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Auto Rental advice needed

Find information and FAQ's not related to the parks, like Health & Safety, 4x4 etc.

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cheetahlady
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Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby cheetahlady » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:20 pm

Hi there

What is the Toyota Avanza like for game viewing in KNP?

Thinking about height, clearance and window size (photographers on board :))

Hope to get some feedback.

Thanks
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granjan
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Re: Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby granjan » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:46 pm

Hi Cheetahlady,
I had an Avanza in Kruger in April last year and really liked it. With the longer grass at that time of year the extra height was worthwhile and it has fairly good clearance and of course is much cheaper than a 4x4 which isn't necessary in Kruger.
From the driver's seat it was good for photography but I was on my own so I can't comment on the back seats.
It didn't have bad fuel consumption either.
Have a great trip!

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saraf
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Re: Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby saraf » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:27 pm

We've had a couple of Avanza's and been really pleased with them. The height is almost as good as an SUV but we found the fuel consumption to be far superior on the Avanza.

I've managed quite well photographing from the front passenger seat. Never tried the back, sorry.

Some photos to give you an idea of size

Image
PM08 by Sara Accomm, on Flickr

Image
Skukuza07 by Sara Accomm, on Flickr

Image
LS08 by Sara Accomm, on Flickr
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cheetahlady
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Re: Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby cheetahlady » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:04 am

Thank you Granjan & Sara for your quick feedback. :gflower:

There are 3 of us, so it looks to be big enough. Do either of you know if you can open the back windows? We once had a Mercedes van and the only windows that opened were the front two. Made it tough for anyone not sitting in front.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better
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Sheenaugh-Lee
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Re: Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby Sheenaugh-Lee » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:15 am

As far as I know the avanza's back windows can open but hey if you want to make doubly sure before booking the car ask the rental company to verify it for you
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saraf
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Re: Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby saraf » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:44 am

If you use the middle row of seats yes, they open but the ones for the third row I don't think so.
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Re: Anyone hired a Toyota Avanza?

Unread postby Peregrine Falcon » Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:53 pm

Hi cheetahlady,hired an avanza last sept for KNP trip and thought it was great.
Plenty of room,just SO and I,fairly comfortable and if I remember correctly rear windows go right down so ok for photographers.SO always travels in the rear seats so she can slide across seat to whichever side the action is happening.Third row of seats does not have opening windows.Much cheaper to hire than a 4x4 and much better fuel consumption.

Hope this helps.

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SEPTEMBER 2014
4/5 - Berg-en-Dal
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car rental for Kruger

Unread postby barbaraburke » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:12 pm

We will be driving to Kruger April 19, returning to the airport April 28. Three of us: me, my husband, and an adult son. I am having a hard time deciding about a rental car. If we choose manual transmission, there are more choices. My husband is comfortable with manual, I last drove a manual transmission car about 8 years ago, and our son has never driven anything but automatic. I think I've found an affordable toyota avanza, but it is manual; in automatic I am looking at a Chevy Aveo, Nissan Tiida, Toyota Avensis, or Chevrolet Cruz (all these are "or similar"). Should I play it safe and stick with automatic or can we all get comfortable with manual pretty quickly? I think our son would be a fast learner. But if we run into elephants on the road and have to react quickly, maybe that would be a mistake.

Thanks for any advice!

Barbara Hubbard

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Sheenaugh-Lee
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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby Sheenaugh-Lee » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:32 pm

Hi Barbara

Welcome to the forums :)

Well honestly from my point of view if I were you Id stick to an automatic vehicle for the following reasons
1. 2 out of 3 are more comfortable with an automatic vehicle and yes it could be easy to learn but as you said what about an ellie sighting if he does get agro do you really want to be struggling with gears your barely comfortable with at a time like that?
2. Automatic is way more comfortable to drive in the park less gear up and down every 5 seconds than with a manual

well those are my opinions the choice still lies in your hands but that's what I would do
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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby Stark » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:36 pm

Hi Barbara!

The first time I went to KNP we got a manual transmission and it wasn't a very difficult transition. I've had manual transmissions in my cars in the past, but it's been awhile. It took more time for me to remember to drive on the left. :tongue: We stayed mostly in the park and only left a few times, so me shifting into 5th when I was trying for 3rd wasn't a big issue. :)

The next trip we rented an automatic and we spent more time outside of the park. Personally, I preferred having an automatic when I was driving the busy (and sometimes chaotic) roads outside of KNP, and I liked driving along in the park without a care in the world...including what to do when we had to reverse quickly from angry ellies. We rented an automatic Kia Sportage and it was a very nice ride.

I know that many people will tell visitors to save money and get the cheapest car they can, but I'm of the opposite opinion. I spend nearly every waking moment in the car, out in the park, and I want to be comfortable and have enough room for my family, our "stuff", and my cameras at the ready.

It's worth the investment to get the vehicle that will make you most comfortable. 8)
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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby threedogs » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:46 am

Aside from the manual/auto decision. Your other consideration is really purely space and comfort. All the normal stuff you look for when you buy a car like fuel consumption etc is not really relevant as you only want it for a short time and for a specific purpose.

With three adults space is really important. Not just luggage but you will have groceries, snacks, drinks, books/maps, cameras etc etc. I like to get a car which has room and lots of storage nooks and crannies to put odd things in!
The other thing is the model and how the windows are designed. The more visual you have the better.
I suggest you Google some of the models that the hire car companies are offering so you have an idea what they look like and the features they have. As you have noticed, you can't be guaranteed a specific model but usually those in a 'Group' have similar features. The cars you are looking at are all fairly standard size sedans. We hired a similar size one last year and for just the two of us we had it fairly full of 'stuff'!
The Avanza would be much roomier but the trade off is the manual gearbox! I would do some more enquiries with the hire car companies as to what other models in auto are available.
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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby barbaraburke » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:13 pm

This is so complicated! I found a Toyota Avanza with automatic transmission with Europcar; it's more expensive than we originally planned to spend, but affordable. But now I am worried because although their web site says that international drivers licenses are required only when the customer's driver's license is in an unfamiliar language or alphabet, when I clicked on special conditions for South Africa, it said that international licenses are required. We don't have them and I don't think we can get them here in France.

I've written to Europcar; I hope they answer soon.

Barbara

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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby Hugh » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:28 pm

My daughter has just been in SA over christmas and she has a belgium drivers licence.. her SA one expired a while ago and she had no troubole hiring a car from a well known car hire firm . I think the problem lies in when you have a licence in a language like chinese , japanese , greek etc I will ask my SIL who is french what the case in there .. Probabaly only get him on line tomorrow though .
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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby threedogs » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:50 pm

Have done tonnes of trips to South Africa and other southern african countries and have never been asked for an international license as ours is in English (this also included Europcar). Don't worry, I am sure you will be fine and the auto Toyota Avanza will be perfect! :thumbs_up:
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Re: car rental for Kruger

Unread postby Stark » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:19 pm

I always get an international drivers license, and I did produce it once when a Limpopo police office pulled us out of queue and asked for my paperwork. I also handed him my Arizona drivers license at the same time, so I can't say if one would have been fine. :)

I understand that one isn't needed, but I prefer to have one for the peace of mind.
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