Although the public transport system works in South Africa’s major cities and urban centers, there are many places where mobility is an issue. If you are not in the mood to go on pre-booked tours, exploring South Africa using a car rental is your best option. The only downside is you have to do a lot of driving as the distances can be quite long. The good news is, South Africa is one of the southern African countries where the roads are in a good condition, unless you’re driving off-road and in the bush.
Chances are high that you are going to use a travel agency to book your flights to South Africa. Hence, the travel agency might also offer car rental services or is affiliated with car hire agencies that are present in South Africa. Take a look at the prices and compare these with other offers.
Using a price comparison site for car hire in South Africa is also another way to shop for car rentals. A good site to look at is Car Hire South Africa (car-rental-south-africa.net). It contains links to major car hire companies in South Africa such as Hertz, Budget, and EuropCar. There are also local car rental companies such as First Car Rental, Imperial and Tempest Car Hire. Adventure lovers can even hire a camper car in South Africa offered by KEA Campers Rental. Renting a camper or a motor home is also a great way to see the country and even hop over to neighboring countries such as Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, and Mozambique. A car hire in South Africa can usually be taken to neighboring countries or those in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Visit individual car hire agency websites on the net and check whether your destination is covered by these companies. Although major car hire companies have branches in South Africa such as Avis, Hertz, Budget, and Europcar, these locations are mostly confined to big cities such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. You might have to think of picking up your rented vehicle in major or big towns to make sure that you have transport for your wanderings. You can always fly in through Johannesburg, drive the rented car all the way to Cape Town and fly out from there.
When you book you flights and hotels, include a car hire in South Africa in the package. You’ll not only get better rates, but you’ll only have one contact person to go to when things are not going right. In addition, booking car hire in South Africa is a better option than leaving it at the last minute or doing it on the spot. You will just waste time that could be spent already visiting the wildlife parks or museums.
When you book a car hire through a rental agency, try to find out if discounts from you AA membership can be applied. USAA members usually get up to 25% with Avis and Hertz car rental and up to 20% on Budget car hire. Check if this also applies to a car hire in South Africa. Once you have decided on the dates and if the prices are acceptable, you just have to enter your personal details, contact numbers, and pay the booking. A confirmation receipt or voucher will be sent to you that you have to present when you come to pick up your car. Note that South Africans drive on the left and thus, you will get a right hand drive vehicle. A valid international driver's permit is required, although if you have a license issued from any of the SADC countries, you can drive anywhere in Southern Africa.
Depending on how long you stay in South Africa, you might also consider buying a car and then selling it afterwards in place of a car hire. If you are a group of travelers, the cost can be divided. You do need to invest a lot of cash upfront, but you’ll get something back at the end of the trip and this will turn out cheaper in the end over a car rental.
Sources and Citations
Car Rental South Africa