Cape Town

By | 16th January 2018

Should you hire a car in Cape Town?

Do you need a car in Cape Town > Should you rent a car in Cape Town South Africa > Cape Town ( CPT )

Many visitors to South Africa might be apprehensive about driving here, given the country’s reputation the having a high crime rate, although it is noted that this has tended to be more of a problem around Johannesburg. However, crime has risen in recent years in Cape Town.

Do you need a car in Cape Town? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Cape Town?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Cape Town?

Cape Town Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 1518 - of which 961 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • For most visitors to the Cape, there are simply too many scenic locations beyond Cape Town itself, and this is where getting a hire car really does make sense.
  • Just head east out of Cape Town and you will hit a string of national parks running all the way to Port Elizabeth.
  • Heading north, you will also find a range of stunning scenic locations, culminating in the Richtersveld World Heritage Site adjacent to the border with Namibia.
  • The roads around Cape Town are of a reasonable standard, especially when compared with other roadsa in Africa.

Why not? Visiting Cape Town without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Cape Town public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • There is certainly no particular need to get a hire car for staying in central Cape Town, where plenty of buses and taxis if needed are readily available.
  • Needless to say, no visit to the city of Cape Town is complete without going up Table Mountain, and this can easily be done using a combination of bus and cable car.
  • Table Mountain is also popular for various different outdoor pursuits, including paragliding, but none of these are the sort of activities where your own hire car will be necessary.
  • The Cape of Good Hope itself, from which Cape town takes its name, is an easy excursion from Cape Town, and a regular haunt for tour buses. You can walk around this stunningly scenic coastline, and you can also descend to the sea front using the local funicular. You can also just as easily drive and park here.
  • Just off the coast of Cape Town sits Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was infamously imprisoned, and it goes without saying that no car is needed to get to the embarkation point in Cape Town harbour (use local buses).


Car rental in - Cape Town Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Cape Town?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Cape Town?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Cape Town?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Cape Town if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Cape Town if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Cape Town if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


Some visitors might prefer to get around using some sort of organised bus tour. A hire car is always going to be a natural choice if it’s compared with using public transport. On the other hand, South Africa does also have an expansive rail network. Taking the train towards Johannesburg certainly can open up some breathtaking landscapes, many of which are either inaccessible, or very difficult to access by road.

For these reasons, we give Cape Town a high score for both car and non car based touring.

Should you hire a car in Cape Town? On balance, Cape Town is simply somewhere where a hire car is more likely to be useful than it isn’t.

Would you hire a car in Cape Town?

Have you driven in Cape Town? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Cape Town?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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