Cape Town car rental in South Africa

There are very few cities in the world quite like Cape Town, with its towering Table Mountain always looking over the city like a peaceful giant. World-class beaches, well-kept wine farms not far in areas such as Stellenbosch and proximity to other worthy destinations such as the Garden Route and the wild West Coast have kept tourists coming back. It’s no wonder car hire in Cape Town keeps getting praise for being one of the best tourist destinations in Africa if not the world. With so much to do and see in the mother city, it’s almost impossible to take it all in without hiring a car.

Best time to visit Cape Town

If one wishes to enjoy an iconic Cape Town beach holiday it’s widely considered that late January until late April is the best time and this is the end of the warm summer months where days are generally long and balmy. Cape Town’s best weather conditions are generally from October until April.

In and around Cape Town

The most famous landmark in Cape Town is arguably the towering Table Mountain. Other great tourist attractions include the Southern Peninsula where tourists can drive along a scenic stretch of coastline, from Muizenberg to Fish Hoek gazing at the ocean or watching seals in Simon’s Town. Car hire Cape Town will help you achieve this and with Drive South is assured to be a painless experience.

Getting around

Public transport in all the major cities of South Africa is generally not up to scratch with Europe or North America. Although Cape Town is generally regarded as one of the better South African cities when it comes to public transport. If one really wants to see all the sights and sounds of the Mother City, car rental in Cape Town really is the only option.

The length of your stay in Cape Town

Cape Town and surrounding areas really have a world of variety and adventures waiting around every corner. If one would have to allocate a minimum of a week this would be deemed to be not enough time. However, roughly two weeks is said to be an optimal amount of time to see most of the sites in Cape Town and do a bit of travelling to some of the neighbouring towns nearby.

What to pack for your Cape Town holiday

Cape Town experiences chilly and wet conditions during the winter months so prepare for wet and windy weather. If you decide to visit during this time of year. Summer days are hot and long, so naturally one would be expected to pack beach attire and sunscreen. Summer can also get a few cold spells so prepare for a turn in weather conditions on occasion.

Where to stay in Cape Town

City Bowl area and Gardens

This is the hub of nightlife and entertainment and this is for the traveller who wishes to be right in the thick of the action. From the iconic Long Street to trendy Kloof, the town area of Cape Town really does have it all when it comes to live music, upmarket bars and restaurants and a world of accommodation facilities to choose from.

Southern Peninsula (Kalk Bay, Muizenberg, Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek)

This is an area which is definitely for the traveller wishing to get a bit of peace, tranquillity and ocean views whilst still being within close proximity to the city. The Southern Peninsula area is also considered as the birthplace of South African surfing and there are backpackers dedicated to this and plenty of opportunities to rent surfboards and wetsuits.

Why hire a car in Cape Town with Drive South Africa?

Experiencing the world-class city known as Cape Town has never been easier with Drive South Africa’s car rental in  Cape Town. Drive South Africa’s reputation speaks for itself with happy customers from all over the world. Well trained travel experts and sales representatives ensure that your every wish and desire is taken care of on your perfect driving holiday through Cape Town and the Western Cape.  “Efficient, qualified and well-mannered consultants, we always receive such good service all the time, hence Drive South Africa is our first choice when renting vehicles” – states Masilo Modipane a loyal Drive South Africa client.

Frequently asked questions when renting a car in Cape Town

How old must I be to rent a vehicle in Cape Town?

Most suppliers require you to be 21 for 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 excess then you will be required to have the 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 extensively 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 vehicle 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 Cape Town

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 considerably more boot space than your compact option. Renting a standard car is best for leisure trips where you have 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 vehicle 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 rental 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 passenger 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 Cape Town vs other transport options

There are various modes of transport available in Cape Town. Here are some of your options:

Minibus Taxis

This is the cheapest option. Using a minibus taxi requires you to make your way to main roads and taxi ranks which are often very busy and can be confusing at first if you are not from South Africa. Taxi drivers are also known to drive recklessly and takes some getting used to. Taxis do not drop you by your place of residence, they drop you on main roads, so it’s up to you to find out which taxis to use and where to get off.


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 distance travel. A bus is a good option for long-distance trips. Buses can also be used in the city, but generally, you will be stuck in traffic for longer if you are not using the MyCiti bus route.


Cape Town trains cover both the Northern and Southern Suburbs and are generally safe during the day but they are prone to delays. They are an affordable option for day trips if you are not in a rush.


Uber/Taxify is the most convenient and safest option for shorter trips as it picks you up and drops you off wherever you choose. It can become rather expensive for trips longer than 10KM.

Renting a car

If you will be around for a week or more, renting your own set of wheels makes financial sense and it will give you the freedom to drive wherever you want to go and also be able to make day trips to Cape Towns hot spots without worrying about where you will be dropped off and what price it will be because if you hire a car with unlimited mileage you will pay upfront for the number of days you will need the car for.

What is the procedure when renting a vehicle in South Africa

When renting a vehicle in Cape Town 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 Cape Town
  • 4. Click on the search button
  • 5. A list of vehicles will appear that are available for you to rent in Cape Town
  • 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 liability 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 Cape Town.
  • 11. If you see a confirmation you’ll see a reference number (starts with DS) 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 problems during this process you can contact us at +27 87 806 7330 to speak to one of our expert car rental consultants.

What documents do you need to rent a car in Cape Town?

The only documents that you need is a valid driver’s licence from your 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 Cape Town 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 the collection of your rental vehicle.

Cape Towns’s travel highlights

There is plenty to see and do in Cape Town. It is one of the worlds leading tourist destinations. The vibrant cosmopolitan city with pleasant Mediterranean weather draws in lots of visitors in the spring and summer seasons.

Here are 5 of the top things to do in Cape Town:

  • 1. Visit Robben Island
  • 2. Hike up Table Mountain
  • 3. Visit the penguin colony at Boulders Beach
  • 4. Ride the Wheel of Cape Town
  • 5. Go shark cage diving

If you want to learn about more things you can do in Cape Town check out our guide on the 62 things to do in Cape Town

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