Here we will show you Cape Town Car Rental options and you will also find answers to the most asked questions by fellow expats. We have collected so many reviews and tips over the last ten years, thanks to many expats and visitors who have shared their experiences about rental agencies with us on the site and in our Facebook forum. This input did give us some real insights we want to share with you here.
Renting a car, gives you the flexibility to explore Cape Town and the surrounding areas without the need to look for adequate public transport or relying on UBER and private drivers. Then it's easy to explore also some nearby areas such as scenic Langebaan Lagoon, a mere one-hour-drive north of Cape Town, but booking a day with a tour company or private driver will cost you dearly.
As we experienced, it pays if you do your homework before renting a car and research all your car hire options. Read below what we found out about hiring cars in Cape Town and which companies come highly recommended.
There are many Cape Town car rental agencies operating in the Mother City. The prices vary widely depending on the season and the length of the rental period. It always is advisable to get at least three quotes from Cape Town car rental companies or compare on one of the international price comparison sites. The major car rental agencies that also have an office desk at Cape Town International Airport and at various points throughout the city are as follows: Avis Car Hire, Budget Car Rental, Dollar Thrifty, Europcar Rentals, FirstCarRental, Hertz, National Alamo and Tempest Sixt.
However, smaller Cape Town car rental companies might offer much better car rental deals which are still reliable and thus will be more valuable. We had recommendations for the following sites listed below, however, please note that only few of them offer longer term rentals, i.e. longer than one month. Please see their websites for contact details.
Make sure you compare like for like regarding the insurance cover and excess which all the companies handle differently. With all companies, it is advisable to confirm your pick-up date via telephone or email the day before you want to collect the car.
When renting a car in South Africa, choose your car size wisely. Driving in Cape Town is not much different to driving in any other metropolitan city in the world and there are only a few gravel road around the peninsula. Therefore, if you mainly want to explore Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula, the splendid beaches along the West Coast or False Bay or even venture to the nearby Winelands or along the Garden Route, you do not need to worry, a small car will do and a 4x4 is not necessary.
If you want to venture further afield, drive off the main routes, you will find that you really can enjoy travelling better in a bigger car with better suspension or even an SUV. If you plan to travel further inland to places such as the Cederberg or the Karoo or booked a farmstay, make sure to get a bigger car or 4x4. Many rural roads are riddled with potholes or are gravel and untapped roads, in mountainous areas with steep inclines and rough surfaces.
We would recommend to rent a car with air-conditioning. Especially in summer, the temperatures can feel scorchingly hot and especially when driving inland, away from the cooling breeze which prevails along the coast.
In South Africa, driving is easy if you compare the volume on the roads. There are less cars and less congested roads outside the cities than you experience in many countries overseas. Although traffic jams can be bad during rush hour in the major cities, the usual travels into and out of town are easily manageable, especially with a bit of routine in driving on the left hand side of the road. However, it is highly recommended, not to drive after dark outside of the major towns as there often is no street lighting and there may be stray animals, vehicles without proper lighting or people walking on the road. Even driving on the highways is not without dangers at dark, as people might cross the roads or obstacles might have been placed on badly lit roads. At all times, is highly advised to carry a cellphone with you and have a local emergency contact. You really want to rely on advice or support should you need help when out and about. In case of a breakdown, call the rental company, the police or another local contact and keep calm. There usually are good people who will stop and help, but some stretches of highways or some areas are best avoided if unsure of the safety of the area.
Most car rental agencies allow rentals to people under 23 years only if they have at least two years of driving experience, i.e. are in possession of a valid licence for at least two years. Some companies rent out cars to young people from 18 or 21 years of age, but then often an additional young-drivers-fee apply. Best to enquire with the rental companies and advice when booking.
Yes, if you use common sense precautions. As everywhere in the world you need to take precautions when travelling alone, whether you are male or female. In South Africa, most roads are well maintained and if you stay on main roads and do drive during daytime, you should not encounter any problems. If your car breaks down, be sure to stay in the car and call your car rental company's emergency contact number. They will usually send roadside assistance or inform the police.
Have a safe trip and enjoy the journey:-)
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Disclaimer: The car rental tips given on this page are for information purposes only. We do not take any liability for any advice given on this page. Always check the terms and conditions of the car rental companies as we do not take liability for information accessed from and distributed though these companies. From Cape Town Car Rental to Transport Directory