Durban. Located on South Africa’s eastern coast, the country’s third-largest city is another rising travel destination. Notably influenced by its large Indian diaspora, it offers an interesting cultural heritage, as well as attractions like the coastal stretch of Golden Mile, skydiving, and many nearby nature areas.
- Northern Cape. Quite literally off the beaten track, the Northern Cape Province remains an uncharted territory for most foreign visitors. Traveling there takes some serious planning — there’s not much tourist infrastructure and even finding a gas station can be a challenge at times — but those who are serious enough about it will be rewarded with national parks with very few other visitors and hauntingly beautiful landscapes unlike anywhere else. Kimberly is the main city of the region, the location of an airport, and a good hub from which to explore the rest of the province.
Car Rental Prices
- Station wagons - from $45 per day
- Large cars - from $57 per day
- Medium cars - from $43 per day
- Vans - from $91 per day
- Premium cars - from $96 per day
- Small cars - from $33 per day
- SUVs - from $110 per day
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do a number of things to get a good car rental deal in South Africa:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting South Africa is the cheapest in May when renting a car is about 29% cheaper than the yearly average and about 56% cheaper than renting a car in November.
Top 20 Most Popular Cities in South Africa
Top 20 Most Popular Locations in South Africa
Map of Car Rental Locations
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in South Africa?
What’s the average rental length in South Africa?
What’s the most popular time for renting a car in South Africa?
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|First Car Rental||Suzuki Celerio||5||1||Small cars|
|First Car Rental||Nissan Almera||5||2||Medium cars|
|First Car Rental||Honda Amaze||5||1||Small cars|
|Hertz||Toyota Agya||5||1||Small cars|
|Thrifty||Hyundai Grand i10||5||1||Small cars|
|Firefly||Toyota Agya||5||1||Small cars|
|First Car Rental||Suzuki Celerio||4||1||Small cars|
|Europcar||Kia Picanto||5||1||Small cars|
|First Car Rental||Ford Ecosport||5||3||SUVs|
|Keddy||Kia Picanto||5||1||Small cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
Because we want to make sure each review listed here is left by a real customer, we don’t have an option to post a review here. Instead, we ask each and every customer to leave a review after they return their rental. This way, you know that all reviews are authentic, verified, and trustworthy.