Home » Cars » Car Rental in South Africa

Car Rental in South Africa

The search above is provided by DiscoverCars.com, World's Best Car Rental Booking Website of 2022.

If you want to be sure to get the best possible deal, we recommend checking also QEEQ.COM, one of the fastest-growing online car rental platforms worldwide, listing over 7 million rental cars in around 200 countries.

Renting a Car in South Africa

When visiting South Africa, renting a car can be a convenient and efficient way to explore the diverse landscapes and attractions the country has to offer. However, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Understanding Local Driving Laws

Before renting a car in South Africa, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local driving laws to avoid any potential issues. South Africa drives on the left-hand side of the road, and the speed limits are typically 60-80km/h in urban areas and 100-120km/h on highways. It’s also important to have a valid driver’s license and to adhere to any specific requirements for international visitors.

Rental Car Requirements

When renting a car in South Africa, most rental companies will require you to be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Additionally, you may need to provide a credit card for the security deposit and be prepared to show proof of insurance coverage. It’s also recommended to inspect the rental car for any pre-existing damage before driving off the lot to avoid any potential disputes upon return.

Exploring South Africa by Car

With a rental car, you’ll have the freedom to explore South Africa at your own pace and visit popular destinations such as Kruger National Park, the Garden Route, and the Cape Winelands. Just be sure to plan your routes in advance, as some areas may have limited access or require a 4×4 vehicle for certain off-road adventures.

Overall, renting a car in South Africa can enhance your travel experience, but it’s essential to be well-informed and prepared before hitting the road. By understanding the local driving laws and rental car requirements, you can enjoy a safe and memorable journey through this beautiful country.

Rental Requirements

When renting a car in South Africa, there are a few requirements that you need to meet before you can hit the road.

Age Limits

The minimum age for renting a car in South Africa is typically 21 years old, although some rental companies may require drivers to be 23 or even 25. There is also usually a maximum age limit, which can vary depending on the rental company.

Driving License Requirements

To rent a car in South Africa, you will need a valid driver’s license. If your license is not in English, you will also need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you arrive in South Africa. Additionally, some rental companies may require you to have held your license for a certain amount of time, often at least one year.


When picking up your rental car, you will need to present a valid passport, a credit card in the primary driver’s name for the security deposit, and any other documentation required by the rental company. Be sure to check with your specific rental company for their documentation requirements before you travel to South Africa.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in South Africa, it’s important to understand the different types of insurance that may be included or available for purchase.

Basic Insurance

The basic insurance typically includes Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection. CDW covers damage to the rental vehicle in the event of a collision, while Theft Protection covers the loss of the vehicle due to theft.

Additional Insurance

In addition to the basic insurance, there are options available for additional coverage. Personal Accident Insurance provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits for the driver and passengers. Supplemental Liability Insurance offers protection against third-party liability claims.

Insurance Tips

For travelers renting a car in South Africa, it’s recommended to check their existing travel insurance policies to see if they already have coverage for rental vehicles. This can help avoid purchasing duplicate coverage and save on costs. It’s also important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage offered by the car rental company to fully understand the extent of protection provided.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in South Africa

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: In South Africa, driving is on the left side of the road.
Speed Limits: The speed limit in urban areas is typically 60 km/h, 100 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on highways.
Other Useful Info: Keep an eye out for wildlife on rural roads, especially at night.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking should be done on the right and is prohibited in certain areas.
Lane Discipline: The ‘keep left except to pass’ rule is enforced on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Be cautious when overtaking slow-moving vehicles, especially on narrow roads.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: Wearing seat belts is mandatory for all passengers, and child seats are required for children under 3 years old.
Child Safety: Children under 3 years old must be in a car seat, and children under 14 must sit in the back seat.
Other Useful Info: Ensure that child seats comply with South African safety standards.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited, unless using a hands-free device.
Other Useful Info: Pull over in a safe area if you need to use your phone while driving.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05g/100ml, with severe penalties for DUI/DWI.
Zero Tolerance Policies: There is zero tolerance for alcohol for drivers under the age of 20 and for professional drivers.
Other Useful Info: Plan for a designated driver or alternative transportation if you plan to drink.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: South Africa has a number of toll roads, and payment can be made in cash or with electronic toll tags.
Congestion Charges: There are no urban congestion charges in South Africa.
Other Useful Info: Keep small bills and change on hand for toll payments.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common in South Africa, and traffic already on the roundabout has the right of way.
Intersection Rules: Always yield to traffic coming from the right at intersections unless otherwise indicated.
Other Useful Info: Pay attention to traffic signals and signage at intersections.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights must be used at night, during rain, and when visibility is less than 150 meters.
Windshield Wiper Rule: Headlights must be on when using windshield wipers.
Other Useful Info: Keep your headlights and wipers in good working condition.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: Pull over to the side of the road and come to a complete stop to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Other Useful Info: Do not follow emergency vehicles closely or attempt to pass them.

Driving Tips for South Africa

Road Conditions

In South Africa, road conditions can vary widely. While major highways are generally well-maintained, rural roads can be rough and uneven. It’s important to be cautious and attentive while driving, especially in rural areas where potholes and gravel roads are common.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

Driving in urban areas in South Africa can be fast-paced and hectic, with heavy traffic and aggressive drivers. In rural areas, roads are often narrower and less well-maintained. It’s important to adjust your driving style accordingly and be prepared for different road conditions.

Navigational Tips

Using a GPS is highly recommended when driving in South Africa, especially for navigating through cities and finding specific addresses. However, it’s also a good idea to have a physical map as a backup, as GPS signals can be unreliable in more remote areas.

Other Useful Tips

– Always drive on the left side of the road in South Africa.
– Be aware of wildlife on the roads, especially in rural and game reserve areas.
– Keep an eye out for pedestrians and informal settlements near roadways.
– Be cautious when driving at night, as visibility can be poor in some areas.

By following these driving tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience renting a car and exploring South Africa.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

Breakdown Procedures

If your rental car breaks down while you are in South Africa, the first thing to do is to safely pull over to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights and place a warning triangle behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. Contact the rental company’s roadside assistance hotline for further instructions. Do not attempt to fix the car yourself, as this may void the rental agreement.

Emergency Services

In case of an emergency, dial 10111 for the police, 10177 for an ambulance, and the rental company’s roadside assistance hotline for immediate help. It’s important to have these numbers stored in your phone or written down in case of an emergency situation.

Rental Company Policies

Most rental companies in South Africa offer 24/7 roadside assistance and towing services as part of their rental agreement. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific policies of the rental company you choose, as they may vary. This information can usually be found in the rental agreement or by contacting the rental company directly.

Where can you Rent a Car in South Africa?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.