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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
South Africa Getting Around - Internal Travel
South Africa Internal Travel - Getting Around South Africa - TravelPuppy.com
Air

Daily flights link Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria and with other connecting flights to provincial towns. South African Airways operates on the main routes.

Flight Discounts

An Africa Explorer fare is accessible to foreign visitors entering South Africa with an IATA airline. It offers a considerable saving for anyone intending to use South African Airways’ internal network. The fare is valid for a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 2 months, travel may begin and end at any point within South Africa that is served by the airline. Travel is not allowed more than once in the same direction over any given sector. There is also a discount of approximately 30 % on some standby fares. South African Airways has several other discount domestic fares including Slumber, Apex, Supersaver and Saver fares.

Sea & Lake

Starlight Cruises offer links between principle ports.

Rail

The chief intercity services are as follows, the Blue Train is a luxury express offering routes between Pretoria and Cape Town, the Trans-Oranje between Cape Town and Durban via Kimberley and Bloemfontein (each week) and the Trans-Natal Express between Durban and Johannesburg (daily, except Tuesday).

Rovos Rail offers luxury (partly steam) safaris from Pretonia to Cape Town. The Transnet Museum also offers a variety of steam safaris around South Africa and Zimbabwe, and the Trans-Karoo Express travels between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria daily.

All long distance trains are equipped with sleeping compartments, included in fares, and the majority have restaurant cars. Reservations are advised for principal trains and all overnight journeys. There are regular local trains in the Cape Town and Pretoria / Johannesburg urban areas. All trains have 1st and 2nd class accommodation. Children under 2 years of age travel free. Children aged 2 to 11 years pay half fare.

Road

The traffic in South Africa drives on the left. There is a well maintained network of roads and motorways in heavily populated regions. Around a 3rd of roads are paved (with all major roads tarred to a high standard).

Petrol stations are generally open all week from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, and some are open 24 hours. Petrol must be paid for in cash.

Regulations

In non residential areas, speed limits are 120 kilometres per hour (75 miles per hour) and 60 kilometres per hour (35 miles per hour) in built up areas.

Overtaking is allowed in any lane, including the hard shoulder. Fines for speeding are extremely heavy. It is illegal to carry petrol other than in built in petrol tanks.

Bus

Various operators, such as Intercape, Greyhound and Translux, run intercity express links using modern and air conditioned coaches. On several of the intercity routes, passengers can break their journey at any scheduled stop en route by prior arrangement at time of booking and continue on a succeeding coach at no extra cost other than for additional accommodation.

Taxi

Available throughout South Africa, at all towns, hotels and airports, charging for distance and time. For long distance travel, an estimate should be sought.

Car hire

To hire a car, travellers must have held a valid driving licence for 5 years. Self drive and chauffeur driven cars are accessible at most airports and in major city centres.

Documentation

An International Driving Permit is required and the minimum age is 23 (or 21 on presentation of an American Express / Diners card). Foreign licences in English are valid for up to 12 months, otherwise, British visitors who are planning to drive in South Africa should check with the RAC or AA prior to departure that they have all the correct documentation.

Urban

There are bus and suburban rail networks in all the main towns. Fares in Johannesburg and Cape Townare zonal, with payment in cash or with 10 ride pre purchase ‘clipcards’ from kiosks.

There are various pre-purchase ticket systems in Pretoria, including a cheap pass for off-peak travel only. In Durban, conventional buses face hard competition from minibuses and combi-taxis (both legal and illegal), which are also found in other South African towns. These, although very fast and cheap, should be used with care. For ordinary taxis, fares within the city areas cost more than long distances. Taxis do not cruise and must be phoned from a rank. Taxi drivers expect a 10 per cent tip.

Avoid the Berea and Hillbrow areas of Johannesburg. There has been a number of muggings around the Rotunda Bus Terminal in the city. As a result of the high level of car hijacking in the Kruger Park, there is currently an increased police presence.

Travel times

The following chart gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Cape Town to other major towns and cities in South Africa:
 
  Air Road Rail
Johannesburg
2 hours 15 hours 24 hours
Durban
2 hours 18 hours 38 hours
Pretoria
2 hours 16 hours 26 hours
Port Elizabeth
1 hours 7 hours -
Useful travel links
Blue Train Rail services in South Africa.