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  • 11 houra
  • English & Afrikaans
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South Africa is a large and diverse country, with an amazing coastline, stunning landscape, some of the world's best big game watching, vibrant cities and plenty of cultural attractions. In fact, you can even visit the earliest signs of man's existence in South Africa. To get the best out of your holiday though, it's best to arrange cheap car hire in South Africa from the moment you arrive.

After hosting the World Cup in 2010, South Africa has increased in popularity as a holiday destination, and we don't see any halt to this trend in 2018/2019! Even if you're visiting one of the cities like Cape Town or Johannesburg, it's easiest to use car hire in South Africa to get around, as many of the attractions can be fairly far flung.

Make sure that you have plenty of time to explore South Africa, as the flights will take up the largest chunk of your holiday budget. So once you're there take the time to really explore!

When to go to South Africa

There is no bad time to visit South Africa! Remember that it's in the Southern Hemisphere so the weather is generally better in our winter, but it's got a temperate climate with plenty of sunshine all year round. So whether you want to use your South Africa car hire to visit some of the beaches, explore the fantastic scenery or get to know the area local to your hotel, make sure it has air conditioning.

It's worth being flexible on dates when you're booking your South Africa adventure, as you'll usually be able to find a good price. The only time it's hard is during the South African school holidays, as most people choose to visit destinations within the country, and this pushes prices way above the usual rates - sometimes over double!

Getting cheap car hire in South Africa

You will find all the major hire car firms in South Africa, with branches at all the major airports as well as near to game reserves and in all the cities. It's a great idea to book your cheap hire car in South Africa in advance to get the best rates and be sure of the vehicle of your choice.

Picking up your South Africa hire can is best done from the airport when you arrive as onward transport is usually minimal and can be expensive. So getting behind the wheel will ensure a speedy getaway as well as easy transport for the rest of your trip too.

Alternatively, if you would rather just hire a car for a couple of days in South Africa, then you will find places offering this in all the major cities, as well as close to the game reserves. It's still best to arrange it in advance to be sure of obtaining a vehicle at a good price, but if you decide last-minute then they will be on hand!

Where to visit in South Africa

With so much to see, taking a road trip in South Africa is almost a must once you get your hire car. And to inspire you here are some of the best around. Make sure you factor in plenty of breaks so that you get a chance to really get to know places along the way, you don't want all your photos to be taken from the car window! Here are some of the best road trips in the country to give you an idea of where to go once you've got your cheap South Africa car hire sorted out:

Garden Route - the most popular driving holiday in South Africa, it stretches from the Eastern to the Western cape and you'll see lakes, verdant landscapes, beaches and much more along the way.

Maloti Drakensberg Route - taking in parts of the eastern Free State, southern Drakensberg and Lesotho, mountain passes, flowery fields, waterfalls and dinosaur footprints are all on the agenda here.

Panorama Route - covering the descent from Drakensberg to Lowveld, this is the best way to arrive at Kruger National Park and as you can guess from the name, it includes some stunning viewpoints.

Route 62 - the longest wine route in the Western Cape, this is the little sister of the Garden Route and it covers mountains and vineyards with more than your recommended daily allowance of amazing scenery!

South-North Route - although you could complete this drive from Cape Town to Fish River Canyon in nine hours, this is a road trip for those who love to leave the main road and follow whims. Particularly beautiful in spring.

General Advice on Hiring a Car

When you purchase car hire you are entering into a contract with your car hire company. Always check their terms and conditions before you buy to make sure you're aware of your responsibilities when you collect your car in South Africa, and any additional charges.

Here's a few things to watch out for:

  • Almost all car hire companies add a mandatory fee for drivers under the age of 25.
  • Check what level of insurance is included for the hire car in South Africa. In particular check how much the excess is (the amount you need to pay in the event of any accident) you may want to take out additional insurance.
  • Check what the fuel policy is with your car. Don't forget to fill up the tank before you drop it off if you've agreed to return it full!
  • Find out if there's a maximum daily mileage - especially if you're planning to do a lot of driving in South Africa!
  • You'll need to pay a deposit (or pre-approve one) to pick up the car. Most car rental companies will only accept credit cards for this.

  • If you'd like more advice on common charges (and what you can do to avoid them) read our complete guide to car hire.