I am planning on going to South Africa later this year for 6 weeks. I am flying into Port Elizabeth/Johannesberg and fly out of Cape Town. At one time I was going to stick to the garden route and hire a car however I am now thinking that I would like to go up to the Kruger National Park and see a bit more of the country and I have heard the various scare stories of driving so was looking at the Baz Bus.
Has anyone traveled on this and can you recomend whether any of the tours are better than the other... ie justr getting a flexi basic ticket or whether it is worth paying the extra for the flexi tour ticket which obviously has the additional day tours etc......
I have been interning Joburg, South Africa since Jan 09. Luckily enough, I have been to Kruger, Cape Town and Durban. Renting a car or doing Baz Bus is really up to you.
Going to a game park is definitely worth doing. Kruger happens to be in a great choice plus its very scenic part of the country. You can get a car in Joburg for Roughly R250 a day (standard) and drive to Kruger. But you would have to know where you are going. It's not terribly dangerous during the day. But again, its better if you know where you are going. There are a lot of places to get lost. Personally, I won't drive there on my own. Also, safaris in Kruger aren't cheap. It will depends on where you are staying. But generally speaking, going there as one person isn't cheap at all. If cost isn't a concern, just go. It's worth it.
The nice thing about Baz Bus is that its safe. So a young female it takes a lot of the worry out. But you will be around tourists mostly so you won't meet as many locals as otherwise. It is along an additional cost.
If you fly directly from Joburg to Cape Town, you can easily rent a car in Cape Town. Renting a car in Cape Town is crazy cheap. Crazy. The nice thing about Cape Town is that it is tourist friendly. So if you rent a car and checking into a hostel you will probably meet people who are interested in going down to the garden route or beyond as well.
I would suggest really reading up on what's in South Africa and deciding what you want to see. There's alot worth seeing... the drakensburg mountains, coffee bay, and the eastern cape. Remember June is winter so bring warm close.
Personally, I am planning to travel on the Baz Buz in the middle of June for two weeks. From there, I will be going to Mozambique and onto Victoria Falls.
Hi, the poster above is correct, car hire is dirt cheap in South Africa. Was there all Dec 2008 and Jan 2009 and hired a car for nearly all of that time. I think it worked out at just 11 English pounds a day. That's If you don't mind driving the smallest car they have, normally a fiat or whatever, but who cares so long as it works. Fuel its silly cheap.
I don't think its dangerous to drive in South Africa. Of course don't leave anything on show when you leave the vehicle, ever. Or drive into what look like a dangereous area and stop to pass the time of day with someone who's sniffing petrol. Other than that its all fine.
I heard of many people that Baz Bus journeys in SA take double the length of time as they do in a normal bus or a self drive car, because the Bazbus has to drive around and around picking people up etc. Really Baz bus tickets are sometimes not that much better value than hiring a cheap little car. Its up to the individual, but your limited to being dropped off only at Bazbus backpacker places, often overpriced for what they are cos they've got a captive audience. Some bazbus backpaker drop-off's are party central, so if you value your sleep.......
The two best places for me in South Africa were 'Nature's Valley' on the Garden Route, a place damn near perfect. And in the Cederburg wilderness area the 'Gecko Creek bush camp'
Thanks for the advice everyone.
I suppose my main issue is potentially how safe it is to drive a car around north of Jo'berg. I am a single female who will be traveling alone and I suppose the scare stories are whats putting me off but I don't know if they are the norm or far and few between.
I am currently in South America and have found it so far to be as safe as anywhere else so long as you take the usual precautions however having said that I am traveling with a friend and we are getting bus between each place and neither have we gone looking for trouble by venturing into the areas that are known to dangerous.
I suppose I was looking at the Baz Bus as a compromise in that I would get to travel around in relative comfort - although I did have concerns as to the hostels that they pick up and drop off at on the basis that they would serve a captive audience and therefore standards may not be what you could usually expect!
I will be traveling to Bulawayo in a few weeks alone - well not really alone. I am visiting friends in Bulawayo and will be staying with them for 10 days while I am there. What is it to do in Bulawayo? This is my first trip to Africa.
I will be flying out to South Africa on Sunday and am going to use the baz bus. I've heard that many of the other hostels in whatever town/city you're in do pickups from the baz bus route so that's what I'm planning to do rather than stay in these overpriced hostels.
I'm also travelling on my own but...it'll be fine! haha. Can't wait.
I used the Baz Bus this last Nov/Dec and covered Cape Town through to Durban through the Drakensburg to Joburg and did a 4 day safari to Kruger. As somebody posted above, travel time with the baz bus can take longer because they make many stops. However if you're interested in seeing a lot of places along the way (which was the case with me) it was really fantastic. Most days I was only on the bus and hour or two before hopping off again somewhere else.
Also, regarding the hostels, it is a bit tricky in that Baz Bus won't give you recommendations on the specific hostels, but I did a lot of reading in travel guides and scoped out what places I thought would work best for me. The vast majority of hostels I stayed in through their stops were great or fantastic. There were only a couple that I was not very pleased with and that was more to do with the staff than the hostels themselves or the other people staying there.
I also met some fantastic people through the Baz Bus system which was a great bonus. But then you can also be completely independent yet safe. It was a good balance for me.
I'm really glad to have used the bus for my trip. If I were to go back I'd likely drive myself because I'd like to get to the far-off corners of the country not on the main-travelled route. But it was fantastic for my trip.