Categories
South Africa

Cape Town

Africa > South Africa > Cape Town

See: Why hire a car in Cape Town ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

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.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Cape Town car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Cape Town is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Cape Town? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Cape Town between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 9/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 4

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Cape Town using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Cape Town ?


  • 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 don't you need a car in Cape Town ?


  • 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).

Ratings: How does Cape Town compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Cape Town? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Cape Town, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Cape Town? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Cape Town (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Cape Town? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Cape Town airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Cape Town car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 7

2019 - 6

2021 - 4

Average score - 5

Notes:

 

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.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Cape Town ?

Categories
South Africa

Durban

Africa > South Africa > Durban

See: Why hire a car in Durban ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Durban car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Durban is in car rental price band: 2/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Durban? 

Yes. Very cheap car rental by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Durban between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:3/10

Balance: 8

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Our general advice is that in Durban a hire car is extremely useful, both in terms of access to coastal scenery, and also for national parks heading inland.

Why? Visiting Durban using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Durban ?


Why should you hire a car in Durban?

  • Drive to any of the various spectacular national and other scenic parks which can be found to the northwest of Durban.
  • Drive (limited roads) or hike in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park – the largest park in the region, on the border with Lesotho.
  • Visit the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, the setting for many scenes in the Michael Caine classic “Zulu”. Note that the amphitheatre is in the Royal Natal National Park, not in Maloti-Drakensberg Park.
  • Consider a one way drive between Durban and Johannesburg – in one move, it’s around 8 hours, but with stops at various parks on the way, you easily have a 3-7 day itinerary.
  • Drive along the coast towards Lake St Lucia in the northeast.
  • Drive towards Cape Town in the southeast. Note that a direct drive to Cape Town would take at least 20 hours. Many of the most scenic areas are to the west of East London – see our Cape Town / Cape Town road trip pages for more details. There are more direct routes heading via Bloemfontein, but these would miss much of the coast. However, there are few coastal stretches of road between Margate and East London.
  • There is no direct rail connection to King Shaka Airport, Durban.
  • Generally, public transport in the area is poor, except within the city limits of Durban and nearby suburbs.
  • Rail services around Durban can be moderately useful for travelling in either direction along the coast, but they are mainly used by commuters rather than tourists.
  • There is no subway or light rail system in Durban.
  • Even within the city, many bus services are operated by private minibus owners, who have a reputation for over-filling their vehicles.

Why not? Visiting Durban without a car

Why don't you need a car in Durban ?


  • Generally, visiting Durban without a hire car will be fine if you plan just to stick to the city itself, and local destinations along the coast.
  • Golden Mile – within the city, this popular beach front area is a natural place to hire a bike, or similar.
  • Local rail services (Metrorail) are adequate within the city, or for heading down towards Kelso on the coast to the south, or to KwaDukuza (Stanger) in the north.
  • Durban people mover – this bus service aimed more at visitors operates on a regular schedule in the most popular tourist areas of downtown Durban.
  • Coaches connect major towns, for example there are 5 competing services operating buses from Durban to Johannesburg. However, buses are largely aimed at inter-city passenger service, not at providing a way to reach national parks.
  • Security is a concern when renting a car in South Africa, but reports of car crime tend to be in cities, and much more common in Johannesburg or Cape Town.
  • The roads in South Africa are relatively unsafe when compared with countries in North America or Europe. However, compared to anywhere in Africa, the roads in South Africa are amongst the safest, and there are regular speed patrols.

Ratings: How does Durban compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Durban? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Durban, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Durban? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Durban (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Durban? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Durban airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Durban car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 7

2019 - 7

2021 - 8

Average score - 8

Notes:

 

Should you rent a car in Durban?

Whereas a city like Cape Town offers a wide range of tourist infrastructure which can make it easy to get around using trains and buses, this really doesn’t apply so much in Durban.

There’s a much greater range of places to see which are well outside the city, and which aren’t served by reliable public transport service.

This means that almost by default, our recommendation here would be to hire a car.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Durban ?

Categories
South Africa

Johannesburg

Africa > South Africa > Johannesburg

See: Why hire a car in Johannesburg ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Any suggestion of driving in Johannesburg might well spring to mind fears about being a city with a high crime rate, where car-jackings are still commonplace.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Johannesburg car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Johannesburg is in car rental price band: 2/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Johannesburg? 

Yes. Very cheap car rental by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Johannesburg between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 4/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 7

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Despite efforts to improve matters, car crime is still a legitimate concern, and as with any destination, we can only provide a few brief pointers. For visiting the city of Johannesburg itself, and including the wider metropolitan area stretching as far as the (political) capital Pretoria, there is no huge need to drive, because the major centres in this corridor have been connected by the newly built Gautrain network.

Why? Visiting Johannesburg using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Johannesburg ?


  • The real attraction of Johannesburg is not the city itself, but any number of world-famous national and other parks which are situated within a day’s driving from OR Tambo International airport.
  • The most impressive of all of these is the Kruger National Park, the entrance of which is around a five hour drive heading east from Johannesburg towards the border with Mozambique.
  • Car-jacking in perspective – according to a leading South African insurer, vehicle theft of any kind only accounts for 7% of claims, compared to 55% for accidents. Although you will always face a risk driving away from OR Tambo Airport, these risks are reduced once away from the main urban area (but you still need to be careful at all times, especially at night).

Why not? Visiting Johannesburg without a car

Why don't you need a car in Johannesburg ?


  • It’s far more common for visitors on safari to have transport to and within the national parks provided as part of a package.
  • No need for a hire car in and around the city of Johannesburg – it’s more of a liability than an asset.
  • See FCO warning re: driving in South Africa.

Ratings: How does Johannesburg compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Johannesburg? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Johannesburg, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Johannesburg? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Johannesburg (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Johannesburg? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Johannesburg airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Johannesburg car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 6

2021 - 7

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Johannesburg ?