Public Transport Infrastructure

Myciti Buses in Cape Town.

Train routes

The two luxury trains, the Blue Train and Rovos Rail - Pride of Africa, do regular trips on scenic routes and between Cape Town and Pretoria, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria and the Pretoria and the Lowveld, as well as further afield into southern Africa.

Real historic steam train buffs will just love the Union Ltd Steam Rail Tours. In the 1930s the Blue Train was pretty darn luxurious - although there was only one bathroom per carriage. Well, the Blue Train moved with the times and has been refurbished quite a few times, but the old carriages and locomotives are still running - as the Union Ltd.

With a very few concessions to modern tastes, these are run just as the "old" Blue Train was, right down to the uniforms of the stewards. Clearly what passed for the height of luxury 70 years ago is not quite the same as the present Blue Train but it is a real trip back in time.

As it was in the 1930s, there is only one bathroom per coach but there are a few coaches with en-suite bathrooms. The standard long haul trains operated by the quasi-statal. Spoornet, called Shosholoza Meyl, are inexpensive, clean and safe, but not particularly luxurious.

These have three "classes", although they are more accurately described by the carriage, i.e sleeper 4, sleeper 6 and sitter class. The sleeper 4 and 6 have, respectively, four or six bunk beds, a fold-away wash basin and table. There is a communal shower and toilet in each carriage.

The "dining car" is operated by a fast-food chain which offers a reasonable selection of perfectly acceptable but unexciting food. On the Cape Town - Pretoria route, guests can choose the Premier Class - there are only two people per compartments, the furnishings are more comfortable and the food is better and served in a more attractive dining room. There is a lounge. The ablutions are, however, communal but, of course, they are shared by far less people.

Bus routes

There are a number of long haul bus companies that offer transport between major cities, with stops in smaller centres en route. These usually follow the national roads, e.g. N1- Cape Town to Johannesburg, N2 - Cape Town to Durban, N3 - Johannesburg to Durban.

There is a dedicated backpackers bus that offers a hop-on, hop-off ticket that enables passengers to keep travelling in the same direction for months with breaks as long as they like. Another major attraction is that the bus stops at backpackers hostels, not at bus stations. There are small shuttle companies that ply shorter routes, such as Durban to the North Coast or South Coast, Port Elizabeth or East London to Grahamstown.

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