Hiring a car in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is South Africa’s commercial capital and has its roots in the late nineteenth-century gold rush. Hire a Drive South Africa rental car here, and you’ll be able to take advantage of all the city has to offer, from world-class restaurants, bustling nightlife, and excellent shopping at any number of malls.

Johannesburg skyline.

A little way out from the city center, you’ll find the incredible Sun City resort and the Pilanesberg National Park, perfect if you’re after some wildlife viewing. 

When’s the Best Time to Visit Johannesburg?

Winter in Johannesburg is mild, with sunny days but cold mornings. The best time to visit Johannesburg would be in spring or summer when the days are warm and dry.

Game drive in Johannesburg

In and Around Johannesburg

Johannesburg is well-known for its vibrant and lush parks. Emmarentia Dam is a popular picnic spot that sometimes hosts live music.

The Maboneng Precinct is perfect for anyone wanting to explore the city’s newly built urban life, while the arts, entertainment, and nightlife of Braamfontein are thrilling.

Be sure to check out the clubs in Melville and the wonderfully cosmopolitan Greenside.

Rent a car or a 4×4 in Johannesburg and take a day trip out to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind.  

Getting Around Johannesburg and its surroundings

Renting a car is the best way to get around Johannesburg and its surrounding areas. The city is a vast network of highways and routes, so you’ll easily be able to navigate your way around and see the popular sights. 

A Johannesburg road trip.

How long should you stay in Johannesburg?

The city itself can be explored within a week, but if you’re planning on exploring everything the region has to offer, such as its culture, nature, and wildlife, you should stay for at least two weeks.

With Drive South Africa, it’s easy to compare thousands of vehicles and hire a car for the exact duration of your stay. With excellent customer service and the most affordable rates, you can explore Johannesburg at your own pace and in the comfort of your own rented car.

What to pack for your trip to Johannesburg

Johannesburg enjoys warm summers, but winter can be cold, wet, and windy. Be sure to pack the right clothing for the season.

For summer, we’d recommend:

  • Light, cool clothing

  • Swimming costumes

  • A peak cap or sun hat

  • Sunscreen

  • Hiking gear and good walking shoes

  • A windbreaker-type jacket

  • A light jacket and long pants for the occasional chilly evening

For winter, we’d suggest:

  • A warm coat

  • A scarf, gloves, and beanie

  • Boots or waterproof shoes

  • A raincoat and umbrella   

Sight seeing in Johannesburg.

Where to stay in Johannesburg

Maboneng, Johannesburg

Maboneng is an up-and-coming urban district dedicated to the creation of a more holistic, artistic metropolis. In the area surrounding Maboneng, you’ll find a vast variety of guest homes, backpackers, and boutique hotels.

Melville, Johannesburg

Melville is an urban, residential, commercial, and entertainment district with a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget.

Greenside, Johannesburg

Greenside is comparable to Melville, the difference being that it is close to some of the city’s most beautiful parks.

Sandton, Johannesburg

Sandton is one of the city’s busiest financial and business areas and is geared more toward the wealthy tourist looking for a more luxurious stay.

Jacaranda trees in Johannesburg

Frequently Asked Questions when Hiring a Car in Johannesburg, South Africa

How old must I be to hire a vehicle in Johannesburg?

Most suppliers require you to be 21 as an international driver and 23 for South African drivers, you are also required to have held a valid license for at least 2 years before hiring a car.

There are various options depending on the supplier so please contact us if you are below this age and need to hire a vehicle.

My vehicle is being delivered to me. Will the fuel tank be full when I receive it?

Fuel is charged from depot to depot in Johannesburg and the rest of South Africa. Every vehicle leaves the depot full and is re-fuelled upon return. If your vehicle is delivered to you then the tank may not be completely full depending on the distance from the nearest depot.

In the same way, if your vehicle is collected from you it will be re-fuelled when it returns to the depot so you will be liable for the cost of the fuel from the collection point to the nearest depot.

How does the rental deposit work?

When you hire a car in Johannesburg, if you have chosen a package with an excess then you will be required to have he full excess value available on your credit card for a deposit. If you return the vehicle without any damages then this amount will be refunded to you. If repairs are required or parts need to be replaced then you will be charged the correct amount and any remaining funds will be refunded to you.

No matter what package you have chosen you will be required to pay a rental deposit. This varies from R1000 to R2000 depending on which supplier is used. This deposit will be refunded if the vehicle is returned on or before the agreed date and time with a full fuel tank. If the vehicle requires re-fuelling then you will be charged for this and the remaining funds will be refunded. If you return your vehicle late without contacting Drive South Africa then you will be charged for the additional days at the supplier’s extension rates.

What do I do if I have an accident?

If a third party is involved make sure you get all their details – name, ID or passport number, address and telephone number, vehicle registration, make, and model. You will need to contact the supplier as soon as possible but no more than 24 hours after the incident. They will require a full and detailed description of the accident.

If your vehicle needs to be replaced the supplier will arrange to do this. You also need to report the accident to the nearest police station and supply the car rental company with the case number.

We always recommend Super cover instead of Standard cover as this will cover you more extensivly if an accident should occur while travelling through Johannesburg and South Africa as a whole.

Can the vehicle model be guaranteed?

No. A specific model can be requested but not guaranteed. Rental vehicles are put into group i.e. Group A or Group D, so you will be renting a vehilce in a specific group, not a specific vehicle. The supplier reserves the right to replace certain models on their fleet without prior notification. The advertised vehicle gives an indication of the type of vehicle and features to be expected.

The only time you will hire a specific vehicle is when you enquire around our luxury fleet.

Do I need an International Driver’s License to hire a car with Drive South Africa?

No. You do not necessarily need an International Driver’s License.

You may use the driver’s license from your home country, provided that the license is:

  • Valid
  • Unendorsed
  • In English

If your license is in another language then you will need an International license.

The type of vehicles you can hire in Johannesburg, South Africa

Compact Cars

Compact Cars

When hiring a compact car in Johannesburg you’re generally expecting a vehicle that would be best suited for 1 or 2 persons with minimal baggage. Hiring a cheap compact car is best for business trips or short distance travel in and around a city.

If you’re looking to travel a bit further, then we would recommend hiring an SUV or at the very least a standard car.

Standard Cars

Standard Cars

When hiring a standard car in Johannesburg you are generally looking at hiring a 4 door sedan or similar with considerably more boot space than your compact option. hiring a standard car is best for leisure trips where you have a 2-3 people with some baggage.

If you’re looking to travel a bit further or you’re 4-5 people with baggage, then we would recommend hiring an SUV or a People Mover.

Commercial Cars & Bakkies

Commercial Cars & Bakkies

When hiring a commercial vehilce or bakkie, you are generally using it for work or moving purposes. This is a more hardy rental option that you can use to transport goods.

Please make sure that you read all terms and conditions when it comes to hiring one of these vehicles as damages to the vehicle could result in hefty fines.



MPV stands for Multi-Purpose Vehicle and is used for larger groups when travelling. Generally renting an MPV is best suited when you are 4-5 people travelling with baggage.

If you are even slightly concerned about space however, we would recommend looking at hiring a People Mover instead as the better option as this would allow you a large amount of space with baggage.



If chances are that you’re travelling for a few weeks, you will have quite a bit of luggage. An SUV is ideal for storing your luggage, where boot space is aplenty. You definitely won’t feel cramped when you hire an SUV.

As it is more adept at handling terrain, an SUV is the perfect car hire option for a road trip style holiday in Southern Africa. This is as you won’t always find perfectly manicured highways.

People Movers

People Movers

People movers are there to hire if you have 4-8 people travelling for slightly longer periods or you have a considerable amount of luggage. This is the best option if you are planning on hiring with the aim of travelling in complete comfort as each passengers will have ample space.

If you need something a tad less expensive then an MPV would also do the trick but note, with this rental option you’ll have far less comfort and space.

Hiring a Cheap car in South Africa vs other transport options

Johannesburg is one of the major cities in South Africa and is considered the economic hub of the country. This said, public transport is still African in nature and far from European standards.

There are numerous taxi apps and traditional taxi services available in Johannesburg including Uber and Bolt (Lyft is not an option in South Africa at the moment). This is perfect for your night out or short trips within the city.

If you’re planning on travelling anywhere outside of the immediate city, we would recommend either the Gautrain which goes to Pretoria and some spots within the greater Johannesburg area or hiring a car.

Trains are generally used for shorter metro style trips (more blue collar) and can be very unreliable, so our recommendation would be to avoid these.

Flying into most of South Africa’s major cities is hassle free as there a quite a few low cost airlines to get you there with Kulula, Mango and FlySafair being your most popular.

All in all, once you’re in the city public transport is limited so unless you are planning on purely staying in the city centre specifically, you will need to hire a car in Johannesburg. Depending on the size of your group and your requirements that would guide your specific rental.

To see all of the available options we have please click on the button below and fill in your dates for accurate pricing.

The hiring procedure to follow when hiring a car in Johannesburg

When hiring a vehicle in Johannesburg with Drive South Africa, the process could not be simpler. Just follow the steps below;

1. At the top of this page you will see a search form with dates and locations

2. Add the dates that you need to hire the vehicle for

3. Add the pick-up and drop-off locations where you want to collect the vehicle and then return the vehicle, in the case most likely Johannesburg

4. Click on the search button

5. A list of vehicles will appear that are available for you to hire in Johannesburg

6. You will see a range of filters at the top of the results that will allow you to filter to a specific type of vehicle.

7. Based on the type of car that you’re interested in, select the vehicle (click the Select button) that best matches your needs, based on price and size.

8. You’ll be taken to Step 2 of the process where you select your Insurance, Excess and Extras. We always recommend Super cover as this will reduce your Excess and Liability if you are in an accident.

9. Once happy with your selection click on the “Continue” button which will take you to Step 3 where we get your details. We need your details to reserve the booking against your name. You will be required to show identification (Driver’s Licence) on collection of the vehicle so make sure to match.

10. If you’ve selected an “Instant Confirmation” vehicle you’ll have the option to pay immediately otherwise you will see a confirmation page here for your vehicle rental in Johannesburg.

11. If you see a confirmation you’ll see a reference number (starts with DS)n which has been emailed to you as well and you will use that reference number when corresponding with our consultants.

12. If you have selected to pay immediately then you will be able to add your credit card details and have a vehicle ready for you instantly.

13. Once you’ve paid for your car rental you will see a similar confirmation page as above.

14. If you have any problems during this process you can contact us at +27 87 806 7330 to speak to one of our expert car rental consultants.

What Documents do you Need in South Africa when you hire a Vehicle in Johannesburg

The only documents that you need is an valid driver’s licence from you country of residence. You do not necessarily need an International Driver’s License.

You may use the driver’s license from your home country, provided that the license is:

– Valid

– Unendorsed

– In English

If your license is in another language then you will need an International license.

Please note that you will also need a credit card in your name with embossed letters and numbers. This is the standard with all of our suppliers.

If you are renting a 4×4 or camper in Johannesburg and you are paying your deposit with a Diner’s Club card you will still need a Maestro or Visa card with embossed letter and numbers on collection of your rental vehicle.

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