While we think Cape Town is the best city in South Africa (admittedly, we are biased), South Africa has many beautiful places to visit and we really do encourage our English students at the UCT English Language Centre to travel South Africa and make the most of their time in this beautiful country when they get some time.
The most ideal way to travel throughout South Africa is with some new friends made at our English school. In this way, you get to travel with some company, and get to experience all the new things you are seeing with someone else who is also seeing it for the first time too.
Travelling from Cape Town to other parts of the country can be done by car, rail, bus or air.
Renting a car
If you decide to rent a vehicle, you will find many car rental agencies to choose from. Some very large company names operate throughout South Africa, such as Europcar, Avis and Hertz. There are, however, also a number of local South African (and Cape Town based) companies you can try, such as Around About Cars, Thrifty Car Rental, or Rent a Cheapie. Prices will differ largely depending on the company, the type of car you are interested in renting, etc. If you like road trips, this is a great option as you will drive through some spectacular and untouched scenery in South Africa. This is also a great option for self drives along the Garden Route, for example. Grab some friends, split the rental car costs and petrol (and designated driver), and spend a few days exploring the Garden Route in your own time, with your own agenda. Many of our English students have opted for this as a mini getaway over a long weekend together, for example.
The Shosholoza Rail line does operate trains between Cape Town and a number of other South African cities. As this is a relatively popular mode of transport with locals, it can get very crowded and full. We would recommend trying out the infamous Blue Train for a truly unforgettable train ride through South Africa. The train operates two routes: Cape Town – Pretoria – Cape Town and Cape Town – Hoedspurit – Cape Town (stopping in Johannesburg for both routes).
There are a number of bus services from Cape Town to many South African cities, including the more comfortable and even luxurious long distance bus companies such as the Greyhound and Intercape which are air conditioned, have on board toilets and much more. This is certainly one of the more budget friendly transport options to get from one place to the next, and the opportunity to meet many new people (local and international). Some of the bus companies travel to many other countries in Southern Africa, also a more budget friendly option for exploring beyond the South African borders.
There are a number of domestic flights which you can take from Cape Town to various other local airports such as Johannesburg (two airports), Port Elizabeth, Durban, George, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, East London, Hoedspruit and Kimberley.
The most popular routes are undoubtedly between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and between Cape Town and Durban. Try not to book your flights to Johannesburg or Durban during peak travel times as flights tend to be more expensive for commuters at this time, and the airports are packed with people! Also, always arrive early at the airport for check-in, even if you have checked in online before. With so many flights during the day, you may find yourself standing
There are 4 airlines that can be chosen, and the number of trips scheduled depends on the popularity of the route. So, for instance the route between Johannesburg and Cape Town offers more than 30 flights during the day – less on the weekends, whereas between Cape Town and Nelspruit there is one flight per day.
Whichever way you choose to explore South Africa from Cape Town, you will be able to see the absolutely unparalleled beauty of this vast country and we sincerely hope that you are able to take advantage of the time spent here and the many wonderful people from all over the world you will be able to meet and enjoy your experience with.
If you have any questions about booking a trip, please don’t hesitate to come and chat to us. We are happy to assist students and provide some advice. Happy Exploring!