Transport options and tips to share with your visitors

  • 18 May 2015 | Christine Marot
Vehicles suitable for game driving require 4x4 capability. Image courtesy of Diriye Amey

From budget domestic airlines to 4x4 rentals, taxis, luxury coaches and steam trains – there are many interesting ways for newcomers to explore the length and breadth of South Africa.

Enabling your visitors to explore South Africa is an important part of the service you’ll be offering as their host.

Outline the various options that are available and point out how these vary between large urban centres, like Sandton in Johannesburg, and rural spots, such as Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal.

Since they’ll likely be arriving at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, point out the availability of domestic flights to other major cities, such as Durban and Cape Town, and the difference in price between larger carriers like SAA and budget offerings such as Mango and Kulula.

Domestic airlines include the national carrier, SAA. Image courtesy of Darren Olivier

Your visitors might be interested in a train trip too, so don’t forget to sing the praises of our magnificent Blue Train, luxury Rovos Rail and Premier Classe trains. Short day trips are also available in certain parts of the country for steam train enthusiasts.

Visitors planning intercity travel may require the services of luxury coaches operated by Intercape, Greyhound and Autopax, or, for short trips, many smaller tour operators can be sourced within each province.

If your tourists are in a group, a small bus or tour company might be a good option, while individuals or families are likely to opt for self-drive in a rental car. If the weather is hot, make sure the car has air-conditioning.

If they’re planning any off-road driving, or traversing rugged roads in a game reserve, 4x4 rentals are the way to go.

Then there’s the metred taxi option, which entails making individual bookings with local service providers.

Cape Town's CitySightseeing bus. Image courtesy of FlowComm

Visitors to Cape Town would be interested in the benefits of the MyCiti bus service and City Sightseeing (the latter is also available in Johannesburg), while Durban’s Rick Shaw Bus Tour offers a similar three-hour ride to take in the city’s main attractions.

While our local minibus taxis are plentiful, rather suggest that visitors interested in a more informed South African taxi experience use the services of a guide. Local tourism offices can make recommendations in this regard.

Useful tips for driving visitors

  • South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road
  • Signage and mileage is measured in kilometres
  • The freeway speed limit is 120km/h
  • Never drink and drive. The legal limit is 0.05g per 100ml (one drink per hour)
  • Do not use your cellphone while driving unless you have a hands-free kit fitted
  • Carry an international driver's licence at all times as you may be required to show it
  • It is compulsory to wear seatbelts
  • At fuel stations an attendant will assist you. Most are open 24/7
  • Major roads have toll booths, so plan your route beforehand and have cash or a credit card on hand to pay. Some rental vehicles have toll tags fitted, but check to make sure