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Transport in South Africa

The easiest way of getting into South Africa is by air with over 60 international airlines linking the country to the rest of the world. The country’s main international airport is Johannesburg but Cape Town and Durban are continually increasing their number of international flights. A direct flight from New York to Johannesburg will take approximately 17 hours. It is cheaper to incur a stop off in either Europe or Africa than flying direct. Overland options would involve travelling down through Eastern Africa either by bus, train or car.

The country itself has a good network of railway, roads and public transport although the service can be sometimes unreliable and quite expensive. Trains and buses run between all major towns and cities. Bus services on local routes are much more unpredictable so be sure to make enquiries before you travel. Tourists can also make use of the luxury ‘Translux’ buses, which operate on major routes. The national rail network is known as ‘Transnet’ for information on routes and services phone +21 11 488 7111. In addition there are a number of tourist rail services such as the ‘Blue Train’. This is a luxurious train service which links Johannesburg-Pretoria and Pretoria with Victoria, Cape Town and Nelspruit (Tel: + 21 11 774 4469). If you get a chance you should also check out the ‘Ravos Rail’ which is a steam train safaris between Cape Town, Pretoria and Kruger National Park (Tel: +27 12 323 6052). If you do not wish to depend on public transport, an ideal means to discover the country is by car. South Africa has some very good roads and cars may be hired through any travel agent or at any airport.
You will require a valid International Driver’s Licence and be 25 years of age or older.

An even better alternative, however, is to avail of the services of the Baz Bus. This is probably the best way for Backpackers to travel throughout the country. Offering a unique hop-on/hop-off door to door service between the backpacking hostels around South Africa it really is a very useful service. Passengers simply buy one ticket to their final destination and can get on and off as many times as they wish, where they wish with no time limit. The buses are all 22 seater semi-luxury Mercedes Benz with trailers to carry surfboards, bikes and the like. To book your ticket right now for this excellent chance to see South Africa, click here

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