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A Guide To Renting A Car In South Africa

Renting a car in South Africa is an excellent way to explore the country at your leisure. That’s what my sister and I did the last time we went there (I’ve been three times! ), and we had a great time.

South Africa, you see, is an incredible country. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, scenery, adventure, or culinary experiences, South Africa has them all and so much more. Long, sandy beaches, varied landscapes, game reserves, national parks, world-class cities, and breathtaking driving routes, such as the world-famous Garden Route, await.

Many people, however, are concerned that renting a car in South Africa is a bad idea. They believe South Africa is not a safe place for a road trip; they are concerned about traffic and road conditions in cities; and they are concerned about the costs. These are definitely things to consider when planning your trip, but they should not deter you from renting a car.

The Ins and Outs of Car Rental in South Africa

Driving is one of the best ways to see South Africa. Self-guided road trips allow you to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Using guided tours and public transportation can consume a significant amount of your travel time. A guided tour is quick, but you’ll probably have to stop at places that aren’t even of interest to you. Public transportation, on the other hand, may be much slower, which is a real bummer if you are pressed for time.

If you want to travel around South Africa while enjoying the freedom of the open road, you’ll need to first get your hands on a dependable vehicle. Renting a car is the best way to ensure you have a safe and dependable mode of transportation. But first, there are a few things you should know before booking that rental.

Is it safe to rent a car in South Africa?

The main concern that travellers have when considering renting a car in South Africa is whether it is safe to drive there. It’s natural to be concerned about driving safety in South Africa. It’d be strange if you weren’t concerned. Of course, driving in a foreign country is not the same as driving in your own. As a result, being able to anticipate and respond to potential problems is advantageous.

The Western Cape around Cape Town, for example, and even Gauteng around Johannesburg and Pretoria, have large, multi-lane highways. However, once you get away from the big cities, you’ll be driving on two or three-lane roads, which means more traffic and slower speeds.
In general, stay on major roads as much as possible, especially if you are not in a touristy area. The main roads are significantly better maintained than the rest.

Keep in mind that you will be driving on the left. If you believe this is a problem, renting a car with an automatic transmission will make your life much easier. Other common rules to follow include wearing your seat belt (this includes passengers), not exceeding speed limits, not using your cell phone while driving, never drinking and driving, and avoiding driving at night unless absolutely necessary. Keep an eye out for animals on the road as well (you will especially notice baboons in the surroundings of Cape Town).

One advantage of driving in South Africa is that there is no language barrier if you speak English. Finally, let’s take a look at what you should know before renting a car in South Africa.

The Cost of Car Rental in South Africa

How much does it cost to rent a car in South Africa? The good news is that it is extremely affordable. The final cost of your car rental will obviously depend on a number of factors, including how long you want to rent it for; how far in advance you book your car and what time of year you’re travelling; which rental agency you use; how many designated drivers you want to have; and even how far you want to drive.

Surprisingly, the longer you rent a car, the lower the final price you will have to pay!

Keep an eye out for limited mileage

Because not all quotes for can rental in South Africa include unlimited mileage, you must thoroughly read the policy. You will notice as you read that some car companies provide a free allowance of a certain number of miles or kilometres (100 or 200, which is actually insufficient on some days!) and then charge for each additional mile (or kilometre). Others will charge you per mile or kilometre the moment you leave.

This makes comparing car rental prices a little more difficult than you’d like.

It will be much easier if you have a set itinerary for your road trip because you will have a better idea of the distances you will cover – but make sure to leave some room for detours just in case.

Otherwise, rent a car from a company that allows unlimited mileage to avoid unexpected charges on your credit card.

Drop-off only one way

One-way drop-off is typically more expensive anywhere in the world and will increase the cost of your car rental. However, with low-cost airlines whisking you across the country and the costs of fuel, lodging, and food piling up, you may conclude that it is actually cheaper to drop off the car somewhere other than where you picked it up.

READ MORE : 10 Types of Product Analysis you Should Know

What is the price of gas in South Africa?

Gas is relatively inexpensive in South Africa, at least in comparison to Europe. At the time of writing, a litre of gas costs approximately $1.3 USD – approximately $4.85 per gallon (source Global Petrol Prices).

Most gas stations are open 24 hours a day, and there will usually be someone waiting to fill your tank and wash your windshield while you wait. Paying in cash is always preferable, so keep some spare change on hand (you will also need that for the occasional toll road). Gas station attendants expect a small tip as well.

Make a reservation in advance

Booking ahead of time is the best way to ensure you have a car waiting for you when you arrive. This is especially important during peak travel seasons when rental properties tend to fill up quickly. Just make sure you have or can obtain the necessary documents before booking – more on that below.

At the airport, you can rent a car.

The simplest way to rent a car and save time and money is to do so at the airport where you will be arriving. This will save you from having to travel around the city looking for your rental, which will consume valuable vacation time and some of your spending money!

Rent a car from a car rental company near your hotel.

If renting at the airport is not an option, try to find an agency near the airport or your hotel. The agencies available will vary depending on the airport and city, but in South Africa, you’ll find Car Hire South Africa, Pace, Bluu Car Rental Pretoria, Drive South Africa, First Car Rental, Budget, Hertz, and Thrifty.

A valid driver’s licence is required

Visitors from other countries must have a full licence from their home country that is in English in order to drive in South Africa. If you have a licence in another language, you must apply for and obtain an international driver’s permit. Regardless, the licence must have a signature and a photo or it will not be accepted. While driving, you must have your driver’s licence with you.

What is the minimum age to rent a car in South Africa?

This is extremely important! To rent a car in South Africa, you must be at least 18 years old and have held your driver’s licence for a minimum of a year. Most rental car companies will charge a young driver surcharge if you are under the age of 25. If you want to travel by car or anything else you can book a South Africa trip or stay in a South Africa safari lodge. Live your best life today.

Purchase insurance.

While car insurance is not required while driving in South Africa (which is unusual for us in Europe), it is required that all rental cars have insurance. Furthermore, accidents happen, and you don’t want to be saddled with a large bill. Consider this: you’ll be driving in an unfamiliar area with unfamiliar roads, signs, and how other drivers conduct themselves on the road, not to mention adverse weather and other hazards.

Although the likelihood of an accident is low, failing to be properly insured will be a costly mistake if one occurs. If you already have car insurance, check with your local insurance provider to see if it covers international car rentals. If not, perhaps they can add something to your policy. You may need to use a different company entirely, or you may need to purchase additional insurance from the rental agency itself.

Your mandatory insurance will include fire and third-party liability coverage, which covers you for damage or injury to property or people other than the rental car. My recommendation is to have all possible insurance add-ons. Consider adding collision damage waiver, theft protection, and personal accident insurance to your policy. Finally, you should consider getting tyre and glass insurance.

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