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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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Unread post by cookie » Thu May 24, 2007 2:22 am

Does anyone know if we have to pay more to enter the National Parks driving a Caravelle, TDi or Vito - classified as minicabs?
no worries!

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Unread post by Wild-doc » Thu May 24, 2007 7:08 am

Hi Cookie

No you don't have to pay more because of a bigger car.
You still just pay the normal fee per person, hence a bigger car containing more peolple will cost more than a sedan with say 4 occupants.

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Fri May 25, 2007 12:54 pm

There is no cost for a vehicle any more, just the daily individual conservation fee unless you have a wild card.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Unread post by Jose » Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:31 am

Just a tiny word of caution re: AutoEurope (and other rental companies). After all the recommendations through various forumites, I decided to give AR a go for next trip.
And yes, it's true: their rates are excellent, but don't ask them anything else (or maybe you should...).
Here's a quote from their email to me (received about an hour ago):
AutoEurope wrote:Unfortunately, the vehicle would not be permitted to travel on untarred/dirt/gravel roads.

The booking involved a 2x4 (!) to be collected at Skukuza, Kruger National Park (!). Driving on dirt roads not allowed?? Ja, right.

I suppose this could be a typical example of the answer depending on whom you ask, but still... I will continue to take my business elsewhere.

Bert, haven't you had a similar experience with a car rental company in SA once? Sorry, don't remember the firm's name...

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Unread post by arks » Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:42 am

Jose, that is VERY strange! I have recently made 3 different RSA reservations with AutoEurope and there is NO such restriction on my emailed rental voucher. Did you book, or just send an email enquiry?

I've been using AutoEurope for RSA car rentals since 2000 (in 2000 for KNP and Cape Town; in 2006 for Cape Town and KNP; and this year for KNP, KTP, and Cape Town) and have had NO problems, and no such restrictions. In 2000, I had to replace a tyre after I had a puncture and destroyed it and the wheel, no problems with Avis at Phalaborwa. And last year, when the local supplier that AutoEurope was using was National/Alamo, I again had no problems with getting a replacement when the electric window jammed, probably due to dust from driving on gravel roads.

I believe that whomever emailed you may be giving you misinformation and from my personal experience, plus my three current bookings with AutoEurope, I believe that you have been misinformed. If you're more comfortable with going with another company, that's fine, but I really do believe that you'll be fine with AutoEurope and the local RSA companies (this year I have Avis for KNP and KTP, National/Alamo for CT) that they use.

A question: Are you booking at ? I see that there are different international sites too, and perhaps the problem arises there? I've had a look at the contacts page both at the US site and the NL site, each has an email link for the reservations manager. Perhaps you might try emailing both? (You can say that a satisfied US customer of AE has recommended that you contact their US res manager — since AE is a US company, you may get your best answer there?)

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that you're encountering problems and confusion with AutoEurope as I've always had excellent results using them, and thus always felt confident in recommending them. If their policies differ with the various international subdivisions (or whatever they are), it will be useful to know that.

And if you'd like me to telephone them at their head office in Maine, I'll be happy to do that. Just let me know!
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Unread post by Elsa » Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:47 am

Budget Rental are also fine with gravel road driving as we always use them when we fly to the various national parks.

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Unread post by richardharris » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:26 am

X-trails and similar are great for two people plus baggage, cameras etc. Four will be cramped - and if its only a week you are probably going else where as well so may need those bigger bags.

Trouble is car hire companies are a bit of a ripoff but I would recommend something like the Caravelle. These will be very comfortable with 4 plus room to move and hold your baggage. Great drive as well.


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Unread post by sammylou » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:45 am

We're staying in KNP for 5 days next Feb, staying Satara and Roodewaal. There will be 4 adults and a child in a car seat (2 1/2), my father, his wife and her son are coming in their own car. What sort of car would be best for us, we were looking at a Nissan X-trail, how big are these? other options would be Vauxhall (Opel?) Zafira, we drive one of these in the UK and it's plenty big enough for 5 people also big enough to set the child free in the back :lol: . Or do we go the whole hog and hire a Landrover?

We will be driving too and from Jo'burg.

Thanks Sam

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Unread post by Stoffel » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:23 pm

I believe either the X-Trail or the Zafira will be fine for your needs. Except if you plan some 4x4 activities, a Land Rover will not be necessary.

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Unread post by simonb6 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:28 am

I think the gravel road thing is a bit of a red herring - except for the specific 4x4 trails, AFAIK all the gravel roads in the parks are unrestricted public roads. Certainly the only restriction I can find on the Avis SA website, for example, is that the vehicles can only be driven on roads "suitable for the vehicle".

I can't see anyone trying to claim that a gravel road is insuitable for an X-Train (or even for a Nissan Micra, as Arks can testify!).

Obviously the rental company has the fnal say, but I've driven rental cars from Hertz, Avis and National in the KNP and none of them objected to gavel roads.
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Unread post by mabidally » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:24 pm

Hi guys n thanks for the replies.

Simon, thanks for the reaasurance on Hertz and driving on Kruger gravel roads. I guess no one will be so silly to rent a car for Kruger and be restricted from driving on the approved non tarred roads. But then again we all know how the rental companies and beauracracy works these days so since I have so many more months before I go to Kruger it will be best to veryfy. I have emailed Hertz in SA and awaiting their reply. I do prefer to hire from them directly because they being a big well known company with lots of locations etc should have better back up in case of breakdowns etc. Reliability is something I don't mind paying a few bucks extra for.

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Kruger Official Statement

Unread post by Kalburgi » Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:37 pm

Hey Guys

There seems to be lack of clarity reg rental companies accepting driving on dirt roads in Kruger.

Moderators or Kruger spokesperson: Since Kruger gives so much business to the big Car Rental companies, it may be worthwhile pursuing a common understanding that will benefit everyone even if it involves a special Kruger driving 'pass' or 'waiver' or something that is universally accepted by all rental companies.

Just a thought if someone wants to pursue this.

I'll be there Nov for 5 days.

Diners Club also said they do not cover on non-tar roads.


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Unread post by richardharris » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:49 pm

I definitely think the Park's Board should approach the hire companies about this. Firstly most people do not need a 4*4 even in the summer; this would surely be covered for gravel roads but costs considerably more.

Secondly, insurance and hire costs should be less in the Park. OK the cars will need a good clean but what are the chances of an accident or having a car stolen. Virtually nil compared to J'burg etc.


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Response from SANPARKS received

Unread post by Kalburgi » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:11 pm

Here is the response I received.I hope this helps all at least with AVIS :

"I have been in contact with Avis Skukuza and they (Lynne) have indicated
that their cover is for all KNP driving, irrespective of surface of
roads. Any negligence, on any surface is dealt with accordingly. I am
not aware of any problems or complaints in this regard from any guests.
With Avis being our contracted vehicle rental for SANParks, I do not see
this as an issue that requires any further intervention from our side.
The contract is not exclusive in that any rental company may deliver
vehicles and provide a service for their guests in the park/s. I can
well assume that driving on gravel outside KNP would be a higher risk
and incidence of breakdowns and that renting guests are discouraged from
using such roads.


General Manager, Tourism Operations
South African National Parks 8/29/2007 "

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Unread post by p@m » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:07 pm

Mabidally -- the biggest difference is that the Tiida is a sedan car while the Xtrail is an SUV. We hired an Xtrail in Sept and were very happy with it. For Kruger, we especially didn't want a sedan because we wanted the extra height above tall grass level for game viewing. As far as comfort, passenger space & luggage space are concerned, they are probably much the same. Hope that answers your question.

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