By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Johannesburg?

Do you need a car in Johannesburg > Should you rent a car in Johannesburg South Africa > Johannesburg ( JNB )

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.

Do you need a car in Johannesburg? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

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?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? 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

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]



Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]




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

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




Free parking score

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



  • 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



Water travel score


Overall public transport score



Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around 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.


Car rental in - Johannesburg Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Johannesburg?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/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 questions, if you are here for the first time AND 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?

What about for families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Johannesburg if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

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

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?



What is our final score for Johannesburg on the Carornocar scale?


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:

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