Travelling around South Africa is relatively easy by air, road and rail.
Principal air routes are serviced by South African Arirways (SAA) and British Airways, operated by Comair. There are two low-cost carriers on main routes, namely Kulula.com and Mango. South African Express and Airlink serve the smaller centres.
Facilitating travel around South Africa are ten airports managed by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), among them OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), the new King Shaka International Airport, and Cape Town International Airports. In addition, there are some 90 regional airports, including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit and the Skukuza Airport, offering access to the Kruger National Park.
An extensive tarred road system makes travelling in South Africa by vehicle convenient and easy. You will find gravel roads in rural areas though. Note:
- A valid international driver's licence is required.
- We drive on the left hand side of the road.
- Wearing seat belts is compulsory and cellphones can only be used ‘hands free'.
- Speed limits are generally set at 120km on freeways, 100km on secondary roads and 60km in urban areas.
- Toll fees apply on certain national roads.
- Petrol stations are widespread.
- Most global car hire firms have branches in South Africa, along with local concerns.
- The Automobile Association (AA) supplies road maps.
Another means of getting around South Africa are luxury inter-city bus services such as Greyhound and Trans-Lux, as well as the backpackers' Baz Bus. Metrobus buses are available for in-city transport. Metered taxis must be ordered by telephone. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Our rail system includes the long-haul, inexpensive Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains. More luxurious options are the Blue Train, Premier Classe and the steam train Rovos Rail.
South African safety precautions are not unlike those recommended when travelling to other countries and major cities. More common sense than hard and fast measures, safety precautions in South Africa mostly require vigilance on behalf of the traveller and sound travel preparation.
Important South African safety advice includes avoiding deserted areas at night; securing valuables such as photographic equipment and wallets on your person; and leaving expensive, flashy jewellery in your hotel safe while out and about.
Other safety precautions you may want to consider include:
- Locking valuables and luggage away in the car boot while travelling (never leave handbags or cameras on car seats).
- Being vigilant of your luggage and other belongings (never leave them unattended).
- Storing valuables in your hotel safe.
- Limit the amount of money you carry on your person. Also, don't accept offers of assistance at ATMs and keep your pin numbers secure.
- When using a credit card in restaurants, ask the waiter to bring a portable credit card machine to your table. Report stolen or lost cards immediately.
- Carry a current road map with you. If you're in any doubt about a place you wish to visit or how to get there, have a word with your hotel concierge first or contact the National Tourism Information and Safety Line on 083 123 2345 for assistance.
- Only use reputable tour operators and travel and transport services. If you're not sure, ask your hotel to recommend a service provider for you.
- In rural areas, watch out for wild or farm animals - road signage will warn you when you need to take care.
- If you intend travelling to malaria areas, take the necessary prophylaxis before you leave home.
For more information please visit www.southafrica.net/za/en/travel-tips