What you should know before you rent a car
Where to rent a car in South Africa?
On the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa is home to vibrant cities, a diverse wildlife, and beautiful nature. The country has three capital cities, each serving a different purpose: Cape Town is the legislative capital; Pretoria is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. While not one of the country's capital cities, Johannesburg is South Africa's largest city. Visitors to South Africa are likely to arrive in the country by air, with O. R. Tambo International Airport (which serves Johannesburg and Pretoria) and Cape Town International Airport (which serves Cape Town) being the country's two major international air hubs. While trains and buses are available to allow visitors to travel around South Africa, there is nothing quite like seeing the country by car – the freedom to travel at your own pace, and stop to enjoy the many beautiful views, is a must! Car rental companies operating in South Africa include Hertz, Budget, Europcar and Bidvest Car Rental, with car rental services found at many of the country's major airports.
What are the driving rules in South Africa?
When in South Africa, be aware that all speed limits and distances are displayed in kilometers, while driving is on the left-hand side of the road. To rent a car in South Africa, you will need your driver's license, which must be in English. The blood alcohol limit for drivers in South Africa is 50 mg per 100 ml – however, to be on the safe side, avoid drinking at all before driving. Speed limits will be displayed on road signs. As a general rule, they are as follows: 60 km/h in built-up areas; 100 km/h on country roads; and 120 km/h on highways. Especially when driving in cities, be sure to keep car doors locked and windows rolled up.
Road trips in South Africa
From ocean views to wildlife such as elephants and lions, South Africa's roads make for a truly memorable road trip experience. Explore some of the country's most beautiful areas by car and prepare for a trip to remember.
Around Cape Town
Located on the southwestern coast of South Africa, Cape Town is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. The city is home to Table Mountain, which offers spectacular views to those who climb (or take the cable car) to its summit. Other must-see sights in Cape Town include the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront; the Castle of Good Hope; and Robben Island, famous for being Nelson Mandela's prison for 18 years. From Cape Town, a number of road trips await – ranging from longer drives to closer destinations. From a drive around the Cape Peninsula, to a road trip along Route 62 and its vineyards, there's plenty to discover around Cape Town by rental car!
South Africa's largest city is located in the Gauteng province. Home to a number of museums and monuments which center around the Apartheid era – such as the Constitution Hill prison and the Apartheid Museum – it's a city filled with culture and interesting attractions. Rent a car in Johannesburg and make the surrounding area easily accessible. Just over 30 miles away, the Cradle Of Humankind is an impressive archaeological site and a World Heritage Site; meanwhile, South Africa's administrative capital of Pretoria can be reached in less than an hour by car.
The Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is a vast game reserve in northern South Africa. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, including the Big Five: elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions and buffalos. The park boasts a varied landscape, and is a must for any visitor to South Africa wishing to see wildlife in its natural habitat. While guided tours are available, one of the best ways to explore Kruger National Park is by car. There are plenty of roads throughout the park, and dedicated 'get out' points at which visitors can get out of their cars (otherwise, it is crucial to stay in your vehicle at all times). This is one road trip which makes for a truly unique and memorable experience.