Car hire in South Africa

Blessed with wildlife-rich game reserves, sun-kissed beaches, rich history and world-class food and wine, South Africa has something for everyone. If you’re looking to explore the Rainbow Nation, there’s no better way to do so then with car rental South Africa, which gives you the freedom to explore the plethora of attractions available to you.

Best time to visit

Choosing when the best time to visit South Africa should be based on what activities you’d like to experience. If you’d like to spot the Big Five in the Kruger National Park, then it’s best to visit during the dry winter months of May to September as the vegetation thins out, making it easier to spot the wildlife who congregate around water sources. Hiring a car in the Kruger National Park gives you the chance to take control of your own safari, which will leave you and your loved ones with unforgettable memories. If you’d like to laze away on South Africa’s blue-flag beaches, then a visit during the summer months of December to February is your best bet. Car rental in South Africa is an excellent choice here, as there are a host of world-class beaches to visit along the Western Cape Coast.

Around South Africa

Cape Town

Situated at the tip of the African continent, Cape Town is South Africa’s travel hub, with thousands of travellers flocking to its shores every year to take advantage of the multitude of activities available. From world-class beaches, rolling lush green winelands and five-star restaurants, Cape Town has it all. Car in Cape Town is relatively cheap and easy as well, and it’s the best way to explore the city.


South Africa’s financial hub and the second largest city in Africa – Johannesburg is an excellent base for exploring the country’s wilderness areas. The city itself boasts the world’s largest man-made forest and a visit to the eclectic township of Soweto should not be missed.


Blessed with warm weather all year round, it’s the ideal destination to explore South Africa’s best outdoor attractions. Also known as ‘Surf City’, Durban is a popular destination for watersport enthusiasts. Be sure to visit uShaka Marine World, the largest aquarium in the Southern hemisphere.

Getting around

Car rental in South Africa is by far the best way to explore the wealth of sights and attractions that South Africa has to offer. Public transport is adequate if compared to Europe. Car hire South Africa will also give you the freedom to travel at your own pace.

Length of stay

Two weeks is the general recommended time when planning a holiday to South Africa. It gives you the opportunity to explore South Africa’s coastline, before heading to the bush to spot the Big Five.

What to pack

South Africa’s summers are quite warm, so be sure to pack in light clothing with lots of sunscreen. However, be sure to pack in a raincoat for the occasional shower. For winter, pack in warm clothing as the air becomes quite chilly.

Where to stay

Cape Town

Cape Town is an excellent city to live in. When you’re not at work, there’s a big variety of activities to keep you and your loved ones busy.


This upmarket city provides you with an excellent platform to become ingrained in South Africa’s historic past. It’s also a couple of hours away from South Africa’s popular wilderness areas.

Why hire a car in South Africa with Drive South Africa

Drive South Africa gives you excellent car rental in South Africa. We offer only the lowest rates complimented by professional service, giving you the driving freedom to explore our country without restrictions. As a car rental company we offer a complete range of vehicles across an extensive national car hire network. We cater to local and international markets ranging from budget car hire South Africa to luxury vehicles, for short term or long term car rental in South Africa. Hire cars of all calibres are available and can be ordered any time of the day.


Frequently asked questions when renting a car in South Africa

How old must I be to rent a vehicle in South Africa?

Most suppliers require you to be 21 as an international drivers and 23 for South African drivers, you are also required to have held a valid license for at least 2 years before renting a car.

There are various options depending on the supplier so please contact us if you are below this age and need to rent a vehicle.

My vehicle is being delivered to me. Will the fuel tank be full when I receive it?

Fuel is charged from depot to depot. Every vehicle leaves the depot full and is re-fuelled upon return. If your vehicle is delivered to you then the tank may not be completely full depending on the distance from the nearest depot.

In the same way, if your vehicle is collected from you it will be re-fuelled when it returns to the depot so you will be liable for the cost of the fuel from the collection point to the nearest depot.

How does the rental deposit work?

When you rent a car in South Africa, if you have chosen a package with an excess then you will be required to have he full excess value available on your credit card for a deposit. If you return the vehicle without any damages then this amount will be refunded to you. If repairs are required or parts need to be replaced then you will be charged the correct amount and any remaining funds will be refunded to you.

No matter what package you have chosen you will be required to pay a rental deposit. This varies from R1000 to R2000 depending on which supplier is used. This deposit will be refunded if the vehicle is returned on or before the agreed date and time with a full fuel tank. If the vehicle requires re-fuelling then you will be charged for this and the remaining funds will be refunded. If you return your vehicle late without contacting Drive South Africa then you will be charged for the additional days at the supplier’s extension rates.

What do I do if I have an accident?

If a third party is involved make sure you get all their details – name, ID or passport number, address and telephone number, vehicle registration, make, and model. You will need to contact the supplier as soon as possible but no more than 24 hours after the incident. They will require a full and detailed description of the accident.

If your vehicle needs to be replaced the supplier will arrange to do this. You also need to report the accident to the nearest police station and supply the car rental company with the case number.

We always recommend Super cover instead of Standard cover as this will cover you more extensivly if an accident should occur.

Can the vehicle model be guaranteed?

No. A specific model can be requested but not guaranteed. Rental vehicles are put into group i.e. Group A or Group D, so you will be renting a vehilce in a specific group, not a specific vehicle. The supplier reserves the right to replace certain models on their fleet without prior notification. The advertised vehicle gives an indication of the type of vehicle and features to be expected.

The only time you will rent a specific vehicle is when you enquire around our luxury fleet.

Do I need an International Driver’s License to rent a car with Drive South Africa?

No. You do not necessarily need an International Driver’s License.

You may use the driver’s license from your home country, provided that the license is:

  • Valid
  • Unendorsed
  • In English

If your license is in another language then you will need an International license.

The type of vehicles you can rent in South Africa

Compact Cars

Compact Cars

When renting a compact car in South Africa you’re generally expecting a vehicle that would be best suited for 1 or 2 persons with minimal baggage. Renting a compact car is best for business trips or short distance travel in and around a city.

If you’re looking to travel a bit further, then we would recommend hiring an SUV or at the very least a standard car.

Standard Cars

Standard Cars

When renting a standard car in South Africa you are generally looking at renting a 4 door sedan or similar with consdierably more boot space than your compact option. Renting a standard car is best for leisure trips where you have a 2-3 people with some baggage.

If you’re looking to travel a bit further or you’re 4-5 people with baggage, then we would recommend hiring an SUV or a People Mover.

Commercial Cars & Bakkies

Commercial Cars & Bakkies

When renting a commercial vehilce or bakkie, you are generally using it for work or moving purposes. This is a more hardy rental option that you can use to transport goods.

Please make sure that you read all terms and conditions when it comes to renting one of these vehicles as damages to the vehicle could result in hefty fines.



MPV stands for Multi-Purpose Vehicle and is used for larger groups when travelling. Generally renting an MPV is best suited when you are 4-5 people travelling with baggage.

If you are even slightly concerned about space however, we would recommend looking at renting a People Mover instead as the better option as this would allow you a large amount of space with baggage.



If chances are that you’re travelling for a few weeks, you will have quite a bit of luggage. An SUV is ideal for storing your luggage, where boot space is aplenty. You definitely won’t feel cramped when you rent an SUV.

As it is more adept at handling terrain, an SUV is the perfect rentla option for a road trip style holiday in Southern Africa. This is as you won’t always find perfectly manicured highways.

People Movers

People Movers

People movers are there to rent if you have 4-8 people travelling for slightly longer periods or you have a considerable amount of luggage. This is the best option if you are planning on renting with the aim of travelling in complete comfort as each passengers will have ample space.

If you need something a tad less expensive then an MPV would also do the trick but note, with this rental option you’ll have far less comfort and space.

Renting a car in South Africa vs other transport options

There are various modes of transport available in South Africa. Here are some of your options:

Taxis in South Africa

If you are considerimg moving through South Africa without purchasing a car rental it is important to note that taking a taxi or ordering one is not one of the most safest options. Local cabs use meters and it may be expensive, where public taxis will be cheaper but this will require you to make your way to the nearest taxi rank.

Buses in South Africa

South Africa has a good network of busses, varying in comfort and reliability from city to city. There are no class tiers in public bus services, however major companies generally offer a luxury service. The fares usually depending on the distance travel.

Car rental in South Africa

To rent a car in South Africa is fairly easy. However, you need to be at least 21 or older and have been a licenced driver in your home country for at least (2-5 years).

The rental procedure goes as follows:

When renting a vehicle in Johannesburg with Drive South Africa, the process could not be simpler. Just follow the steps below;

1. At the top of this page you will see a search form with dates and locations

2. Add the dates that you need to rent the vehicle for

3. Add the pick-up and drop-off locations where you want to collect the vehicle and then return the vehicle, in the case most likely Johannesburg

4. Click on the saerch button

5. A list of vehicles will appear that are available for you to rent in Johannesburg

6. You will see a range of filters at the top of the results that will allow you to filter to a specific type of vehicle.

7. Based on the type of car that you’re interested in, select the vehicle (click the Select button) that best matches your needs, based on price and size.

8. You’ll be taken to Step 2 of the process where you select your Insurance, Excess and Extras. We always recommend Super cover as this will reduce your Excess and Liablility if you are in an accident.

9. Once happy with your selection click on the “Continue” button which will take you to Step 3 where we get your details. We need your details to reserve the booking against your name. You will be required to show identification (Driver’s Licence) on collection of the vehicle so make sure to match.

10. If you’ve selected an “Instant Confirmation” vehicle you’ll have the option to pay immediately otherwise you will see a confirmation page here for your vehicle rental in Johannesburg.

11. If you see a confrimation you’ll see a reference number (starts with DS)n which has been emailed to you as well and you will use that reference number when corresponding with our consultants.

12. If you have selected to pay immediately then you will be able to add your credit card details and have a vehicle ready for you instantly.

13. Once you’ve paid for your car rental you will see a similar confirmation page as above.

14. If you have any probolems during this process you can contact us at +27 87 806 7330 to speak to one of our expert car rental consultants.

What is the procedure when renting a vehicle in South Africa

What documents do you need in South Africa when you rent a vehicle

The only documents that you need is an valid driver’s licence from you country of residence. You do not necessarily need an International Driver’s License.

You may use the driver’s license from your home country, provided that the license is:

– Valid

– Unendorsed

– In English

If your license is in another language then you will need an International license.

Please note that you will also need a credit card in your name with embossed letters and numbers. This is the standard with all of our suppliers.

If you are renting a 4×4 or camper in South Africa and you are paying your deposit with a Diner’s Club card you will still need a Maestro or Visa card with embossed letter and numbers on collection of your rental vehicle.

South Africa’s travel highlights

It can be a bit overwhelming when first planning a self-drive holiday to South Africa. For a start, it’s a big country. At 1,2 million km2 it’s larger than France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined.

On the far west, the icy Atlantic Ocean thumps against 600 km of sun-drenched beaches. To the east, it’s over 1,400 km to the sugar plantations and laid-back surfer vibes of Durban’s North Coast. South Africa’s reputation as the world’s third-most biodiverse country can be seen by the sheer variety of landscapes along it’s beautiful terrain. You won’t find tundra, but the winter months (June to August) bring enough snow to the interior that Tiffindell, South Africa’s only ski resort, can still open its slopes in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains. In summer, mountains across the country offer a network of incredible hiking trails and wonderful alpine drives that would take years to explore.

And on the plains below, a network of national parks and reserves criss-cross the deserts, forests and savannah, providing guests with some of the most affordable and rewarding self-drive safaris in Africa.

Wildlife and the Coastline

South Africa is remarkable when it comes to the ‘smaller stuff’. Indeed, some ecologists regard it to be the world’s third most important country in terms of overall biodiversity, thanks to its unusually high level of endemism. The tiny Cape Floral Kingdom, centred on Cape Town, contains something like 5% of the world’s plant species, two-thirds of which occur nowhere else on the planet.

Wildlife aside, South Africa’s 2,500km coast line is one of the most varied in the world. Split between the warm Indian Ocean and cooler Atlantic, it is studded with idyllic sun-kissed swimming beaches, but also embraces everything from the subtropical forested dunes and coral reefs of iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the craggy windswept cliffs of the Cape and Robberg Peninsulas.

South Africa today displays a unique cultural blend of African, European and Asian influences. There’s the brash economic powerhouse of Johannesburg and its altogether more stately coastal counterpart Cape Town, as well as the curry houses of Indian-influenced Durban, and the French vinicultural tradition and Dutch-derived architecture that characterises the winelands around Stellenbosch. Elsewhere, traditional Zulu and Ndebele cultural villages pay homage to the country’s indigenous cultural diversity, as does the incomparable wealth of prehistoric rock art found in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg.

A significant part of modern South Africa’s fascination is the immense progress it has made as a unified nation since the first democratic election was held there in 1994, a progression placed in sobering historical perspective by visit to Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum or Cape Town’s District Six Museum. At the opposite end of the immediacy scale, the three-million-year-long hominid fossil record preserved in the ancient limestone caverns of Gauteng’s Cradle of Humankind has no peer elsewhere in the world.

All in all, South Africa is a country like no other.

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