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Car Rentals in South Africa

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People are willing to crawl over burning coals to find the cheapest flight, but then forget about getting the cheapest car rental.

Warning about Chery QQ3:

  • Various SA models were tested by NCAP

  • The Chery QQ3 got the worst safety rating - zero

  • Be aware of the risks before hiring a Chery QQ3

Tips: Getting the Cheapest Car

  1. Go for limited mileage rentals
    (unlimited costs far more)

  2. Be flexible with your dates

  3. Check with 2 or 3 car rental agencies what their rates are

  4. Fill up the vehicle with fuel yourself on returning
    (in case they charge you more)

  5. Rental charges are calculated in cycles of 24 hours, so avoid hiring a vehicle for a period of 25 hours. It will count as 2 days

  6. Check that the vehicle inspection form correctly identifies any damage to the vehicle, before driving off with it (any new damage is for your account!) Use SouthAfrica.TO travel vouchers to reduce your car hire costs (if you've got none then email us a review of your car rental experience to get your first vouchers).

Want even more tips?
Read our Handy Guide for Renting Cars

Road Accidents

Drive carefully in South Africa - 11% of unnatural deaths are caused by road accidents. Transport accidents are particularly prevalent in Limpopo, Mpumalanga & the Free State.

Minimum Age

The minimum age to drive a car in South Africa is 18, however most car hire companies require that you are at least 21 years old. Once you turn 17 years old in SA, you are able to write an exam for a learners licence, and once successful can drive a car together with somebody who has a drivers' licence.

Car rental firms in South Africa

South Africa has a well developed and competitive car hire market, with a large presence at major airports.

Avis Car Rental
First Car Rental
Sani Car Rental (was Thrifty Car Rental)
Budget Rent a Car
Hertz Rent a Car
Tempest Sixt Car Hire
Sixt Car Rental
Capital Car Hire
Enterprise Car Rental
Woodford Vehicle
Bidvest Car Rental

Bidvest Car Rental signposts at its office at King Shaka International Airport


Which kind of car is right for me?'

Here are some of the most popular and likely to be available vehicles that car rental agencies have to offer:
Also known as a small car or city car. Perfect for jetting around in traffic or to get into small parking spaces. If you're just looking for the cheapest way get from the airport to your destination, these little numbers will be your best bet.
A black Citroen C1
A red Kia Picanto
A green and a blue Chevy Spark
Citroen C1
Kia Picanto
Chevy Spark
Designed to provide the best overall user experience while not blowing the budget,
economy cars are likely strike the balance between convience and good fuel consumption.
A Silver Ford Figo
A Silver Toyota Yaris
A black Hyundai i10
Ford Figo
Toyota Yaris
Hyundai i10
You'll need a big 4 seater or 5 seater to transport the kids.
Or maybe you just want ample foot space with standard features for your convenience.
A Nissan Tiida
A Chevrolet Aveo
A Chevy Cruze
Nissan Tiida
Chev Aveo Sedan
Chevy Cruze
For when you want to travel in style.
Bmw 3 series
Silver Mercedes C class
Black Mercedes E class
BMW 3 series
Mercedes C Class
Mercedes E class
SUV and 4x4 hire
Several vehicles are available for your adventurous needs. Can be fully fitted out.
White Suzuki Jimny
Silver Hyundai ix35
White Nissan Qashqai
Suzuki Jimny
Hyundai IX35
Nissan Qashqai
Nissan double cab 4x4
Toyota Fortuner
Nissan X-trail
Nissan Double Cab
Toyota Fortuner
Nissan X-Trail
White Land Rover Discovery
White Land Rover Defender
White Toyota Land Cruiser
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Defender
Toyota Land Cruiser
Travelling in a group? 7 - 10 seaters available. Can add additional drivers, GPS's and other optional extras
Hyundai H1
Volkswagen Kombi
Toyota Quantum
Hyundai H1
VW Kombi
Toyota Quantum
Single Cabs and Berth Campers
No need to get the movers in. DIY drop-off trucks to quickly get your stuff from A to B.
Berth campers provide the camping experience on the move (4, 6 and 8 Berth available).
Nissan 1 tonner
Nissan Hardbody
Two berth camper
Nissan 1 tonner
Nissan Hardbody
2 Berth Camper

*All vehicles shown are subject to availability. Please contact us to check if it's available or find a similiar vehicle in the same category.

Tips for renting cars

Whether on business trip or holiday visit, car rental is an essential part of modern travel as we fly from city to city, arriving at the destination having saved a considerable number of hours, but without a car. Car rental makes up a big part of your travel expenditure, so why not spend some time to learn some tips for renting cars?

It goes without saying, planning ahead would be the best option. It makes sense to book your car online even if you do it last minute on your laptop while you wait to board your flight. It helps ensure you get the car you want at a better rate. It would also save you the hassle of going from counter to counter at the airport, looking for the right car at the right rate, because prices DO vary from company to company. Most car rental companies have very user-friendly websites to get a quote instantly, so take advantage of this service. Try Global Rental, their quotes show many options in table form, making it easy to compare different cars and rental plans. You can compare prices across car groups. As with most car rental companies, they offer extras such as collection/delivery, child seats, and GPS hire. Also see Travel Jigsaw for quick quotes.

The duration of your stay could be a deciding factor too. If you are staying for less than a week, renting with the big companies would be a better option. Try Avis for competitive prices; Budget (their website automatically gives you a better weekend rate); Tempest Car Hire (keep an eye out for specials like their weekend GPS special as well as different mileage options and weekend rates); Thrifty Car Rental; or the Woodford Group where you can even hire bakkies. If you're staying for longer, get quotes from smaller companies as they would probably be able to offer you a cheaper rate. Try South AfriCar and Citi rent. For Cape Town, try Renta VW where you can rent a VW Golf for less than R100 a day on monthly rates; or for Jo-burg, try Pace Car Rental for long term rental specials.

Many airlines, credit cards and medical aids have partnerships with car rental companies, so find out if the company can offer you a discount through one of their partners. Try SAA where you can earn Voyager miles with their partners; Kulula Airlines; Mango; 1Time; or British Airways .

Some car rental companies offer loyalty programmes, so if you travel frequently, it might be worthwhile joining one. Have a look at Sixt (they offer membership specials); and Hertz who besides having Weekend rates, Monthly rates and unlimited mileage rates, they also have a No. 1 Club Gold membership that is international and available for individuals and companies.

The environmentally-conscious car renter will be pleased to choose their car with Europcar as the website carbon calculator calculates the carbon emission for the duration of your trip and the car model you choose. GPS and Childseats are available for rental and there is no extra charge for an extra driver. They offer special weekend or monthly rental rates, as well as special rates if you plan to travel less than 100 kilometres a day.

When choosing a vehicle, think practical. If you have children or a lot of gear, look for a large sedan of an SUV. Most car rental companies have car diagrams showing how many people and how much luggage the car can carry. But if you are planning to zip through town from meeting to meeting with just a laptop, then choose a simple, small car to save you money on rental, petrol, and the small dimensions will also be easier to negotiate in unfamiliar streets and parking.

As with any transaction, make sure you read the terms and conditions. If you're at the counter or on the phone, ask the agent if there are any restrictions; maybe your 20 year-old sister is too young to drive the car? If there's more than one driver, what are the extra costs? Is there an alternative location for pick-ups and drop-offs? What are the excesses if you have an accident? It's a good idea to provide the company with your flight details so that they can keep the car for you if your flight is delayed. And it's important to know that if you will be charged a full day for any time you exceed (so if you fetched the car at 2 pm yesterday, you will be charged for two days car hire if you return the car after 2 pm today).

When you fetch the car, don't rush through the checking and just sign any papers. Make sure to note any cracks, scratches or dents the car may already have so that you are not charged for the damages after you have returned the car. Check the lights, wipers and the odometer. While the agent is at the car with you, ask them questions about the car such as how to start the car (you would be surprised how this could vary from model to model), what kind of petrol the car takes, where the essential knobs and levers are, and make a mental note of what model and colour the car is so you don't lose it in a parking lot!

When you return the car, try to be as punctual as possible, and fill up the car yourself on the way in case they charge you higher petrol prices. Inspect the car with the agent (now you'll be glad you made a thorough inspection when you picked up the car!) and make sure you have all your belongings before you hand the car back (check especially the cubby-hole and the boot).

Then have fun! Unlike hotel rooms, hired cars have an extra dimension of anonymity, allowing you to let your hair down, to throw caution to the wind as you speed away from the car rental office, taking the car for a three-day test drive without supervision (not that I am advocating careless driving). I remember hearing my brother in his varsity days, freshly returned from holiday, proudly tell us how he and his friends raced their little rental sedan off road, on a farm through mielie fields, over dunes, in the waves. Ok, I could be making some of that up, the details are fuzzy now, but I do remember my mother shaking her head and sighing, not sure whether to be amused or embarrassed that he was her spawn. And I also remember vowing that when I finally got my driver's license, that I too would behave badly with a rental car.

Driving a rental car could be great joy or a total misery, depending on whether your travel budget matches the lifestyle back home. I have a friend who came to visit us in his little rental BMW; we all stood around admiring the shiny German engineering inside and out. But when asked whether he was enjoying the car, he just shrugged off the question with a "ja, it's ok." Then I remembered that he had just left behind a brand new Audi TT at home. Shame, he must have suffered. Nevertheless, rental cars open up worlds of opportunities. You might not be able to afford that AC Cobra (or your wife won't let you buy one), but you can always rent one for the weekend (for exotic car hire, try Classic Car Rentals, although most of these cars are only available in cape Town), or you could discover the advantages of a car you would other wise never consider test driving if not forced to spend a weekend in it. Wherever your rental car takes you, enjoy it like an affair with a stranger: have fun, be careful, and enjoy the ride!

Car Hire News History

  • 15 Jan 2014 : Minister in Car Rental Scandal. Social Securities Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, is in the middle of a car hire scandal. After the department promised to reduce travel expenditure, they have spent R46k on hiring a BMW X5 for 2 days, R30k on 2 Audi Q7s, R43k to hire an Audi Q7 for 3 days and R15k to hire an Audi Q3 for a day. It wasn't mentioned which car rental agency these exotic vehicles were being hired from, but somebody's getting rich from this.

  • 21 Nov 2013 : Volkswagen the top car manufacturer. It was recently announced at the Savrala (South African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) gala banquet that Volkswagen has been voted the best car manufacturer for the fourth year in a row. Car rental companies that belong to Savrala include Europcar, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Tempest among others, who rate vehicle providers according to the quality of technical support, communication, financial matters and vehicle security. Savrala has been awarding top manufacturers for 19 years, last year having Volkwagen in the first place with 6 Gold awards, Toyota receiving the Silver accolade and Audi making it's first entrance into the ceremony with a Bronze award. Renault has received praise for it's improvement in rental, leasing and other categories.

  • 30 Sep 2013 : Hire a Group W car from First Car Rental and complete your rental before 30 Sep 2013 and you may win an MG6.

  • 1 Sep 2013 : Avis introduces a no show fee, equal to one day's rental.

  • 31 Jul 2013 : Tempest specials end - Great Cape Escape and Jozi offers.

20 Jul 2013

Hertz has been voted best car rental outfit in the world, by Frequent Business Traveller

Hire an Avis vehicle during June or July 2013, quote discount no. L506801, & you might win a 5 night stay at Thornybush or win a holiday in the Seychelles.

9 Jun 2013

Now covering Rent a Wreck!

1 Jun 2013

Avis merge its Group M and Group A cars, so that all its vehicles have aircon.

31 May 2013

If you rent a Europcar car on the SAA site, and pay and complete your booking by 31 May 2013, you stand a chance of winning a Kia Picanto.

21 May 2013

Europcar announce that they will be sponsoring the Springbok rugby team.

8 Apr 2013

We've set up a page focussing on Upington car rentals. Upington is a great staging post for trips into Namibia.

13 Mar 2013

We are now covering international car rentals from Atlanta to Zanzibar.

6 Mar 2013

We're now covering Richards Bay car hire - Hertz, First Car Rental, Europcar & Avis.

5 Mar 2013

Have a look at the new 2013 vehicles of First Car Rental

1 Mar 2013

Check out these Kulula East London car hire specials, to celebrate their launch of JNB-ELS flights.

24 Feb 2013

We are now covering Sun City car hire (only Avis operate from there).

18 Jan 2013

First Car Rental are running a number of 1-way car hire specials, from East London, Port Elizabeth & George; all to Cape Town.

17 Jan 2013

We are now covering Pietermaritzburg Car Hire

31 Jan 2013

Europcar Over 55's special

10 Jan 2013

Here's our first look at 2013 car rental prices.

Up to 19 Dec 2012

Upgrade your weekend - free upgrades in certain categories, subject to availability.

3 Dec 2012

Hire a Minibus - there's still a bit of availability over the season

5 Nov 2012

Avis South Africa win the Avis Licensee of the year for the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

22 Oct 2012

First Car Rental donates a Nissan Tiida to the Children of Fire Trust in Melville, Johannesburg

17 Sep 2012

Free weekend Europcar upgrade

6 Sep 2012

Did Europcar move your way? Rate them and you may win.

14 Aug 2012

Watch your car before you hire it

24 Jul 2012

Latest vehicle rental quotes - 4x4's & luxury vehicles

22 Jul 2012

Review of Avis Johannesburg - Lanseria.

18 Jun 2012

Europcar Winter Weekends special

15 Jun 2012

Book before 15 June to get 15% off Hertz reservations before 16 December

21 May 2012

1time-Avis Fly-Drive special

6 May 2012

Latest car rental quotes - unlimited mileage, December rentals & luxury cars.

2 May 2012

We are now covering car hire from Pinetown

1 May 2012

We are now covering car hire from Paarl

22 Apr 2012

Europcar Mauritius competition - book by 28th May 2012 & enter

12 Apr 2012

Win a weekend car rental with Avis

Apr 2012

Avis have opened car hire offices in Graaf-Reinet

8 Apr 2012

Review of Hertz Durban

26 Mar 2012

Car rental quotes from R150/day for a long rental

24 Mar 2012

We've added an interview on e-tolling to our review of First Car Rental Johannesburg.

14 Mar 2012

Europcar Fourways has changed its phone number to 011 548 9720

14 Mar 2012

Car Hire with a/c from R186/day (long rental)

14 Mar 2012

We are now covering Johannesburg Lanseria Airport car hires

8 Mar 2012

We are now covering Port Alfred car hire (only Avis available)

6 Mar 2012

We are now covering Budget Cape Town bookings.

29 Feb 2012

Europcar over 55 special

23 Feb 2012

Car rental quotes from R155/day

15 Feb 2012

Car rental quotes - e.g. from R132/day for a 5 month rental

8 Feb 2012

Vehicle rental quotes - local & international

1 Feb 2012

Latest quotes to rent a car

28 Jan 2012

We are now covering Harare Airport car hire

26 Jan 2012

Latest car hire quotes, including an automatic for a month

18 Jan 2012

In our last survey, you could still hire a vehicle from R155/day

11 Jan 2012

We now cover Kimberley car hire, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

11 Jan 2012

Vehicle rental quotes, including some international car hire quotes in Perth & Los Angeles

5 Jan 2012

Car rental quotes we have done recently

22 Dec 2011

Car hire quotes over the last week

15 Dec 2011

We are now covering Stellenbosch car rentals

14 Dec 2011

Car rental quotes over the last week

7 Dec 2011

We are now covering Polokwane car hire

5 Dec 2011

Car hire in South Africa - quotes done in the last week.

25 Nov 2011

We are now covering Windhoek car rentals

24 Nov 2011

Cheap vehicle hire in South Africa

16 Nov 2011

Vehicle hire prices in South Africa over the last week

9 Nov 2011

We've set up dedicated pages for First Car Rental specials & Avis specials

9 Nov 2011

Europcar freeday special

7 Nov 2011

We are now covering Secunda car hire options

28 Oct 2011

We are now covering car rentals from Centurion (Pretoria)

28 Oct 2011

Car hire in South Africa - Volkswagen Caravelles, Toyota Minivans, Nissan 1-ton pickups & more.

12 Oct 2011

Best car hire quotes of the week.

30 Sep 2011

Top car rental quotes this week.

9 May 2011

Avis Fly Drive weekend special, from R163/day for a Kia Picanto.

19 Apr 2011

First Car Rental is also cheapest on Mothers Day in Cape Town.

5 Apr 2011

First Car Rental cheapest on Father's Day, Johannesburg.

30 Mar 2011

First Car Rental are cheapest in Youth Day car rental survey in Cape Town.

23 Mar 2011

Europcar is cheapest in Johannesburg over the Mothers Day weekend.

16 Mar 2011

Car Trawler is offering the cheapest May Day weekend car rentals from Durban International Airport.

10 Feb 2011

First Car Rental is cheapest in Cape Town for Argus Cycle tour car rentals.

20 Oct 2010

Europcar is cheapest for Joburg Christmas car rental (R167/day)

10 Oct 2010

Just set up a Car Trawler bookings engine.

11 July 2010

End date to win a car with Kick it with Connor

20 May 2010

We've set up a page on Autopedigree, a subsidiary of Imperial Holdings.

16 Apr 2010

We've done a writeup on Car Hire Compare in South Africa.

1 Apr 2010

A new branch for Europcar Cape Town Airport is opened.

4 Nov 2009

Cheapest car hire in Cape Town is First Car Rental (R131/day).

15 Sep 2009

First Car Rental's inaugural newsletter.

29 Aug 2009

We are now covering Maputo care rentals.

1 Aug 2009

A review of First Car Rental Johannesburg.

25 Jun 2009

First Car Rental is cheapest by far, in this analysis of unlimited mileage car rentals.

10 Jun 2009

Hertz Car Rentals announces a bunch of new appointments, including Byron Whitson being appointed National Operations Manager.

10 Jun 2009

Europcar special until the 14th June 2009, to celebrate the change from Imperial Car Rental.

3 Jun 2009

First Car Rental is offering the cheapest car rental in Cape Town over the Youth Day long weekend.

Europcar in Johannesburg Airport

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