Getting there and around South Africa

Getting there

From the UK you fly due south for about 11.5 hours, either from London with BA, Virgin or South African Airways; or via a regional hub in Europe: Amsterdam with KLM, Frankfurt with Lufthansa or Paris with Air France. The two main entry airports in South Africa are RO Tambo, Johannesburg with lots of connecting flights, or Cape Town International, more convenient for the Western Cape. There are flights via hubs in the Gulf states, but these tend to be more expensive with awkward connecting times.

Flying from Manchester, we think the current best deal is with Air France/KLM on their overnight flight to Cape Town:

Depart Manchester 19.40/Arrive Paris CDG 22.10
Depart Paris CDG 23.25/Arrive Cape Town 11.35

Depart Cape Town 19.35/Arrive Paris CDG 05.55
Depart Paris CDG 7.45/Arrive Manchester 08.15

Or you could hop off on your round-the-world cruiseship, if you’re minded to.

Getting around

There are luxury tourist trains from both Jo’burg/Pretoria and Cape Town and scheduled long distance trains with a range of travel options that have a flexible pricing structure, depending on the season. Most guide books warn visitors off travelling on suburban trains, we’ve always heeded this advice.

There are numerous regional airports in South Africa [it’s a big country] with SAA full-price flights and no-frills flights on airlines including: 1time, Kulula and Mango that can be very good value for money.

Long-distance buses
We’ve not travelled on these, but InterCape, TransLux and Greyhound travel on the very good road system in South Africa and onward to neighbouring countries too.

Car Rental
All the major rental companies operate in South Africa, plus local companies and ‘aggregators’who bulk rent and offer vehicles at a slight discount from the major firms.

It's worth investigating this in some depth as some comanies offer discounts for longer rentals.