Traveling in SA

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Traveling in South Africa

South Africa is a relatively large country, and its urban centres are far apart. This means that if you want to see the entire country, you will need to do a fair amount of traveling. There are several options available to you.

Traveling in South Africa | Visa South AfricaThe fastest mode of transport is flying. There are regular daily cheap flights online between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. However, flying is also the most expensive, and a return ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg can cost around ZAR2000. However, the journey will only take about 2 hours in either direction, so this is something to keep in mind if you only intend on making a short stay at your destination. Flying is therefore also very popular among people traveling for business reasons.

For those taking holidays, or who cannot afford to fly, the most common form of transport is by road, either in a bus or a minibus taxi. The concept of a bus is the same as anywhere else in the world, but the minibus taxi needs some introducing. A minibus taxi is a light passenger vehicle, usually certified to carry about 15 people. However, they have a reputation for being overloaded, so be aware of this. Only use one if you genuinely have no other alternative. They may cost less than a bus, sometimes significantly less, but the ride may not be nearly as comfortable.

Traveling in South Africa | Visa South AfricaYou can also rent a car and drive yourself, but, of course, due to the long distances involved, you will spend a lot of time driving, which is tiring, and can be uncomfortable in the hot summer sun. South Africa has an extensive road network, so make sure that you know your exact route before you start driving. There are reliable, up-to-date maps available at a reasonable price, and a little research can save you hours of frustration. Forewarned is forearmed. Also keep in mind that petrol (gasoline) costs about ZAR10 per litre, so you need to budget for that. Alcohol and driving don’t go together well in South Africa – the legal blood alcohol limit is very low and may soon be reduced to zero, so to be on the safe side do not drink and drive at all.

The final option is to travel by train. Due to heavy reliance on rail transport in the past, South Africa also has an extensive rail network. However, take note that the train is slower than any of the other forms of transport. A trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg can take in excess of 24 hours. Having said that, the train is also the cheapest of all the forms of transport, and, besides flying, the safest. There are few things as relaxing as sitting on a train, watching the scenery pass, and not having to concentrate on driving or avoiding the recklessness of other road users.

In general, it helps to research your route with the assistance of a local resident. As in any country in the world, some areas in South Africa are safer than others. Find out beforehand, and if you have a bad feeling about a place, don’t go there. There is much to be discovered in South Africa, and plenty of places to go. But how you get there is up to you.

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