The learn-to-drive budget South African guide

The learn-to-drive budget South African guide

Posted by Megan MacDonald on 18 Dec 2023

Suzuki Ciaz in motion


There are many things for differently-abled drivers to consider when choosing an adaptive vehicle. We’ve listed the different types of adaptations drivers can get, as well as some tips for what to look for when choosing the best car to suit your needs.

Learning to drive is exciting, but also confusing if you don’t know where to start, what to expect, and how much it’s all going to cost. We’ve compiled a handy guide to help you through the process.

Estimated reading time:  4 minutes, 44 seconds

The admin and expense side of getting your driver’s license can seem even more complicated than memorising road signs. 

So, if you’re an aspiring petrolhead just itching to get on the road, remember that with a little research and patience you can map out the steps and costs you will need to acquire that all-important document.

We’ve compiled pricing and best practices from around the country that should help make things easier and get you on the road as soon as possible.

1. The Learner’s

Your first step is getting your learner’s license as you can’t practice driving or go for driving lessons without it.

Before you start booking slots and filling in forms, we suggest you get hold of the correct study material. There is a lot to go through and you want to start as soon as possible.

AutoTrader has a fantastic section where you can download study guides and watch videos on driving and parking tips. You should also download Suzuki’s user-friendly study guide.

Top Tip: The official K53 Learner’s and Driver’s books are regularly updated, so make sure you have the most recent version. Don’t risk using an outdated copy! You can order the books or download the K53 App to make sure you have the updated version. 

Cost: K53 manual on Takealot is R79. The App costs R39.99 in the Apple store / Google Play.


  • Start by reading the instructions on the official government page and downloading and completing the relevant forms.
  • This link will guide you on where and how you can book a time slot for your Learner’s test, including links to relevant testing centres across the country where you can book.
  • The FundiConnect site also has an updated list of all test centres around the country.
  • If you’re based in Gauteng, you should book a slot for your Learner’s License test here: https://online.natis.gov.za/#/
  • Western Cape also has a dedicated link.

Top Tip: if you can’t find an official testing centre near you we suggest contacting a local driving school as they usually have the most up-to-date information.

Learner License Application costs

Application costs may vary and change across provinces, so double-check before you go to make sure you have the correct amount.

The currents costs are:

Province Booking fee Issuance fee 

  • Northern Cape R85 R50 
  • Northwest R95 R55 
  • Western Cape R95 R55 
  • Gauteng R95 R55 
  • Free State R95 R55 
  • KwaZulu-Natal R95 R65 
  • Mpumalanga R120 R55 
  • Limpopo R135 R35 
  • Eastern Cape R162 R51 

Packaged solutions for your Learner’s License

If you think you need more help, or don’t want to do all of the admin yourself, you can opt for a ‘Learner’s license package’. These services are run by private companies and they will assist you with sourcing the correct study material, help you do some practice tests, make your booking, and even drive you to-and-from your test on the day. 

These can be very handy, but you need to be very careful when selecting a company. Research them online, check whether they have any negative reports on Hello Peter, and speak to people who have made use of these companies for advice. 

The average cost for one lesson, assistance with booking and transport to and from the test ranges from R1200 to R2000.

Top Tip: Speak to people who have recently done their Learner’s or Driver’s license through a driving school to ensure you work with a legitimate company.

2. The driver’s license

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a friend or family member’s vehicle - and they’re willing to let you practice - you should jump at the opportunity. Many people fail their driver’s license because they simply don’t feel comfortable and confident behind the wheel.

Practicing the basics such as shifting gears, clutch control, reversing, checking mirrors and knowing how much brake force to apply at what time will go a long way in getting you comfortable with driving. 

And yes, we have to say it: only practice with a licensed driver in the car with you and in safe areas such as quiet parking lots or roads. You want to take this time to get used to the act of driving, not dodging other vehicles.

Warning: not everyone is a brilliant driver and it’s easy to pick up bad habits from others. The K53 test is extremely rigid with very specific methods and if you don’t learn those methods you won’t pass your exam.

If you can’t afford hours upon hours of driving lessons we suggest you take at least one or two and make sure all your practice follows the methods they show you.

Top Tip: There are plenty of K53 driving videos online and while you can’t learn how to drive just by watching videos, you can note the specific K53 requirements to practice in your own time. This might cut down on the number of lessons you’ll need.

Driving lessons costs

The cost of driving lessons vary, so it is worth shopping around to see where you find the best deal. But, as mentioned above, be aware of scammers and make sure you are booking with a legitimate K53 driving school.

Example costs (averages taken from a number of driving schools around the country.)

Single one-hour lesson R150 - R300

5 lessons + booking + test R1100 - R1600

7 lessons + booking + test R1700 - R2200

10 lessons + booking + test R2300 - R2900

15 lessons + booking + test R3200 - R3700

15 lessons + booking + test R4200 - R5000

Note that most driving schools will charge an additional fee of about R500 if you use one of their vehicles to complete your driver’s test.


There’s no one-size fits all solution for learning to drive and getting your license. Some have access to vehicles so they can practice and others don’t. Some can afford plenty of lessons while others can’t.

The good news is that South Africans are resourceful. So whether you opt for a full package, or one lesson at a time, the advice remains the same: make sure you are dealing with professional driving academies and have access to the correct study material.

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Topics: Driving a car, Education

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