Wondering how to travel across South Africa? We are providing you with an overview of the transport network in this article.
On moving to South Africa, whether to work, study or for any other reason, traveling will be part of your everyday life. As the most developed country in all Africa, it hosts a comprehensive transport network including buses, trains, taxis, airplanes, among others. These can take you anywhere across the country at rather affordable rates.
Bus lines are provided across the country by several bus companies. Some lines even link South Africa to neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia and Malawi. In general, prices vary from one season to another. Urban buses are also reliable and cheaper. However, you are advised to avoid traveling by urban buses in the evening.
Major cities also provide the "hop-on, hop-off" coach service, inspired from Anglo-Saxon countries. This concept is quite popular as it goes from one city to another rather rapidly. Bus stops have been set up on all lines so that you can get on and off anywhere you wish. In the case of a group trip, you can even hire a private coach bus.
On the other hand, local coach buses are available in major cities as well as in rural areas. To stop a local coach bus in the street, you just have to make a hand sign. However, make sure to inquire about its destination as local coach buses do not display line or direction signs. In all cases, these vehicles are clean and comfortable.
There are different types of trains in South Africa. In some cases, a train trip can even last for 36 hours.
The shosholoza meyl, for instance, is a long distance line going from Johannesburg to Cape Town and from Durban to Port Elizabeth. These trains provide both a tourist class with berths and an economy class with seats. Tickets generally cost around R 650.
The Premier Classe Train goes from Johannesburg to Cape Town twice a week and to Durban once a month. These trains include compartments with two berths. Meals are also included in the fare. Johannesburg to Durban tickets cost around R 1,050 per person while those from Johannesburg to Cape Town cost R 2,650 per person.
The Blue Train is a high standard line connecting Pretoria to Cape Town. The Rovos Rail, which is quite similar, is even more expensive.
The Metrorail, for its part, is similar to suburban trains, comprising two classes. These are rather cheap trains, thus more accessible. However, by traveling on this line, you will be exposed to risks such as thefts and even assault.
Most South African cities have their own taxi services. Most vehicles are equipped with a meter which indicates the fare per kilometer. Like elsewhere in Africa, you will also find bush taxis known as “black taxis”. These are likely to take on board as many passengers as possible and will start only when full. However, “black taxis” are not recommended for long trips, especially if you are not yet acquainted with the area.
Domestic flights are provided by three major companies, namely South African Airways, SA Airlink and SA Express. You will also find low-cost flights such as Kulula Airlines and Mango providing cheaper trips between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Baz Bus – Hop-on, hop-off service www.bazbus.com
South African Railways southafricanrailways.co.za
Shosholoza Meyl www.shosholozameyl.co.za
Blue Train www.bluetrain.co.za
SA Express www.flyexpress.aero
South African Airways www.flysaa.com
Kulula Airlines www.kulula.com