Cape Town

Should you hire a car in Cape Town?

Should you rent a car in Cape Town South Africa > Cape Town

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.

Cape Town Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

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

10%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€70

 #65/300

 

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

 

 €70

4/300

 

Free parking score

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

63%

#80/300

 
  • 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

 

00%

Water travel score

100%

Overall public transport score

40%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

30%

  • 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

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?


 

Verdict

Final score:

7

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

Verdict

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:
 

Durban

Should you rent a car in Durban?

Should you rent a car in Durban South Africa > Durban

Durban Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

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 should you rent a car in Durban?

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 Durban?

Durban Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

70%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€80

 #77/300

 

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

 

 €80

11/300

 

Free parking score

Total 259 - of which 178 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

69%

#53/300

 

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? Why not? Ratings Comments

Durban public transport quick facts

Train score

 

00%

Water travel score

100%

Overall public transport score

60%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

60%

  • 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

Car rental in - Durban Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Durban?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Durban?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Durban?

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 Durban 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 Durban 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 Durban if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

10

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

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.

Would you hire a car in Durban?

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

Johannesburg

Should you rent a car in Johannesburg?

Should you rent a car in Johannesburg South Africa > Johannesburg

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.

Johannesburg Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

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 should you rent a car in Johannesburg?

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 Johannesburg?

Johannesburg Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€75

 #76/300

 

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

 

 €75

5/300

 

Free parking score

Total 849 - of which 658 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

78%

#26/300

 
  • 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? Why not? Ratings Comments

Johannesburg public transport quick facts

Train score

 

10%

Water travel score

30%

Overall public transport score

30%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

20%

  • 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

Car rental in - Johannesburg Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Johannesburg?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Johannesburg?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Johannesburg?

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 Johannesburg 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 Johannesburg 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 Johannesburg if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

7

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

Would you hire a car in Johannesburg?

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