I'll be traveling to South Africa this spring, and we're in the midst of planning our itinerary. Because we have items on our to-do/to-see list that span a large geographic area, friends have recommended that we rent a car for part or all of our trip.

My question is: as an American, are there any advantages to waiting until I am actually in South Africa to rent a car? I imagine we'll be picking up and dropping off cars at an airport (we're flying in and out of Johannesburg, but may fly down do Cape Town and work our way back north by car). Is it possible to negotiate prices, or simply get better deals, by waiting until we arrive? Or should we book rental cars well in advance? Would we be in danger of not having cars available if we didn't make an advanced reservation?

Our trip is 10 days long, so it's a short term rental rather than long-term/mini-lease.

2 Answers 2


It is definitely better to book a car in advance, even in lower season. I would not take the risk of arriving there and not finding a suitable car. Moreover, when you book your car at home you can rent it through a broker. This way you will get a good price. And I have some doubts that you will find a better deal by pounding the rental desks at O.R. Tambo airport.

  • 1
    Unfortunately it can happen that you book a car and there is still no suitable one when you arrived (this happened to me on a Friday night at Budget at OR Tambo)
    – Max
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:23

if you plan to visit South Africa between February & March, I would strongly suggest that you reserve a vehicle in advance as that is a very busy time for tourist to SA. You can also get in contact with us if you require a detailed quotation on
[email protected] - All the best with your planning.

  • Hello Jacques, and welcome to Travel-SE! Promotion of services and product you are affiliated with is fine, but you should explicitly state that you are related to the service you link to -- see the FAQ .The easiest way to do it would be to fill in some information on your profile. That being said, we're looking forward to your participation in the site! Jan 20, 2012 at 7:47
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    "get in contact with us" seems like a pretty clear indication of affiliation to me.
    – WW.
    Jan 20, 2012 at 11:54

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