By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Durban?

Do you need a car in Durban > Should you rent a car in Durban South Africa > Durban ( DUR )

Do you need a car in Durban? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

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



Cheapest rate for one week




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





Free parking score

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




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



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • 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.



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?



Final score:


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:

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