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Car Hire and Car Rental in South Africa

Updated on July 28, 2010

So you are planning a visit to South Africa and intend to rent or hire a car during your stay

Well thats all fair and well. You may wish to read here to get a btter understanding of car rental and car hire for the tourist to south africa and what you can expect from our transportation system and the road conditions in South Africa.

Let us assume that you are going to fly into one of the major selected cities for the 2010 soccer/football world cup such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban or Port Elizabeth.

You may or may not be using a central city for your accommodation or you may have elected to drive to each city in order to watch your chosen games and follow you nations team around South Africa. This is where the fun begins.

The first suggestion that I would make is to not get your rental car from the airport. Why do I say this ?

The minibus taxi or car rental hire

car hire and car rental in south africa
car hire and car rental in south africa

Where do I get my rental car and from which car hire companies

 Well, youv'e arrived at the airport and decide to pick up your rental car form the car hire company, only to find that the car hire counters are saturated with local and domestic passengers aiming to get a car for hire to drive to their desination.

This is not wise. The reason being that most cities, if not all of the major cities have car hire companies in close proximity to your destination and accomodation. The second reason is that it is always a good idea to take a taxi form the airport to estimate the time it takes for you to get back to the airport on your departure. The return of the car rental vehicle is also time consuming and can delay you quite considerably when you have a flights to catch in South Africa or for that fact anywhere in the world.

The costs involved with a taxi fare from the airport to your destination are in most cases under 20 miles or 35 kilometres form the airport. You can expect to pay roughly R 300 to R 400 local currency or the equivalent of a dollar to a pound per kilometer.

Once you have arrived at your destination and unpacked and are comfortable, then is a good time to go to the nearest hotel to collect your rental car. Most hotels will be able to hold your rental car that is booked via the internet. So, do yourself a favour. When you book your rental car hire, have them deliver ti to the hotel closest to where you are staying and take your time to inspect it at your leisure. Now you basically know where you are and your first trip is not hurtling out of the airport onto a major traffic route with cars hurtling past you whilst trying to watch your GPS to head to your destination.

The same applies on your return to the airport, your rental car is delivered back to the car hire company with plenty of time to relax before the taxi collects you to take you back to the airport.

GPS navigation is essential as the cities have undergone recent name changes to the roads and certain buildings, making some maps difficult to read as some road names wont match up. The GPS will recall both versions of the road names as the traditional Zulul names in some cities are difficult to read.

The metered taxi is the most reliable, but the most expensive. The minibus taxi is less tolerant to traffic, but will get you there the fastest and does not stick to a prescribed route, only a  specific area and will pretty much work on a fare per person hop on and hop off situation.Be very wide awake to make sure the minibus taxi is heading to the correct destination as there are literally hundreds of thousands of mini bus taxis in South Africa.

The city transprot will consist of people movers(buses)offering hop on hop off with beach front routes only, the municipal buses which are inner city and district areas( timetables form the city tourist junction) , the train systems operate mostly intercity and can be more difficult to navigat ethan most other countries due to current upgrades and the bus companies running between major cities such as Translux,Intercape and Greyhound.


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    • Dale Nelson profile image

      Dale Nelson 7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for stopping by pacific car rental and Danny Wood.

      Unfortunatley at present the vuvuzela is so cheap that it seems pointless to rent them out. You can get one at any street corner almost and I have never seen some many flags in all my life.

    • pacifccarrent profile image

      pacifccarrent 7 years ago from Vancouver, BC

      Can't wait till the Word Cups starts. Vancouver Car Rental were crazy during the Olympics in Vancouver so I assume it will be crazy their too.

    • dannywoodpx profile image

      dannywoodpx 7 years ago from Portugal

      Do you rent vuvuzelas too? :)