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Car choice/best vehicle/Insurance for Kruger

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iLoveMeerkats!
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Re: Car choice/best vehicle/Insurance for Kruger

Unread postby iLoveMeerkats! » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:45 am

Just as Vinkie, we have reserved a Hyundai ix35 this trip. We also had a Renault Koleos last time and LOVED it.

Stark - I spent quite a bit of time with the kind folks at Avis and went through a special Long Term Rentals office (mini-lease). This was through the US Avis office, not the SA one. If you are renting for 30 days or more, the prices are considerably cheaper than going the regular route. Also, they looked up for me the price of no insurance versus full coverage, and because it was a package deal, it was actually cheaper to take the insurance. Go figure. We are getting the Hyundai for 42 days for about $2200 (dollars) which seems great. Unlimited miles, insurance, the whole thing.

I tried to get the Toyota Fortuner which is an AUTOMATIC, but they claimed it was SOLD OUT. Ratz!

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Stark
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Re: Rental Car Advise for My Kruger Trip

Unread postby Stark » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:50 am

We rented via Europcar from Hoedspruit and had a good experience. Us too were upgraded for free when our X-Trail wasn't available - we were bumped up to a full sized Toyota pickup. :dance:

This last trip we used Hertz in Nelspruit and were surprised to find that they gave us the cheapest rate for a Kia Sportage automatic. I like Hertz, but don't usually use them overseas for the whole price reason. :)

Good luck!
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Re: Rental Car Advise for My Kruger Trip

Unread postby MikeGoss2011 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:35 am

We have never rented "direct" from the rental company, we have always used one of the so called "factors" who have always worked out to be cheaper than the published fares.
Our October trip has us in an Xtrail, from Budget, but we have ordered the car through auto-europe.co.uk/

Good luck and have a great trip

Mike
Last edited by MikeGoss2011 on Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rental Car Advise for My Kruger Trip

Unread postby arks » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:29 pm

I've also used Auto Europe -- this consolidator is actually based in Portland, Maine :wink: (the US URL is autoeurope.com) -- in the past and recommend them. You should certainly at least check their rates before making your final decision.
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Re: Rental Car Advise for My Kruger Trip

Unread postby NicoleCT » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:28 pm

I always use Thrifty at KMIA as I find them cheapest OVERALL. There is cheaper websites but then the excess is much more and I rather pay a little extra and have a lesser excess, if something does happen. One must really compare the fine print properly to see what is the best value for money. I have done this exercise in detail about 5 weeks ago.

Thrifty at KMIA offer great service. I once even forgot my drivers license. As I had booked with them a few times before they still gave me a hire car as they had my details on the computer. I found this excellent service and don't think another hire agency would have done the same.

Thrifty first choice for me.

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Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Travelstory » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:06 pm

So excited to fly directly into the new Skukuza airport! However since my SO and I don't drive stick shifts back in the States and are a bit rusty, (rusty is giving us more credit than we deserve), we want to rent an automatic vehicle but not a car as we will want to traverse many of the dirt roads and sit high in our vehicle. As of today on the Avis sight it says class I which is an auto 4x4 is "temporarily" unavailable.... We are booking for June 2015!!

We have a great nightmare of being on the opposite side of the road and car that we are used to..., shifting with the left hand instead of the right as we are used to and coming across an elephant herd. Can you imagine putting it in 1st instead of reverse in our slight panic...... :big_eyes:

Oh please Avis.... Can we get more automatic vehicle choices.... For our sake and for the sake of your vehicles?

And yes, we will take the super insurance..... :shock:

Dana

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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Hugh » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:39 pm

You donot need a 4X4 for the Kruger roads as a Sedan car will do the same Maybe get an automatic with high clearance and you will be able to see Do not( worry about driving on the right as you drive so slowly in nkruger you have plenty of time to reverse away fromEllies After a few daysd your rain will adgust and you wont hav any problems
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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Elsa » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:28 pm

Hopefully by June next year they will have the Auto 4 x 4's available. :thumbs_up:
but as Hugh has said, even on the dirt roads you don't really need a 4 x 4 and in June the grass is starting to die down and is shorter.
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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Stark » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:46 am

As a fellow American, I shared the same concerns. :gflower:

It's easier than you think in Kruger, and we've had a few reminders that my wife and I worked out.

1) Anytime we'd start driving, she'd simply say "stay to the left" and I'd say "got it". :)

2) Anytime we had to turn onto a road, I'd say "I'm turning right/left, the way is clear, and I'm going to stay to the left" and she'd either agree by saying "yes" (NOT RIGHT!!!) or "no". ;)

3) Our first trip we had a stick shift, and it wasn't too bad. It took a bit of getting used to, but the driving speeds were so slow that it wasn't a problem. Our next trip we had an automatic and, while I liked it, I'm not sure I would bother with the increased expense.

4) For insurance we used our Visa Signature card, which provides primary insurance when you're driving in SA. :dance: It's a great money saver and I highly recommend this route to any travelers from the States.
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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Dabchick » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:13 pm

Cars with automatic transmission are considered a luxury by South African car rental companies - which ticks me off as I hate driving a car with manual transmission, even though I'm a South African! So while you can be reasonably sure to get one at the large centres (e.g. Cape Town and Johannesburg definitely; other large cities e.g. Pretoria, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein, probably) don't assume that there will be one at Skukuza when you get there. Whether you choose to book a sedan or a 4x4 (not necessary but very nice :wink: ), drop the rental company an e-mail a week or so before your arrival to 'remind' them that you will need one with automatic transmission so that they can make sure to have one there ready for you. I once had to drive around with a car that looked (and smelled) about 10 years old because the rental company forgot to have one ready for me - in Cape Town of all places! I didn't ask where they found it - too grateful that I wasn't stuck with a 'stick shift'... Still, I enjoyed that car (a Toyota Corolla model from back when they were still considered 'small sedans') much more than the over-sized Hyundai Elantra's or under-powered Renault Megane's that I usually got from the rental companies when I booked an automatic in those years :lol:

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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Birgitta » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:55 pm

I think you cannot expect a 4x4 with automatic transmission in Skukuza. (Are there any available at all?) You likely have to choose between high clearance and automatic transmission. I would choose automatic since you are rusty with manual shift and have limited experience of left hand traffic (the same for me having had automatic cars since mid 70-ties).

Automatic transmission may not only be important in case of reversing from elephants but it will actually make it smoother to move the car to get closer to animals and birds and to get the best possible angle for your pictures and you can more easily manage chaos at cat sightings.

In order to detect animals in high yellow grass you need experience and very good eye sight. Going for the first time (if that is the case), I don’t think the benefit of a high-clearance car is that great. As said above you will not need it because of the road conditions, with very few exceptions. So you may choose a sedan with automatic transmission.

At my 12th visit to Kruger in May this year I went solo and had to manage driving and taking pictures by myself. I so drove a Toyota Corolla Exclusive Automatic during my KNP trip. It was OK but it had a fan/cooling noise (I believe) when you put in neutral shift at sightings.

I understand your excitement to fly to Skukuza (I did in 2001) but it is also very nice to fly to KMIA/Nelspruit where there are more options for car hire. It is then quite easy to drive to Kruger and possibly shop along the way. One way rental is generally cheap in SA if that would be of interest.

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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:46 pm

Another topic with some pros and cons re a 4 x 4! :wink:

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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby yoda » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:57 pm

I would phone Avis again and check whether the class I (Toyota fortuna) is going to become available again.
I rented one from them this past December (pick up Jhb intl airport)
And have booked one again for this coming December.
It is a great car for the game reserve. But not cheap!

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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby Travelstory » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:08 pm

Thank you all for the information.... Probably should have mentioned this is my... I don't know..., eighth or so trip to Kruger. And I lived in Knysna, SA for over six months so I haven't an issue with driving on the other side of the road and car from us in the States... it's that stick shift thing that has me on edge.

The last trip in a Toyota Avanza rental we were abut jarred silly on the dirt roads.., and probably avoided many of the great gravel roads due to this vehicle. We know - even though it's unfortunate - that we would have to pay a premium for that automatic but it sure would be nice this time to have a 4x4 automatic....

I will call them - great suggestion. I do hope as more people come and request such that it becomes more readily available. I am quite sure there is a demand outside of my little three week trip... in June... of 2015...pprecisely 287 days from today (not that I am counting or anything :think:

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Re: Will I be able to rent an automatic 4x4 at Skukuza?

Unread postby jumbuck » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:52 pm

Avis can do it but good luck with their service. We booked a fortuna 4x2 auto and after a series of misinformation and then giving our car to someone else we actually got given a Fortuna 4x4 auto. Not sure where thay got it from but we are currently driving around the Park in it.
The extra height is a good thing which is why we booked this type of car. Although the 4x4 isn't necessary the extra ground clearance has been a good thing as some of the roads need a bit of work in places. Might be a bit more expensive but for most international visitors the pricing is quite reasonable.


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