How to get to South Africa

By | May 4, 2022


South Africa is a country in Africa according to thesciencetutor. South Africa is a country that packs a stunning visual punch with its vast plains, rolling mountains, golden beaches and barren deserts. In addition to the diverse landscape, the many animal species are particularly impressive, from herds of elephants to penguin colonies, which are wonderful to observe here. South Africa’s cities are also very diverse: bustling Johannesburg is at its heart, and cosmopolitan Cape Town on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is an enclave with a European flair. In between are safari areas and pretty towns, which here and there interrupt the wilderness of the Karoo semi-desert. The seaside town of Durban and a number of other resort areas lie along the beautiful Garden Route in the south. South Africa’s population, descended from numerous indigenous tribes, speaks eleven official languages, and the Afrikaners, British and Indians exerted their own influence during the colonial period. The main attraction of South Africa is and remains its rich wildlife. Associated with this are professional safaris and luxury accommodation. The world-famous Kruger National Park also provides an unforgettable insight into “typical” Africa. Nelson Mandela would have turned 100 in July 2018, an excellent opportunity to travel through South Africa in the footsteps of the freedom fighter and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Neslon Mandela Museum, The Capture Site,

Getting there

Arriving by plane

Flights to South Africa from Germany, Austria and Switzerland: – Lufthansa (LH) from Frankfurt/M. and Munich to Johannesburg and Cape Town; – Austrian Airlines (OS) from Vienna to Johannesburg (no direct flight possible) and to Cape Town; – Swiss (LX) from Zurich to Johannesburg, with onward flight to Cape Town; – Edelweiss Air (WK) from Zurich to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Flight times

Frankfurt – Johannesburg: 10 hrs 30 mins; Frankfurt – Cape Town: 11 hrs 45 mins; Munich – Johannesburg: 10 hrs 45 mins; Zurich – Johannesburg: 10 hrs 40 mins; Zurich – Cape Town: 11 hrs 45 mins; Vienna – Johannesburg: 13 hours 15 minutes (pure flight time).


oneworld’s Visit Africa Airpass is valid for destinations in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius. Any number of flights can be booked, but at least two, with British Airways or its affiliated airlines.

Arrival by car

A well-developed network of trunk roads enables entry into South Africa from the neighboring countries of Namibia, Botswana (via Ramathlabama), Zimbabwe (via the Beitbridge), Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique. The opening times of the border crossings vary greatly and can also be changed at short notice. Travelers should therefore inquire in advance whether and when crossing the border is possible. Long-distance bus: Greyhound, Intercape and Translux offer connections to and from the capitals of neighboring countries. Toll: Some motorway sections are subject to tolls. Payment is possible in cash; international credit cards are not accepted. Documents: The international driver’s license is required and only valid in conjunction with the national driver’s license. It is also advisable to carry an English translation with you.

Arrival by train

The main routes to neighboring countries lead to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. South Africa’s luxury Blue Train (charter train) runs regularly from Pretoria (Tshwane) to Cape Town and as a charter train from Pretoria to Durban and the Kruger National Park. The luxury train Rovos Rail offers regular services from Pretoria to Cape Town, Durban and the Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and from Cape Town to George. For the Pretoria-Cape Town and Pretoria-Victoria Falls route, trains take 48 hours. Rovos Rail also offers special trips several times a year, including from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and from Pretoria to Swakopmund (Namibia). With the Shongololo Express three different journeys, between 12 and 15 days,

Arrival by ship

The largest ports are Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London.

Cruise ships

Shipping companies such as Cunard, Phoenix and AIDA call at South African ports on their cruises from Hamburg or Bremerhaven.


Traveling by plane

Airlink (4Z) flies to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Kimberley and Bloemfontein, among others.

Traveling by car/bus

The road network is well developed in the inhabited regions. Toll: Some motorway sections are subject to tolls. Payment is possible in cash; international credit cards are not accepted. Gas stations: Most gas stations are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; only a few gas stations around the clock. Payment with credit cards is not always possible. Reserve fuel may not be carried.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Condition of the roads

A third of the country’s roads are paved (including all major roads). The roads are generally well signposted for tourists. National roads roughly correspond to well-developed German federal roads. However, most of the regional roads are also in good condition and have little traffic.

Road classification

National roads are marked with an N and a number (e.g. N3) and only a small part are developed as motorways. Regional roads are signposted with an R and a number (e.g. R27).

Car rental

Car rental companies can be found in all cities and at airports. The driver must be at least 18 years old (may vary depending on the vehicle category) and have held a driver’s license for at least one year. Sometimes drivers under the age of 25 are charged a young driver fee. Some landlords prescribe a maximum age of 70 years.


There are mini taxis (usually white minibuses that drive on certain routes as shared taxis) and normal taxis (with a taximeter). Taxi ranks can usually be found in city centres, at airports and in front of hotels, or by calling the taxi agency.


Numerous companies offer long-distance connections. The buses are always air-conditioned. Connections between the main centers are served by: Translux, Greyhound and Intercape. Baz Bus transports travelers to a variety of accommodation (backpacker hostels, guesthouses, lodges and hotels) in various cities. The bus company Compassline offers bus tours tailored to customer requirements.


Traffic regulations: – left-hand traffic; – seatbelt obligation; – alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰; – Telephoning is only permitted via a hands-free device. Speed ​​limits: – in built-up areas: 60 km/h; – on rural roads: 100 km/h; – on motorways: 120 km/h. The fines for speeding are very high.

Roadside Assistance

The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49 (89) 76 76 76. The ADAC partner club in Johannesburg is the Automobile Association of South Africa (AASA), Tel. +27 (11) 799 10 00. The automobile club offers a wide range of services (e.g. information on road conditions, accommodation, etc.) and provides members of other automobile clubs with maps, among other things.


The international driver’s license is required and only valid in conjunction with the national driver’s license. It is also advisable to carry an English translation with you.

Traveling in the city

There are good bus and train networks in all major cities. Metrobus operates buses in Johannesburg and Golden Arrow in Cape Town. Additionally, Cape Town’s MyCiti buses are a cheap alternative to get to the most popular attractions in the city centre. Pretoria (Tshwane) has regular city buses. Durban is served by Metrorail Durban, with a commuter rail-like commuter rail service. Buses are operated by eThekwini Municipal Bus Company. There are also private buses and shared taxis (minibuses), but they are often overloaded and poorly maintained. Zulu rickshaws are also available for tourists.

Locally on the way by train

In South Africa there are both regular intercity trains (Shosholoza Meyl) and private luxury trains. Public rail transport does not meet European standards. It is therefore generally recommended to travel 1st class. All long-distance trains have sleeping cars, and most also have dining cars. Local trains run at frequent intervals in the metropolitan areas of Tshwane (Pretoria)/Johannesburg and Cape Town. All main routes should be booked at least 24 hours in advance. South Africa’s first high-speed train, the Gautrain connects Johannesburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport. Among the most important InterCity luxury trains is the Blue Train, which runs from Pretoria (Tshwane) to Cape Town and to Hoedspruit (Kruger National Park). Each Blue Train compartment has a bathroom, telephone, television and air conditioning. Rovos Rail trains also belong to the luxury class. Rovos Rail offers luxury steam train safaris with trips from Pretoria to Durban, Victoria Falls and Swakopmund, and from Cape Town to George and Dar es Salaam. The Trans-Oranje InterCity train runs weekly between Cape Town and Durban via Kimberley and Bloemfontein. The luxury train Trans-Natal-Express serves the route Durban – Johannesburg; the Trans Karoo Express Cape Town – Johannesburg. The Shosholoza Meyl operates the routes: Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Komatipoort as well as Cape Town – Queenstown and East London. With the Shongololo Express, trips between 12 and 15 days can be booked. For example, the 15-day trip follows the route Cape Town – Midlands – Zululand – Swaziland – Kruger National Park – Pretoria, a 12-day trip from Pretoria to the Vicoria Falls. The Premier Classe luxury train connects Johannesburg with Cape Town and Durban.

Traveling by ship

MSC Cruises offer cruises on the Cape Town – Port Elizabeth – Durban route.

How to get to South Africa