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getting around by rental car...

Level Contributor
39 posts
22 reviews
getting around by rental car...


My wife and I are in the preliminary stages of planning a trip to South Africa. We have a little over two weeks and would like to be able to see a little of Johannesburg, and then spend the majority of the time between Cape Town and Kruger. Is it feasible to rent a car upon leaving J'burg and drive to these locations relatively easily. My biggest concern is once arriving at destinations what to do with it (mostly in Cape Town ). Do most hotels provide parking (even if for a reasonable fee), it seems that it is not too safe to leave cars on the street at night from reading several posts. Any thoughts? Also, we are thinking of doing a mix of self drive through kruger and some planned safaris through a reserve hotel, do the hotels allow parking as well?

While I'm at it, does anyone feel strongly about flying between these destinations and driving...always +/- to both sides, interested on any perspective, as it seems cost for flights and cost for rental car aren't that far off.

Thanks, frugaldoc

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,689 posts
29 reviews
1. Re: getting around by rental car...

Frugaldoc it is very feasible to rent a car to drive from Joburg to Kruger but I think to drive all the way down to Cape Town is pushing it if you have only just over 14 days. It can be done for sure and I have done it but we had 3 weeks .We did quite a circuitous route from Joburg to Kruger across to the wetlands in Natal and Imfolozi /Hluluwe down through Dundee ( battlefields ) to Himeville encompassing the Karoo to Paternoster then into the winelands, Franschhoek and into Cape Town. This did entail some lengthy drives (7 -8 hrs) between a few place as we tried make our overnight stops in nice areas. Also you have to allow for road works , slow progress through townships, accidents and the like. Doing a total self-drive you will see a lot of the country and its scenic wonders but the question is do you want to spend so much time driving ? We covered just under 6,000kms and I had my heart in my mouth on more than one occasion (especially driving at night which best to avoid totally ).

As far as parking , the private lodges are quite secure some are even undercover and even wash your car (gratis ) before you leave . I can’t speak for the public camps up in Kruger as I haven’t stayed over. I had a Mercedes C class rental vehicle and was never a problem during my whole visit. In CT it was parked in a non secure driveway for 5 nights just below the place where we stayed in Camps Bay and not one incident of vandalism or theft. Even parking the car in the street in CT central wasn’t a problem and for a small fee to the semi official parking guards / car marshalls ( not sure of right term ) in the none designated pay zones my car was left untouched while we went to Green market and other places.

Perhaps consider flying to CT from Nelspruit / Hoedspruit and pick up a rental at airport. If you want to savour this delightful city and its peninsula you would need a few days there to do so. I am very glad we did the drive from North to South but my next self drive trip this August won’t be anywhere near as gruelling. You are bound to get other advice/suggestions but I hope this helps your decision making.

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
452 posts
59 reviews
2. Re: getting around by rental car...

I agree with stargaize. It is definitely better to fly to Cape Town as it is about a 13 hour drive from Johannesburg!

I would recommend you pick up your car in Johannesburg and drive to the Kruger Park area via Tzaneen. This is the most scenic and best route to visit the Canyons "en-route" to Kruger Park. You can then return your car at one of the airports (depending on which end of the Kruger Park you are) and fly to Port Elizabeth or George, pick up your car and then drive to Cape Town.

Parking is not a problem at the majority of hotels. Most have on-site parking and depending on the location it is often free as well. Just check with the place you are staying at.

The important thing when parking your car is to make sure that there are no visible items lying around, also luggage should not be visible - then you shouldn't have a problem.



Owner - Cape Town Guide

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,689 posts
29 reviews
3. Re: getting around by rental car...

Also be very aware of the rental car company's disclaimers regarding vehicle standard/ super insurance ( or whatever term they use) ie. theft / collision/ damage waiver and also if you cause property damage or personal injury.The insurance and the terminology, you may think paying extra daily cover will encompass the worst case scenario, Not so necessarily so ! I had full separate personal travel insurance which had vehicle rental cover excess and even with that insurance I was bamboozled to know the legal liabilities. Luckily was no problem but given what I know now shall be checking fine print.

4. Re: getting around by rental car...

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