Car rental Cape Town
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Why rent a car in Cape Town?
Cape Town is a great city for renting a car. Mixing European and African influences when it comes to architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle, it really is a place like no other. It has often been named as the number one travel destination in the world for a reason. Having your own ride will let you see this vast and diverse city in its fullness, as well as to travel to nearby beaches and nature reserves.
Top ways to enter Cape Town
- Cape Town Airport. Among the five busiest airports in Africa, Cape Town Airport serves more than 10 million passengers every year. The airport hosts many domestic flights, as well as flights to other African countries, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The airport is located about 20 km (12 mi) east of the city center. Cape Town has frequently been named the best airport in Africa.
- George Airport. A small and cozy airport that only has domestic flights, George Airport is located in a beautiful holiday spot on the Indian Ocean and is about a five hours drive east of Cape Town.
- Port Elizabeth Airport. Although it is an eight-hour drive between the two cities, Port Elizabeth Airport is one of the closest international airports to Cape Town. It serves about 1.6 million travelers every year.
- By public transportation. If you’re arriving in Cape Town by public transportation, you can also conveniently pick up a rental car at car rental centers in Cape Town’s city center or in neighborhoods like Parow and Rondebosch.
Useful city facts
Located at the very southwestern edge of Africa, Cape Town enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate. The winters are mild and humid while summers are warm and wet (as South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, the summers here last from December to March).
Cape Town is a city of great linguistic diversity. Afrikaans, a language similar to Dutch, Xhosa, a local, tonal Bantu language, and English are all spoken widely, and a number of other African languages can also be heard in the city.
Top destinations and activities
- Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarter). Famous for its colorful houses, Bo-Kaap is an area where Malay Muslims lived in Cape Town. Traces of those times can still be found throughout the neighborhood in things like the Nurul Islam Mosque and the unique food sold on street corners. Many places in Bo-Kaap also offer stunning views of the rest of Cape Town.
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Home to many unique flowers and plants from such varied biotypes as savanna, jungle, and desert, this green area is often named among the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. In addition to the flora, the botanical garden also hosts frequent outdoor exhibitions, many of them dedicated to the native African cultures of South Africa and its neighboring countries.
- Surfing. Cape Town has some of the best surfing waves on the planet. There are opportunities for surfers of every level - starters will appreciate the more relaxed Muizenberg beach where it is also easy to find an instructor while pros will be glad to challenge themselves at Kalk Bay. There are also great options for kitesurfing, snorkeling, and many other water sports in and around Cape Town.
Traffic and parking tips
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits are 120 km/h (74.5 mph) on freeways, 100 km/h (62 mph) on any public road outside of an urban area that is not a freeway, and 60 km/h (37 mph) on any public road within an urban or built-up area.
- When putting fuel in a car in Cape Town, the driver is required to remain in the car. Just park in the right area and the employee of the fuel station will soon come to you to find out which type of fuel and how much of it would you like to have.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% per 100ml of blood and 0.24% per 1000 ml of breath for experienced drivers and is 0.00% for novice drivers. Exceeding the allowed limit can lead to large fines, deportation, or imprisonment.
- Proof of insurance and the car’s registration needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
There are many toll roads in South Africa. However, unlike in most of the world, no payments are made on the highway, neither in cash nor by credit card. Instead, a vehicle is identified either by an electronic tag that is on the vehicle or by the vehicle’s licence plate number.
Many rental cars are equipped with an e-tag that will be used for making toll payments. Some rental car providers will charge an additional fee for this service. Ask your car rental provider about it beforehand.
The exact fee for using the toll roads depends on the type of road. See more information about the latest toll road fees on here.
If your rental car is not equipped with an e-tag, the bill for using the toll roads will be sent to your car rental provider. Due to delays in the South African toll road system, you could be billed and charged after the end of your rental period.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Table Mountain. Once an important reference point for early seafarers, and offering the best views of Cape Town, Table Mountain is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. It’s possible to go up the mountain with a cable car, but if you’re up for a challenge, climbing is also possible. The mountain is home to a really unique animal, the rock rabbit (also known as hyrax, or, as the locals call it, “Dassie”). It looks similar to a rodent, but its closest relatives are actually elephants and manatees.
- Boulders. A small, but popular beach sheltered by huge boulders, Boulders is famous for its permanent inhabitants, the African penguins that have a colony there. Boulders Beach is part of Table Mountain National Park that also has conversation programs for other animals like caracals, ostriches, and the klipspringer antelopes. Boulders Beach is about 45 km (27 mi) south of Cape Town.
- De Hoop Nature Reserve. Only accessible by car, De Hoop is a remote and pristine natural area about three hours drive east of Cape Town. Animals that live here include baboons, elands, leopards, and many others, but the reserve’s number one attraction is the Southern Right Whales who pass its beaches every year. Combine a visit here to the nearby, and equally interesting, Bontebok National Park.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Cape Town is the Kia Picanto, although travelers also tend to choose the Ford Fiesta and the Toyota Corolla a lot. The most popular rental car types in Cape Town are the mini, economy, and compact classes.
- Port Elizabeth. A picturesque city known for its museums, beaches, and large natural areas, Cape Town is one of the nicest and most relaxing places in the country. It takes about eight hours to reach it by car, with 700 km (430 mi) to cover. The long distance is well worth it, though.
- Namibia. A northern neighbor that only got its independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibia impresses with its long, sparsely populated beaches, and more than anything, the moon-like landscapes of the Namib and Kalahari Deserts. Like South Africa, Namibia is one of the most accessible countries of Africa. Luderitz, its nearest coastal city, is about an eleven-hour drive north of Cape Town. Do keep in mind that you’ll be crossing a national border, so first, ask your rental car provider if it is permitted. Alternatively, you can drop off your rental car in South Africa and pick up another in Namibia. Also, check to see if you require a visa to enter Namibia and the process for obtaining one if so.
- Botswana. With both the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert, and many national parks Botswana is one of the most diverse countries in South Africa. The country is especially fascinating to experience if you have your own ride. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a nature reserve located in both South Africa and Botswana, is about 11 hours away from Cape Town. Do keep in mind that you’ll be crossing a national border, so first ask your rental car provider permits it. Alternatively, you can drop off one rental car in South Africa and pick up another in Botswana. Also, check to see if you require a visa to enter Botswana and the process for obtaining one if so.
How can I save money on my rental car?
Try these tricks to get a great car rental deal in Cape Town:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit Cape Town when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Frankfurt is the cheapest in May when renting a car is about 40% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 70% cheaper than renting a car in November.
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