Cape Town International Airport, South Africa – car hire guide

Cape Town International Airport, South Africa
Source: By BlogDeBanderas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Cape Town International Airport is South Africa’s second-largest airport, after O.R. Tambo International Airport at Johannesburg.

Situated around 12 miles (20km) south-east of Cape Town city centre, the handles around 10m passengers and nearly 100,000 aircraft movements every year from its two runways. Cape Town is a popular destination thanks to its coastal location, beaches, the Table Mountain and history and heritage.

As South Africa is a large country, it’s fairly common to fly between Johannesburg and Cape Town, rather than driving. Although Cape Town airport serves a wide range of international destinations, many of the flights from the airport are to Johannesburg and other domestic destinations, such as Durban and Bloemfontein.

Visitors arriving at Cape Town International and wanting to hire a car are well served by a range of local and international rental companies. At the time of writing (August 2017), I was able to obtain quotes from the following companies:

  • Avis
  • Bidvest Car Rental
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • First Car Rental
  • Hertz
  • Sixt
  • Tempest Car Hire
  • Woodford Exclusive Rentals

All types of car were available, including compact, intermediate and premium cars, as well as 5-9 seater minivans and 4×4 models.

Driving tips for South Africa

Here are a few useful tips for drivers who haven’t visited South Africa before:

  • Drive on the left
  • Some national routes between cities are toll roads.
  • Major roads are generally surfaced and in good condition, but rural roads vary widely and are often unsurfaced (dirt) roads. Check with your rental company to see if they impose restrictions on the type of roads you can use.
  • Signs are in English. All speeds and distances are in kilometres. Be aware of speed limit signs as enforcement can be strict and without warning.
  • Be aware that while a driving holiday is a viable choice, distances are high.
  • Plan to use filling stations to fuel, use restrooms and buy refreshments. Try to avoid unscheduled stops.
  • Security: always keep your doors locked and windows closed in town or other areas where criminals may operate. Keep valuables/bags/etc out of sight at all times.
  • Traffic lights are known as ‘robots’ in South Africa!
  • Don’t stop for hitchikers or motorists apparently in distress, as these techniques are sometimes used by hijackers
  • Try to avoid driving at night

For more tips, check out the Arrive Alive campaign’s road safety advice for foreigners in South Africa.

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