Car Hire Tips For Driving In South Africa
South Africa is a beautiful country and popular tourist destination. With an excellent road infrastructure and numerous attractions spread far and wide, it is also better to self drive than making use of public transport. If you follow the car hire tips provided below you will be able to save money and have a safe as well as pleasant journey.
The best pick-up and drop-off locations for car hire in the country are the airports. Major airports are located in Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Cape Town, Durban, George, East London, and Bloemfontein.
Car Hire Tips for Safety
The roads are relatively safe, but be vigilant, especially when driving at night or on small roads. Dont stop for picnics at the roadside picnic spots, unless at one of the fuel station and refreshment centres. Beware of potholes also in the city areas and dont engage in conversation with people at the intersections. You will find street vendors and beggars at many of the intersections. Be careful as some of them are involved in smash and grab attempts and hijackings and simply use the begging or hawking to disguise their real intentions. Keep your windows rolled up and dont leave any valuables in sight. Drive with vehicle doors locked and be sure to let someone know where you are going.
Driving In South Africa
Driving is done on the left side of the road and both manual gear and automatic drive vehicles are allowed. If you are not used to manual gear, rather rent one with automatic gears. You must be in possession of a valid South African drivers license or a recognized international drivers license. The drivers age will have a big influence on the rental price as will the drop-off location. South Africa has strict regulations regarding drinking and driving and it is recommended that you refrain from any form of alcohol usage before driving in the country.
The speed limit on highways is 120 km per hour and mileage is measured in kilometres. In the mid-city and residential areas you can expect the speed limit to drop to 50-70 km per hour while other roads have a speed limit of generally between 80 and 120 km depending on the road conditions. Two types of fuel are used that of diesel and unleaded petrol. Make sure that the fuel station attendant fills the tank with the correct type.
Although hooting is prohibited unless to prevent an accident, you will find that the taxis hoot all the times. It can be a bit nerve wrecking at first as one is never sure whether someone is hooting for you or potential passengers.
Car Hire Tips for Payment
The vehicle rental companies require credit card payments. Visa, MasterCard, Diners, and Amex cards are generally accepted. If you will need a vehicle roof rack, cycle rack, child seat or a tow bar you must specify so when enquiring about quotes. Note that rentals cost more if you only rent the vehicle for a day or two. To get the best deals book for a week or more and drop the vehicle off at the same place as where you have picked it up.
Types of Vehicles
Hire a car with aircon as your windows will be rolled up most of the time. In addition, South Africa has a warm climate and humidity levels in the eastern parts of the country are high. If you plan to only visit the city areas, a small economical car will help to navigate in the traffic and safe you money on fuel. For outer city travelling along dirt roads, book an SUV or 4×4. The country has several stunning off-road routes to remote wildlife destinations.
Car Hire Tips for Saving Money
The best way to get cheap car rental packages in South Africa is to book ahead. This can be done online ensuring that your booking is made before arrival in the country. By making use of central online booking facilities, you will be able to do price comparisons and shop for the vehicle of choice.
Apart from the license already mentioned in one of the car hire tips, you will also need valid identification. This can be a South African ID or a passport if you want to rent a car. If more than one person will drive, both will have to show proof of identification and drivers licenses. You must also have your credit card on you when collecting the vehicle.