Enjoy the journey
The best part of any experience is the journey. Nowhere is that more true than in South Africa, or in Lesotho and Swaziland for that matter. An ever-changing landscape, beautiful vista’s, immense diversity in population, wildlife, scenery and plants are waiting for you to be discovered. The roads in South Africa and Swaziland are generally very good, in Lesotho to a lesser extent. Traffic can be quite hectic inside the big cities but once you are out of the cities, most roads are empty, wide tar roads, made for driving around yourself. So are you ready to see, feel, smell, touch and really experience our vast and beautiful country? With a self-drive tour or a family safari you can explore the many facets of the Rainbow Nation at your own leisure and at your own speed. There is a lot of South Africa out there, and you can see it all by car – but which one is best and how does it work?
How does it work?
We only use well-known car rental agencies with excellent service and offices all over South Africa to ensure you are always helped quickly in case of a problem. Usually this is Budget. We don’t mess around with low insurance covers to keep the costs down on paper. Finding out after you book that you still have to pay the most expensive insurance (or finding out you have a huge own risk), irritates the hell out of many people. So we ALWAYS offer the fullest insurance possible: IDMR Super Cover. This includes the normal Super Liability and Super Theft covers you can book yourself when renting with Budget – PLUS Unlimited Mileage, Airport Surcharge, Tyre and Windscreen Waiver, Tourism levy, Vat @ 14% and Water and Undercarriage Damage (the last provided you adhere to the conditions for driving on tarred and untarred roads).
There are however extra charges for picking up the car at the airport, drop-off costs in another town, extra driver, children seats, navigation equipment and the like. We’ll send you full information about terms and conditions and prices of extra’s when you submit your dream list, so before you book.
You pick up the rental car at the airport or at a downtown office. There are some rules for renting a car in South Africa: you have to be 21 years or older and bring your passport and your valid driving license. If your license is not in English, also bring an international driving license. And the (main) driver has to bring a valid credit card to cover the deposit. Check our chapter on travel documents for more information.
Which car you choose depends for a large part on how many friends or family you are bringing along and how long and where you will travel. Most major and secondary roads are wide, well-maintained tarred roads. So you don’t necessarily need a rugged 4×4 to travel around. Going on graveled roads is often possible with sedan-type cars, but glass damage is not covered and driving is made much easier with a car with 4-wheel drive. No, you don’t need a big truck or monster 4×4, in fact you’ll find you hardly ever actually need the 4-wheel drive, but you have much higher ground-clearance and you definitely will need that.
To help you choose we have given some guidelines and prices underneath. The indicated car types are subject to change without notice and based on Budget’s fleet.
Not sure which car to take? Ask us for help, we’ll be happy to help you pick the best car for your personal enjoyment!
2-3 persons or family with young kids
Most cars for 2-3 persons are also good for a family with one or two small children, but if your kids are over 12 years we advise to count them as adults when choosing your car type.
Category M (Hyundai i10 or similar) is missing power but is good enough for 2 persons travelling small distances without mountains. Cat C (i.e. Toyota Corolla 1.6) or cat D (i.e. Honda Jazz Automatic or similar automatic) are better and will get you almost anywhere. If you are with 2 persons and want more luxury and power consider upgrading to Cat. E (i.e. Chevy Cruze Automatic). Don’t take any of these if you want to sit higher or will ride untarred roads, for instance to the Zulu Battlefields or into the Kalahari.
Stepping away of the sedan cars, Cat. I (i.e. Toyota Avanza) has a more rugged look and you sit much higher. Cat. K (i.e. Nissan X-Trail) looks and rides like a comfortable 4×4 drive.
Going rugged 4×4? Cat. L (i.e. Toyota 4×4 pick-up w/double cab) is a covered truck with a double cab and is also suited for families, though the legroom of the back seats is a bit tight for large adults and larger children.
4-5 persons and families with larger children
Up to 4 persons you could use most cars we advise for 2-3 persons, but the distances are vast so sitting in the back seat will become uncomfortable during the day. Also taking photos is much more difficult from the back seat with these smaller models. So our advice is to spend a bit more and go larger – the added comfort is worth it. The larger cars are:
Category F (i.e. Honda Accord Automatic) is a 4 seater, but has more legroom than the Toyota Corolla or Honda Jazz. Cat. I (i.e. Toyota Avanza) is the best all-around economical option in our point of view.
Cat. G (i.e. Mercedes C-class) offer more power and comfort.
Away from the Sedan types, Cat. K (i.e. Nissan X-Trail) looks and rides like a comfortable 4×4.
Going rugged 4×4? Cat. L (i.e. Toyota 4×4 pick-up w/double cab) has a double cab and is suited for 4 persons, though the legroom of the back seats is a bit tight for large adults and larger children.
Larger cars, minibuses etc. are on request. Still unsure which car to take or want to know more? Contact us!
Prices are based on Budget, a rental of 7 – 13 days and are including our all-comprehensive IDMR Super Cover, but without optional extras like drop-off costs etc. If you rent shorter or longer the prices differ slightly. Don’t worry, we will of course inform you what they are before you finalize your booking. Click here for a full list of available cars from Budget or contact us for other types (the Budget list on the website is however not always up to date).
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