Rental Vehicle – South Africa is made for self-drive trips. The road system is well developed compared to most African countries, and most destinations are well-signposted. Being a former British colony it is left-hand drive and there are plenty of petrol stations on the main routes.
While some travellers may have a perception of Africa being wild and a 4×4 being necessary, but while this may be true of parts of Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, travellers to South Africa can get by just fine in a standard hatchback/saloon car. There are of course some areas in the country where the roads have still not been tarred, especially in the Transkei region (often called the Wild Coast). Car travel is still possible here, as long as you are willing to take it slow and bounce your head on the ceiling all the way.
There are a few things first time visitors need to bear in mind when visiting the country, firstly that distances are large. This means preparation and planning is necessary, for example driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town is simply not possible in one day because the distance is so vast. Secondly, driving at night is not recommended if the driver does not know the area. In some urban areas it is not safe to travel at night, while in the countryside it can be dangerous with wild animals crossing the roads.
4×4 hire – For the more intrepid traveller, several companies offer the option of renting fully equipped 4×4 vehicles. This gives you the freedom to explore neighbouring countries where the roads may be gravel or sand tracks. This is perfect for Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique where campsites are generally easy to find. Most of these include the option of a roof-tent allowing you to camp anywhere you like! Obviously those travelling this way need to do some serious planning as to where you are going and some good advice from those who have done it before.
Find out more about 4×4 rental South Africa.
Organised bus – The chief option for those visitors who do not wish to rent a vehicle is the Bazbus. This bus runs the route from Cape Town to Johannesburg along the south and east coasts. It provides a hop-on, hop-off service that makes it perfect for the backpacker who hasn’t planned how long they are staying in each spot.
Public Transport – Not really recommended for the first-time visitor, it’s better for those who have been a few times or in the company of a local. Services are poor for the most part, running late and often taking very long to get anywhere.
Domestic flights – If you have a little bit more money and want to get around the country quickly then this is the way for you. There are plenty of domestic airports across the country, including several at the Kruger. Most are served by the major airlines and several cheaper low cost carriers such as Mango, Kulula and 1time.