Local Transport Options






Linking most major cities in Southern Africa is fairly straight forward with any of the options listed below at your disposal.  It is when you wish to get to more obscure places like De Aar, Barberton or Bulwer that options become more limited.  If you are going to make a habit of visiting flying sites in the sticks then my advice to you would be to hire a car.  

Even if you are going to hire a car for your trip then it might still be worthwhile to consider flying between the major cities.  Flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town takes 2 hours and can cost as little as R250.  Driving will see you cover a distance of +1 500 km on what is basically a straight road.  Unless you are a masochist I would suggest a car with aircon for the 6+ hour journey through the Karoo (semi desert +37 deg daytime temp in summer) with little more than the odd sheep & dusties to keep you company.  Driving at night is not advisable... lots of animals about.

Below are short descriptions of what each mode of transport has to offer with links to their www sites.  Most offer on-line booking & payment.


Trains in Southern Africa offer visitors the choice of luxury pending their budget.  You can spend anything from R300 to over R18 000 for the journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town... All depends  on your "needs".

I would only consider using this option if you have the time and want to have a Cape to Ciaro (which is possible) or Orient Express type experience OR you are trying to get to De Aar for a spot of distance flying.  Hear the expression "All roads lead to Rome", in Southern Africa it goes "All trains lead to De Aar".  De Aar is THE main train crossroads in SA.  Do not expect anything to match its "junction" stature...  It is a small town in the middle of nowhere... home to not much else except 3 PG world records.

The journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town takes approximately 24 hours.  You will therefore be spending the entire night on the train.  At the very least I would recommend a bed/bunk so you can lie down.  The train arrives at De Aar at approx 1 in the morning.

There are basically 5 different types of services to choose from:

  • Shosholoza Meyl
    • No frills.
    • Runs Daily.
    • Cheapest train fares from seats to 4 & 6 sleeper cabins.
    • Use it to get from anywhere to De Aar
  • Premier Classe
    • Runs once a week
    • Offer more comfort & luxury.
    • Use it if you like trains, don't like slumming it but money is still an object.
  • The Blue Train
    • Lots of frills.
    • Use this Service if you are after the experience of a luxury train journey.
    • Includes Game Viewing, Champers on the Dunes etc.
  • The Desert Express
    • Runs once a week from Windhoek to Swakopmund (Namibia).
    • Train stops half way so you can sleep without the clang-clang noise.
    • Luxury Experience. 
  • Rovos Rail
    • Super Luxury.
    • Includes excursions.
    • Goes all over Africa incl. classic Cape to Cairo journey.
The Blue Train on the www... Shosholoza Meyl on the www... The Premier Classe on the www... The Desert Express on the www... Rovos Rail on the www...


Obviously the quickest way to get around.  Flying between Johanesburg, Cape Town and Durban can be the cheapest transport option if you are prepared to travel off peak hours.  Other destinations are more pricey but often still very affordable.

Flying to Namibia from South Africa is much more expensive than other "internal" flight of similar distance.

Similar to EU, a number of low cost airlines have sprung up in SA as well.  You can fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town for as little as R250-00 one way.  Flight time is just under two hours.

If you are flying to Windhoek then take note that the airport is approx 50km outside the city in the middle of nowhere.  Getting to Windhoek involves either waiting for public transport or taking a taxi.  Taxi's are a rip off  but you have little choice.  The cost of the taxi into Windhoek is roughly the same as the cost of the bus fare to Swakopmund some 400km away...  

If you are heading for Swakopmund then you can try an internal flight from the local airport (Eros which is about 60 km away on the other side of town) but it will mean spending the day/night in Windhoek as the flight to Swakopmund leaves before you land.  Best option is to take a taxi in Windhoek & then a shuttle (see Bus section) to Swakopmund.

Logo's below link to the various airlines that offer internal flights with on-line bookings & payment facilities.

Few things to take note of before you link:

  • South African airports tend to weigh hull & hand luggage as one.  This applies to your international return flight as well.  They may or may not charge you for excess... your gamble.
  • Check-in staff are far more relaxed about "illegal" on-board items than the clan at the metal detectors.  Goods can easily be refused on-board entry without any remorse or warning... Buggers you a bit as check-in counter will not retrieve your luggage... I almost lost my radio face (battery removed & in hull luggage) that way..
  • Only Nationwide and South African Airways/Express will give you a drink & light meal "Free of Charge".  Others will charge for on-board refreshments.
  • Mango have the smallest seats with the least amount of legroom.  If you are tall or large then be prepared to be cramped.
  • If you have connecting flights then be aware of Mango or 1Time.  They are often delayed, especially on evening flights.

Kulula on the www... Nationwide on the www... SA Airways/Express on the www... 1Time on the www... Mango on the www...


InterCape is the most widely used bus service that links different cities.  Fares are very affordable and the busses run daily.  The journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town or Windhoek (Namibia) takes approx 24 hours.  If you are on a very tight budget then go ahead.  I used this service from Cape Town to Windhoek once... After 18 hours with no end in site I considered walking...

On the plus side the service is very handy in getting from Cape Town to Porterville.  The bus leaves from the central train station in Cape Town and will drop you of at the town of Piketberg which is only 30 km from the Flyers Lodge in Porterville.  Make arrangements with the lodge for a pick-up from there.

Busses are modern with aircon, on-board movies & good looking bus hostesses.

Intercape on the www....

If you are in Namibia then you can use the Intercape bus service as a link between the activity capital,  Swakopmund and Windhoek.  The service does not run every day & leaves very early in the morning.  No good as a connection to your flight that takes off after the bus has already left...

If you wish to get to Swakopmund from the airport then your best option is to take the earliest flight available, jump in a taxi and get them to drop you off where the shuttle service leaves for Swakopmund.  The are two shuttles that run on a daily basis:

Both services leave at approximately noon taking 4/5 hours.  The upside it that they are very affordable.  It is likely that you will see plenty of baboons, warthogs and even antelope on your way to the coast.


If you can afford it then hiring a car is by far the best option.  It gives you the flexibility that you need to fully explore Southern Africa.  All airports have the normal Budget, Avis, Europcar etc. that you can use.  Cars are not particularly cheap in South Africa and are even more expensive in Namibia.

If you are renting from Cape Town then consider using Active Car Rental.  The company is a 5 min drive form the airport and offers better rates than the big boys.  They require a min. 3 day rental period but the cars are fully comp and you get 200km for free.  I use them whenever I fly to Cape Town.

Avtice Car Rental on the www...

Regardless of your choice I would advise that you pre-book your car as there is no guarantee that there will be "stock" on arrival.


© 2006 Flysa-Net
Flying guide for Paragliding South Afrika
Flying Sites South Africa | Paragliding Travel|Guided Tours

Search Engine Optimized by www.We-Are-Web.com

Valid CSS!

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional