When thinking of how to travel in South Africa, we are going to discuss this today, from transport to the requirements of travelling to the country as a foreigner.
South Africa is a country that has a lot to offer. It is one of the prime safari destinations offering a view of the big wildlife five and many other diverse wildlife.
It offers breath-taking landscapes and scenery that are perfect for overlanding, backpacking and having a normal arranged tour.
The scenery presents a perfect canvas for any activity you might be thinking of.
Travelling in South Africa
The duration of your stay within South Africa, your needs and your budget will determine what mode of transport you will need.
If you are in the country for more than two weeks then a combination of road and air is the way to go.
The roads are well maintained, and extensively cover the whole of South Africa.
The Western and Eastern Cape regions are suitable for car exploration due to the charming B&B’s, cosy guest houses, wine farms and spectacular scenery.
If you’re there for the long haul, then this is the best option to enjoy rural rustic South Africa.
Of note is that South Africa follows the British convention of driving on the left.
For those not comfortable or conversant with left-hand driving, then getting a driver to help around urban areas is necessary.
All major car rental companies have agencies in the major cities.
To be able to rent a vehicle, you will need to have a valid driver’s license from your country of origin. Your home driving license is only good for six months.
An issue of note with car rentals is insurance. Ensure the rental vehicle has adequate insurance cover covering all the vehicle occupants and all the drivers driving the vehicle.
Also, check how much liability cover comes with the insurance in the case of third-party accidents.
In South Africa, fuel is known as petrol instead of gasoline, and a gallon is approximately four litres.
Unlike places like the U.S. and the U.K., petrol stations are not self-service but fully serviced.
Credit cards are accepted but cards such as American Express, Diners and Discover are generally not accepted.
Taking The Bus.
South Africa has three established intercity bus companies: Greyhound, Intercape and Translux.
These buses are safe, offer good value in terms of amenities offered for the ticket price, and are comfortable.
Fares vary according to time, distance and season. Baz Bus is a company that operates a hop-on, hop-off service that is targeted at backpackers and extremely budget travellers.
The service stops at all major cities, tourist hubs and B&B joints along the route.
These are what the majority of South Africans use travelling everywhere within the country. The Taxis cover both short-distance hops from township to township and long intercity drives.
The issue with them is dangerous driving, unroadworthy vehicles and violent feuds between different companies.
Nothing beats the romance of rail while in South Africa.
Although the country has a lot of train tracks, most are not in use as the population relies heavily on the highways.
Train Fares are some of the cheapest modes of transport when compared to other forms of transport.
If you want leisure, you could spend time in a suite on the Rocks rail or the Blue train.
These are high luxury train services running from Pretoria to Capetown and back and which take a leisurely 3 days.
If you are squeezed for time, then flying is the best solution for you.
There are several competing budget airlines, and some of them include South African Airlines, Kulula, Velvet Sky, and Mango.
The Short-haul flights are also a good way to view as much of South Africa as possible. Though you will have to incur additional costs as the airports are some distance from the population.
Travelling to South Africa
In this era of Covid 19, there have been additional measures and checkpoints to safeguard the country from the virus.
To enter South Africa, you need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
You are required to provide a valid certificate of a negative PCR COVID-19 test recognized by the World Health Organization.
This test needs to have been obtained not more than 72 hrs before the date of arrival in South Africa.
In case of a positive COVID-19 test, a traveller will still be admitted into the country but will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days at their own cost.
(the date that I’m writing this is 06/19/2022, so make sure to recheck at your current date)
And due to the pandemic, it is mandatory to wear a face mask in public.
You can travel to South Africa for any purpose for up to 90 days without a Visa.
But you will need to check your passport to ensure you don’t overstay.
Your passport should be valid for six months from the date of arrival, and it should be valid for at least 30 days beyond your intended exit date.
South Africa has also implemented biometric capturing at all ports of entry, so be prepared to spend a lot more time at customs.
South Africa can be dangerous to unsuspecting travellers.
Muggings are still common, particularly in Johannesburg and Capetown. Hitchhiking alone for female tourists wouldn’t be much advisable in some areas as well.
Avoid areas with protests, and in case you are in a rented vehicle make sure all doors are locked at all times whether the vehicle is parked or at a stop intersection.
Also due to the high ATM and card fraud, withdraw small amounts of money and keep your credit cards with your person at all times.
My Final Conclusion.
I hope that I could help you find out how to travel in South Africa, but if you have any extra questions, please feel free to ask them below in the comment section or join me on one of my social media channels or even on my Facebook group.
I wish you happy travels!