Car hire in Kruger National Park is available in just one area, this being Skukuza Rest Camp and its nearby airstrip. This is very convenient if you have pre-arranged transport that takes you right to Skukuza, such as a charter flight or pre-arranged tour. It’s also great in the unlikely event that you already have a hire car, but something is amiss and you need to rent a replacement.
For most people though, far more likely places to collect a rental car is from Johannesburg’s O. R. Tambo International Airport or Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in White River.
Unless you have booked all inclusive safari tours, the only way to see Kruger National Park is in a vehicle. If you don’t have access to one, it’s time to give car rental some thought.
Car Hire from Johannesburg Airport
Johannesburg Airport has the car rental facilities you’d expect from any large international airport. Every well known global car rental company is represented and most offices are open all day, every day, including:
Rentalcars.com (one of the biggest online car rental services) lets you search, compare and save on hire cars available with a price match guarantee. They also have 24/7 phone support and no credit card or amendment fees.
If you’re hiring your car from Johannesburg Airport, we recommend taking your own satnav or GPS with you, or even hiring one. This is to help you navigate around some unsavoury parts of this big city. It’ll also help you focus on the scenery rather than on maps!
Car Hire from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
There are also lots of car rental companies at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA), located in White River near Nelspruit. The branches there aren’t open all the time though, unlike at Johannesburg Airport.
KMIA is 46km (29 miles) south of Numbi Gate, the closest Kruger National Park entrance gate.
Car Rental for Kruger Park Conditions
It’s a good idea to consider the type of car that’s best suited to a Kruger National Park visit. A car that has a higher sitting position and large windows is better for safaris. You can see more! Consider getting an SUV or van, but the rental cost might be 2 or 3 times more than an entry level tourist car.
Make sure your car has air conditioning. Most models will, except the cheapest. This is especially important if you visit Kruger National Park in summer. We’ve been in temperatures of up to 50°C (122°F), although it’s more likely to be between 30 and 40°C (86-104°F). The humidity weighs heavily on you too if you’re not used to it.
When you rent a car in South Africa, remember that most hire companies don’t offer unlimited kilometres. You’ll probably get around 200km (124 miles) free per day. Each extra kilometre after that costs you money. Distances in South African can be big, so keep this in mind. It can make it complicated to work out the total cost of your hire car.
When you’re planning your Kruger National Park safari, it’s a good idea to fill up your car with petrol before entering the park. This way, you probably won’t need to find out which rest camps have petrol stations, if you’re on a day trip to the park.
If you are staying overnight in Kruger Park and exploring further, find out which rest camps have petrol stations. Fill up your car whenever you get the chance!