COVID-19 Travel Restrictions In South Africa: What International Visitors Need To Know


COVID-19 in South Africa has changed the way we operate in many ways, especially when it comes to travel. 

The new Level 1 adjusted restrictions have maintained the closure of the 33 land borders but the curfew has been changed to now be from 00h00 until 04h00. The most important rule to remember is that mask wearing is mandatory for every person in a public space, including retail stores and in public transport.

Not wearing a mask in South Africa during this lockdown period is a criminal offence, and you will be subject to an arrest and liable for a fine of R1.500 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both a fine and imprisonment.

What Are The Travel Limitations During Lockdown In South Africa?

During the current adjusted Level 1 lockdown, there is a curfew from 00h00 until 04h00, unless you are attending to an emergency or have a permit to travel during these times, or traveling to or from an airport. 

Interprovincial travel is allowed, which means you can explore all areas of our beautiful country with ease, but it is important to avoid spending too much time in the hotspots, as listed here

The closing times for restaurants are now 23h00 to allow for cleaning and staff departure. You may need to book activities ahead of time, and be sure to arrive and leave well ahead of the curfew times. 

In terms of border control, the new travel restrictions in South Africa mean that the 20 land ports of entry that are currently open will remain open.

What Are The International Travel Regulations?

If you are visiting from another country, there are some travel restrictions in South Africa you need to keep in mind.

According to international travel restrictions, the following airports will be open: O.R. Tambo, Cape Town International, King Shaka International Airport, Lanseria International Airport, and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. 

All of the commercial seaports will remain open and small crafts will be allowed entry into seaports, provided they remain in-line with all health and border law enforcement protocols.

Travelers entering South Africa must provide a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival in the country. You will also be screened when you arrive.

If you show COVID-19 symptoms, you will be required to take a test, and if your test is positive, you will be quarantined for 10 days at a designated facility. You must also provide proof of accommodation should you need to self-quarantine upon arrival. 

When leaving South Africa, you will be screened. The test results will determine whether you can leave the country. If you have tested positive, you will need to self-isolate, either at your own private residence or a designated location. 

Long-term visas will luckily be reinstated, and South African visa application centres abroad will be opened.

What Are The New Lockdown Regulations?

The new Alert Level 1 lockdown adjusted regulations, which were put in place on Monday the 1st of March 2021, still allow you to enjoy our beautiful country if you abide by them. 

All faith-based, religious, social, political and cultural gatherings are once again permitted. The maximum number of people allowed at a gathering is 100 people indoors or 250 people outdoors. If the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with social distancing, no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used. 

The sale of alcohol is permitted according to normal licence provisions, however, no alcohol can be sold during the hours of curfew.

All beaches, dams, lakes, rivers, public parks, and public swimming pools are open to the public, and you can enjoy the stunning scenery of South Africa by planning a self-drive safari through our numerous game parks and reserves

Botanical gardens and parks that have access control are still open to the public.You can enjoy a stroll around Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens or drive to Table Mountain National Park to enjoy the rugged scenery.

What Do The Different Levels Entail?

The different lockdown levels in South Africa can have an impact on how you can enjoy the country. Below we take a look at what they mean and how they differ.

Lockdown Level 1:

All travel from the African continent and from countries outside of Africa, with a low rate of infection and transmission, will resume. There is no domestic travel ban and interprovincial travel is permitted.The land borders will remain closed.

Travellers must provide a valid certificate for a negative test not older than 72 hours before the date of travel. If you cannot provide this certificate, you will need to quarantine at your own cost. 

All commercial seaports are open, but international travel is limited to the following airports:

  • OR Tambo International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport
  • Cape Town International Airport
  • Lanseria International Airport
  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

All people must wear a mask at social gatherings and while out in public, and you must adhere to the other health protocols in place. Recreational gatherings are limited to 250 people or less for an indoor event, and 500 people or less for an outdoor gathering. 

Sports grounds and fields are limited to 100 people or less for an indoor gathering, and 250 people or less for an outdoor gathering, and museums, galleries, and libraries are open for up to 100 people or less, which means you are able to look at car hire in Cape Town to visit exciting historical sites. 

Restaurants, taverns, and bars are operational with a limit of a maximum of 100 people inside, and the onsite consumption and sale of alcohol is permitted. All hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts, and guest houses are allowed to operate at full capacity of the available rooms, with guests maintaining a distance of one and a half metres while in common areas. 

The curfew is from 00h00 until 04h00.

Lockdown Level 2:

Interprovincial travel is permitted but international leisure travel is prohibited. Domestic air travel is allowed, but all passengers will be screened and tested. 

Beaches, museums, galleries, and public parks are open to the public, but the wearing of a mask while using these facilities and while out in public is mandatory. 

Theatres, concerts, and live performances are open to the public with a limit of 50 people while maintaining strict health protocols, which is great news for the outdoor music events that are popular in South Africa.

Sporting events are allowed without spectators, but this is still good news for sports fans as you can find videos of the events to watch and enjoy while on your South African adventure. 

For those who want to stay locally, all accommodation and tour operations are open but are subject to restrictions on the number of persons allowed, which is not more than 50% of the available floor space.

The curfew is from 22h00pm until 04h00am.

Lockdown Level 4:

Regarding travel restrictions in level 4, all borders remain closed, except for the transportation of cargo, goods, and fuel. No recreational visits are allowed during this time period and food from restaurants is only available for delivery. 

Public parks, sports grounds and fields, beaches and swimming pools, flea markets, night clubs,

casinos, hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, airbnbs, timeshare facilities, guest houses, private and public game reserves (except to house remaining tourists who are confined due to lockdown) are all closed to the public. 

All people must wear a mask while out in public, and adhere to the other health protocols.

The curfew is from 20h00 until 05h00.

Lockdown Level 5:

Only essential services are allowed to operate. Taxis, public transport, and private vehicles may only operate during certain hours of the day and with a limited passenger capacity. 

No interprovincial travel is allowed, except for transportation of goods or for funerals and work purposes. All people must wear a mask while out in public, and adhere to the other health protocols.

What Has This Meant For Car Hire?

For many car hire companies in South Africa, the hardest lockdown damaged their income significantly. This was because many non-essential companies were forced to stop operating, leading to bookings cancelled for both business and leisure. Many car hire companies had to waive cancellations fees, too.

The tourism industry suffered greatly, but thankfully, the new adjusted travel restrictions in level 3 have meant that people can once again explore South Africa and book a car hire in Cape Town, Johannesburg, or even Durban to experience the beauty of our country. 

Adhering to the rules of the lockdown in South Africa, whether you are local or visiting, is vital and will ensure your trip does not hit any obstacles.


Understanding the different lockdown levels in South Africa will help to make your journey easier and run smoothly. 

For when you are able to travel easily around South Africa, contact Star Car Rental today for our options.

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

How To Plan A Self-Drive Safari In South Africa

South Africa has a diverse range of flora and fauna for visitors to enjoy and one exciting way to see the sights of our wilderness is through a self-drive safari that puts you in the driver’s seat, literally. 

As exciting as a self-drive safari in South Africa might sound, it is important to plan it correctly so you see the most animals and scenery possible, and so that you have the best off-road car rental options available for the trip. Here we give some top tips for planning a self-drive safari experience of a lifetime.

What Is A Self-Drive Safari?

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

First things first, a self-drive safari is a safari or game drive that allows you to drive yourself and your family around the park or game reserve. The Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are popular choices, but you will need to look for a 4×4 for rent to tackle some of the more difficult roads and trails. 

The benefit is that you control the amount of time spent at each stop off point. Image this: on a game drive with a group of people, if you spot a pride of lions with their cubs, you will stay and enjoy the scene for a while until the guide decides it is time to move on…but you may have preferred to stay for longer and watch the lion cubs play.

On a self-drive safari with an off-road car rental, you are in control of how long you spend in certain areas and where you go. So, how do you plan this exciting adventure? Keep reading for our top tips.

How To Plan A Self-Drive Safari In South Africa?

Look For A 4x4 For Rent

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

Before you start plotting your route around Kruger National Park or Addo Elephant National Park, you need to look at off-road car rental or what 4×4 rental options are available. 

Using a two-wheel drive might be ideal for town driving, but a self-drive safari needs a sturdier vehicle, especially if you will be exploring game reserves that have inaccessible roads. You might miss out on viewing spots that are harder to reach with a normal car, which could mean missing out on some stunning scenery and animals.

Wake Up Early

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

A self-drive safari in South Africa is no time to be sleeping in and having lazy breakfasts. To see some animals in their prime, such as lions, you need to arrive before the sun is at its peak, as these predators are most active when the weather is cooler and the sun is lower in the sky. 

It is important to note that the gates of some nature reserves and game parks open very early, with the Kruger National Park opening at 4:30 am. With a 4×4 rental car to power your safari, this early morning start will be smooth sailing. The roads will also be quieter at these early times, which means that a self-drive safari will not be interrupted by guided tours.

Remember To Drive Slowly

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

A safari that you are in charge of should be something to remember, so it is important to drive slowly in your 4×4 rental, despite the power and speed of the vehicle. Not only will this allow you to see the animals and plants properly, but it is a requirement in many national parks. 

You should aim to drive at about 30 to 40km/h in the park, spending time concentrating on any movement or objects that are not bushes or shrubs, as some animals can be camouflaged by surrounding bush. This will allow you to stop in time for animals to cross the road easily, and for the designated photographer to snap some memorable pictures.

Fuel Up Fully

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

With the exception of the Kruger National Park, not many safari parks or game reserves offer internal fuelling stations. If there are stations inside the park, they are usually far apart, which could lead to a half-full tank becoming an empty tank quite quickly.

You will need to make sure that your tank is full before you head off to spot lions, rhinoceroses, and elephants. When it comes to car hire in Cape Town, car rental companies will always fill the vehicles as much as possible, to where the fuel can physically be seen in the pipe, to avoid disputes about how “full” the tank is.

Make Sure You Have Insurance

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

As with any journey, you will need to make sure that you have insurance for your off-road car rental vehicle. For example, you might find that some damage has been caused to the 4×4 for hire you have been using and that you are now liable for damages reaching exorbitant amounts. 

Star Car Rental offers the lowest excesses and, in some cases, zero excess for international visitors. We also provide clear, accurate insurance quotations that specify what exactly is covered and the cost to cover any item not generally covered, making us one of the more affordable car rental companies in Cape Town.

Enjoy The Adventure

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

One of the most important tips to remember when planning a self-drive safari in South Africa is to have fun. Start by book a 4×4 for the rougher terrain, and remember to include insurance in the quote. Wake up early for your safari and drive slowly so you don’t miss anything.

Keep your rental car fully fuelled and enjoy the adventure. Be sure to take only photographs and leave only footprints. Speak to Star Car Rental today for our off-road vehicle options.


How To Evaluate Car Rental Quotations

When you are looking at car hire in Cape Town, or in fact any other province, it can be difficult to sift through the quotes you will receive from the numerous car rental companies available in South Africa.

Unfortunately, many car hire quotes provide minimal details, so you need to check what the price includes. You might find some quotes that offer unlimited kilometres, a Theft and Loss Waiver and a Collision Damage Waiver. It is also important to ensure that the quotes include VAT (Value Added Tax).

However, you should also look at what the car rental quotes do not include. Below we discuss how you can effectively evaluate car hire quotes to choose what best suits your needs.

What Damage Coverage Is Included?


Car hire tyre damage and windscreen damage are the most common issues that occur. These are common issues. Ensure that you obtain cover for this as most quotes exclude this. Depending on the vehicle you have hired, this can cost you money that you have not budgeted for. Having this coverage can help you avoid any liability for accidental damages caused to the glass or tyres of the rental car.

Car hire windscreen damage covers the windscreen. The vehicle’s tyres are also covered, which help in any emergency situations. Windscreen damage cover is generally excluded from cover unless specifically included.

How Much Is The Waiver?


Often, people discover too late that in case of an accident, the waiver can be as high as R10, 000 and higher, in some instances. This is a difficult figure to obtain from some companies, especially if you are comparing automated car rental quotes. 

The car hire waiver will differ from company to company. While most offer full insurance, especially to inbound travellers, it is important to keep in mind that this full insurance only means that the highest waiver is offered. 

There are exclusions you should check, such as an accident not being caused by you physically hitting something, any undercarriage damage that might be caused by your journey, or even negligence from the driver.

What Is The Third Party Damage Coverage?


Third party damage covers you for damages and personal injury to a third party. It is included in most car rental quotes, but it is difficult to gain a clear picture when booking online. This can lead to a significant financial shock should you be involved in an accident while driving the rental car.

You must be sure to ask the car rental company for a full list of what is covered to be financially prepared. For example, you might find yourself in an accident where you have hit another car from behind, but due to the exclusions in your contract with the car rental company, you are liable for the damage to the rental vehicle and the other vehicle.

How Old Are The Car Rental Models?


This is important to consider, especially if you will be driving longer distances. You will need a newer car model rather than an older one for this type of journey. Many car rental companies in South Africa have models that are no older than six to nine months old, with only 50000 kilometers driven.

Make sure that you ask for the age of the vehicles on offer, as some companies may not disclose this online. A two-year-old rental car, for example, might have a high mileage on it, which could also lead to wear and tear on the vehicle.  However, from November onwards, many car rental companies will re-fleet, which means that many of the cars are brand new.

What Deposit Will I Pay?


It is vital to find out, before you arrive for your South African adventure, how much you will pay for your deposit. Ask exactly how much you require on your credit card before taking delivery, so that you are not caught unawares. Some car rental quotes will only show the deposit at the end of the quote, which can cause issues with budgeting for a trip.

Your deposit will be refunded when you have returned the car refuelled, and it has been fully checked by the car rental company. This Is provided that you have not incurred any charges or caused any damage to the vehicle during your trip.

What Is The Cancellation Policy?


Another vital aspect to consider when looking at car hire quotes is what the cancellation policy is. For Star Car Rental’s standard vehicles, provided that the vehicle is cancelled by email at least 24 hours before your arrival, there is no cancellation fee.

Some cancellation policies need at least 24 to 48 hours of notice, so that there is no loss of revenue on their side. You might find that luxury vehicle rental is a bit stricter, needing up to one week of notice to avoid cancellation fees. Always read the fine print and make sure you have left yourself enough time to cancel plans so that you and the car rental company are not left with financial difficulties.

Final Verdict

Choosing the right car rental company for your needs should never be an instant decision. Look at what is included in the quotations you receive to make the right call. The damage coverage, waiver, and the third-party damage coverage are all vital components to consider. 

Also look at the age of the vehicles on offer, the deposit you will pay and the cancellation policy. If you would like to rent a car for an exciting adventure around South Africa, speak to Star Car Rental today for our offers.

Chapmans peak drive with ocean and mountain view in Cape Town.

The Best Day Trip Locations In South Africa

Exploring our beautiful country is something that everyone should try once in a while. We have an abundance of stunning scenery to enjoy and some unique locations that have something for everyone to enjoy. 

Whether you are interested in day trip locations in Cape Town, or exciting day trips around Durban or Johannesburg, there are plenty of stops to choose from. And, if you opt for car hire in Cape Town to drive from province to province, you will save money and wear and tear on your own car. 

Now that we are able to travel between provinces again, you can explore some unique road trip locations in South Africa. Below we give just a few ideas of fun day trips for the whole family.

Kruger National Park


The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most well-known national parks, among visitors and locals alike. It covers an enormous area of land of almost 19,485 square kilometres. If you are based in Johannesburg, it is an easy drive to this nature-lover’s paradise.  

Here you can experience the true wilderness of South Africa and see the Big Five game animals: lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards, as well as African wild dogs and even ground hornbills.

Sterkfontein Caves


The Sterkfontein Caves can be found nearby the Maropeng Visitor Centre, and can easily be visited during a day trip from Johannesburg. These ancient caves are part of a broader Cradle Of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Inside the Sterkfontein Caves, many profound archaeological and historical discoveries have been made, including some of the earliest human remains. If you or anyone in your family is a history buff, this is sure to be a truly exciting journey.

Bo Kaap


The Bo Kaap is one of the most popular day trip locations in Cape Town, and if you opt for a budget car hire package, you can explore the surrounding areas and immerse yourself in the Cape Malay culture. In the Bo Kaap, you will find stunning, rainbow-coloured heritage houses, making for a very Instagrammable day out. 

You can spend the day on a Bo Kaap walking tour, learning more about the various heritage sites in the area, or even attend a Cape Malay cooking class. If you are new to Cape Town, a day trip to the Bo Kaap should be at the top of your to-do list to learn more about this colourful province.



Hermanus has some of the most breathtaking beach scenery in the Western Cape Province, and is ideal for those who enjoy whale and dolphin watching. The coast of Hermanus is untouched, and it is one of the more popular road trip locations in South Africa. 

You can look into car hire in Cape Town to make the journey to hermanus easier, and be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy after a day’s worth of exploring and driving. You can choose from a whale-watching boat tour or sit on the shore and look out into the azure blue of the see to spot a while or dolphin.



Prefer the slower, more laid-back road trip locations in South Africa? Book a budget car hire in Cape Town and spend the day driving to and around Franschhoek. The drive to this quaint Winelands town is, in itself, full of gorgeous scenery and the town is picture-perfect. 

Here you can taste delicious French cheeses and handmade chocolates, as well as purchase  a sumptuous selection of local wines. There is also a regular Saturday market and a diverse range of cafes to choose from for breakfast or lunch. Franschhoek is great for families and friends alike who want a more relaxed and indulge day trip.

The Drakensberg Region


If you are looking for day trips from Durban, driving to the Drakensberg region to explore the mountain range is a perfect choice. The area has some of the most incredible vistas in the province, including waterfalls, rock pools, caves, and grasslands. 

You could drive to a few stop off points on this day trip, ranging from unique cafes to short hiking trails. Be sure to choose the warmer months for this day trip, as during winter it can become extremely cold. Summer months make for stunning sunrises and sunsets for memorable day trips.

Become A Tourist In Your Own Country

South Africa has some of the most truly beautiful destinations in the world, and with a budget car rental, you can explore those closest to you on a fun and exciting day trip. From mysterious caves to untouched beaches, you are sure to find road trip locations in South Africa to meet the needs of even the most discerning of travelers. 

If you would like to start planning your next day trip, speak to Star Car Rental about our affordable car hire in Cape Town options.

car rental fuel policy

South African Car Rental Fuel Policy

A common complaint from South African car rental customers is that they are charged for fuel top ups after having just filled the vehicle on return. The most common reason for this car rental fuel policy is the following:

1. There is a difference between a garage full tank and a car rental full tank:

Gas stations or petrol garages traditionally fill to what is known as the first click when the nozzle automatically switches off. Car rental companies on the other hand always fill the vehicles to brimful when the fuel can physically be seen in the pipe. The reason for this is to avoid any disputes as to what is “full” The difference between first click and brimful can be quite a few litres depending on the vehicle. When filling yourself always let the garage attendant fill to brim or just as it overflows to be certain. 

2. If your car is fetched from you, your car will need to be filled up again.

Fuel and mileage are measured depot to depot. This means that if your car is collected from you at any other place then it is topped up when it gets back to the depot and the kilometer reading is taken at that point.

3. A full Gauge does not always mean a full tank

Another common misconception is that if the fuel gauge shows full it means the tank is full. The gauge is very misleading and visually while showing full could well in reality need several litres to top up the tank.

For more car rental FAQ’s please visit our Car Rental Frequently Asked Questions section.