The Basics

Johannesburg. The second largest city in South Africa is not necessarily a tourist spot, but is a hub for many international travelers, as it houses the main transit point for all connecting flights to nearby locations such as Cape Town and Durban. As a result of this, development of more and more attractions for passing tourists have resulted thus making this area a great layover for many seeking a little South African nostalgia and excitement. While Johannesburg may not be a tourist town, there is much to see in this historical area of South Africa from museums to National Parks to game reserves. But, this historical town founded out of the discovery of gold and diamonds, is not geared toward public transportation. While some forms of public transportation exists, these were built in earlier times and do not support all areas of this sprawling city. Knowing where and how to travel becomes extremely important to the busy traveler. Thus, when considering your travel needs, perhaps the car hire works best.

Where to hire?

In most areas, airports offer the traditional companies like Hertz, Budget, Alamo, EuropCar and Avis. But, unlike car rental companies in the U.S. or U.K., there are no true set prices in Johannesburg for car hires due to the varying needs of travelers. Taking advantage of a car rental booker, such as takes the pressure off by giving you suggestions and quotes from all these major companies and more. These types of car bookers can often find you better deals as they work with more volume those individual companies. And, when planning your car hire needs be sure to consider things like; the mileage, time needed, additional insurance and if you need extras like GPS or children car seats.

There are a wide range of cars, trucks and SUV’s available for hire that will range in price from approximately $15 USD to $138 USD per day, depending on the duration of the rental and what equipment you need for your trip.

Driving in South Africa

So, now that you’ve decided to hire a car, here are a few pointers for getting around Johannesburg and other areas of South Africa safely.

  • Remember that most road signs will be in English and you should always drive to the left.
  • Local drivers know these roads much better than you, and unfortunately you don’t know how they drive either. Always drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings. Expect the unexpected to be safe!
  • Don’t look for ‘miles’, look for ‘kilometers’.
  • Photo identification on your driver’s license is almost always a necessity and always carry your identification and/or passport with you when traveling.
  • “Robots” is South African for traffic lights.
  • And, at many car hire companies, automatic transmissions are optional. So if you can’t or don’t use a manual transmission in your car, be specific on your reservation.


The use of online services may help you make comparisons and reservations as you make your selection regarding your Johannesburg car hire possibilities. As with all things in traveling, research is of the utmost importance for a smooth, easy and safe trip. Be prepared, have your plans made and enjoy the trip!