South Africa Rental Car: 4WD or regular car?

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Mar 27th, 2003, 10:01 AM
  #1
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South Africa Rental Car: 4WD or regular car?

We are planning our honeymoon for May in South Africa. Most of the travel plans are in place, but we don't have a rental car yet. Basically, we will fly into Johannesburg and drive to Kruger(game lodge), then to Sodwana Bay and Durban, then across to Cape Town and then fly out -- we will be travelling for ~1 month. What are the road conditions like? It is better to have a regular car with a trunk where you can put valuables or a car with 4WD that can handle bad roads? Should crime be a consideration in the type of car we rent?

Thanks for the input! Other postings have been interesting and helpful.
SAhoneymoon is offline  
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Mar 27th, 2003, 10:44 AM
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I don't think for the route you have chosen you need to worry about a 4wd.(actually, I miss the good SA roads with no potholes.) You cannot go off road in Kruger and for the rest you will be traveling on major roads and highways. Not that familiar with Sodwana bay though but pretty sure the good roads apply there.

You are correct to be concerned the idea of a car with a trunk (which is called a boot in SA).

I have used sidestep.com to find the best pricing on cars. I would seriously consider taking the full insurance though. It is really expensive (probably doubles the car rental).

I would also get air conditioning. I just rented car there without air conditioning and was not a happy camper.
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Mar 28th, 2003, 12:58 AM
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The roads in SA are in very good condition, but I would suggest that you rent a 4WD for the Kruger and Sodwana legs. Kruger because you will be higher than a regular vehicle so game viewing is easier, and Sodwana because the access is better if you are in 4WD. You can chnage to a "regular" vehicle for Durban and Cape Town.
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Mar 28th, 2003, 04:00 PM
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SAhonemoon,

I think that Waverley and Traci have given you excellent advice and I certainly would follow all that they say.

The bit of advice that I can give you is that if you are travelling all over the country by car then you MUST use the bigger name car rental companies. I say this because if anything happens to your car then it can be swopped in the nearest town.

I would suggest that in this case look at http://www.tempestcarhire.co.za/ as they seem to be offering the best rates at the moment.

I also have to emphasise something that Waverley said and that is hiore a vehicle with a trunk (boot) This is VERY IMPORTANT.

One last VERY IMPORTANT tip. Remember that you can only pay for gas (petrol) with cash in SA. Credit cards are not accepted for fuel. There generally are ATM's at most filling stations however I always feel better if I have cash on me to pay immediately as opposed to cashing in at the ATM at a filling station in the bush.

Hope you have a grand journey in SA

Selwyn Davidowitz
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Mar 28th, 2003, 04:20 PM
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caribtraveler
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You will have such a fabulous honeymoon.
The roads in South Africa are really good. You don't have to have a 4x4. My family and I have driven from Joburg to Kruger [and visited the park] in a regular car and it was fine.
You definitely should get something with a trunk to put your stuff.
 
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Mar 29th, 2003, 02:33 AM
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So is it not safe to rent a car in SA? We were thinking about renting one in the Capetown area for a week...should we be concerned about theft of the car itself? Please Advise.
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Mar 29th, 2003, 04:24 AM
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caribtraveler
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Car jacking and car theft is an issue in South Africa. But please don't be alarmed. Just use proper precautions and you'll be fine.
You can rent a car. I think the previous poster who said to go with the bigger known rental companies is right..just to be safer.
 
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Mar 29th, 2003, 09:37 AM
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George, nobody is saying anywhere that it is not safe to rent a car. I have travelled many times to Sa and rented a car in many places and had absolutely no problems with theft or break ins or accidents. However. that is not to say, one should not be cautious ( and I am cautious wherever I am, whether it is the USA, Europe or Africa.) I just feel that it is better to take full coverage on insurance than to have any problems.

My advice to you, is go to Cape Town, rent a car, have the best vacation of your life and start a lifelong love affair with Cape Town and South Africa.
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Mar 29th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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What I did - I got the car delivered to my hotel which was much better as the chap who delivered was patient enough to give me some useful advice. I think all car rental companies offer this service. You can also get a chauffer if you are too scared to drive by yourself.
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