South Africa is on sale for half price! It would be rude not to visit!

Extracted from businesstech.co.za by Gareth Vorster February 5 2016

England’s Barmy Army recently traveled to South Africa to follow their national cricket team. So impressed were they with the exchange rate, they sang a song about it.

Watch video – Barmy Army #23tothepound

The Spectator, a weekly British conservative magazine, says that there may not be a better time to visit South Africa.

“South Africa has always been good value for British visitors, even five years ago when there were 11 rand to the pound. Now that figure is closer to 23 rand. For visitors, an entire country is half price.

“This freak situation may not last; so there might never be a better time to visit.”

South Africa is open for business – and has a half price sale tag on it.

Link to full article here

SA on Sale for half price

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Audrey Bergner- Road tripping across South Africa with Baz Bus

So it’s your first time travelling to South Africa, you want to see a bit of the country, but you aren’t quite sure how to get around… What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!

That was my predicament as I planned a 3 week backpacking trip across the country.

Travelling by coach seemed like a bit of a hassle (I’d be dropped off at a bus terminal and then still have to take a taxi to get to my hostel), renting a car sounded like a manageable option so long as I remembered to drive on the left, and then there was Baz Bus which calls itself “South Africa’s Convenient Hop-On Hop-Off Door-to-Door Backpacker Bus Service”. Quite the mouthful, but it fit the bill!

Visiting Wilderness, South Africa

Since it was my first time travelling in the country I decided to save the car rental for my next visit and I opted for Baz Bus instead. Over the course of my 3 weeks in the country I used them to travel the full length from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

There were a lot of things I liked about their service, so this post will look at some of the benefits of travelling with Baz Bus as well as a few things to consider:

Door to door pick-up and drop-off. 

This is one of things that won me over. Had I been travelling by train or coach bus I would have arrived at a bus terminal or train station in the middle of the city, and I then would’ve had to find my own way over to the hostel. However, Baz Bus offers pick-ups and drop-offs at a number of hostels and lodges across the country, which makes it safer and more convenient for travellers to get around. And if you happen to be staying at a hostel that isn’t affiliated with Baz Bus (I stayed in 2 hostels that weren’t), the owners are usually more than willing to arrange transportation for you.

Path in the forest

No limit on how many times you can hop on or off.

With the Hop-On Hop-Off ticket, you buy one ticket to your final destination and you can then hop on and off as often as you like along the route. This is great if you’re travelling in one direction. Alternatively, you can get a travel pass, which allows you to travel in any direction you want and as often as you like within the time period (7 day / 14 day / 21 days).

The flexibility to spontaneously change your travel plans.

Technically, you are supposed to reserve your seat at least 72 hours in advance to ensure there are enough seats, but also so that the driver knows where to pick you up and drop you off. However, this didn’t stop travellers from getting off the bus earlier if they thought a destination looked interesting; I also saw this work in reverse where travellers chose to skip over a destination because they thought it looked a little too remote for their taste once they arrived.

Lubanzi, Wild Coast, South Africa

Fun and personable drivers.

Whether it was Sammy trying to teach us his real name which involves clicking one’s tongue (I couldn’t manage to pronounce it right), or Johnny cracking jokes and imparting his wisdom on things to do in Durban, we had really fun drivers who were chatty and happy to share their insights on South Africa.

You get to see quite a bit of the country.

In a way, Baz Bus is a really great way to scout your next trip to South Africa. Since travellers get off at stops all over the route, you get to see quite a few towns and cities that you many not have previously considered. Over the course of my 3 weeks travelling with Baz Bus, I got off at a total of 7 stops and I also spotted a few places I’d like to go back and visit – Swellendam, I’m looking at you!

Landscapes of Drakensberg

There are lots of breaks along the way.

The Baz Bus drivers made a point to stop off every 1.5-2 hours so that we could stretch our legs, pick up some snacks, and have a bathroom break. Sure, there were days when we covered long distances, but we certainly weren’t cooped up in the car for 10 hours straight.

You get to meet other travellers.

Baz Bus allows you to connect with a community of backpackers who are slowly working their way across the country, and even though you may not all be getting off at the same stops along the way, you still get to know each other and swap stories and travel tips. For example, while on safari in Kruger I ended up meeting a group of German girls and a Brit – I never thought I’d see them again but then I ended up running into them twice on the Baz Bus down to Cape Town. I also noticed that some travellers who were backpacking South Africa solo ended up joining other travellers from Baz Bus for a stretch of the journey, so it’s a great way to meet other backpackers.

Wild Coast

Things to keep in mind:

This is a budget friendly way to travel across South Africa.

What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t come expecting plush headrests, reclining seats, and movies playing with surround sound. The bus is comfortable enough and it’ll get you where you need to go, but that’s it.

Baz Bus doesn’t run every day.

At the moment, the Cape Town to Port Elizabeth route runs 5 days a week. The other two routes run 4 days a week. This means that you need to put some thought into planning your itinerary and booking your hostels. If you don’t plan this carefully you could end up stuck in a destination for an additional night…which isn’t always a bad thing considering how beautiful South Africa is!

Reflections in Northern Drakensberg
The route doesn’t cover the interior of the country.

Baz Bus has 3 major routes: Johannesburg to Durban, Durban to Port Elizabeth, and Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. (These same routes are also done in reverse.) These routes will allow you to travel through Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, mainly focusing on destinations along the coast. It won’t get you to Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, North-West Province or Northern Cape. Nor will it get you to Lesotho or Swaziland. I’m kind of hoping they expand in the future!

Lastly, on a note completely unrelated to Baz Bus – the Eastern Cape has some stretches of seriously curvy roads so if you get motion sick easily I suggest you stock up on Gravol. I opted for window seat and popped a pill to zonk me out for the journey.

For more info on travel in South Africa visit http://www.bazbus.com.

Have you travelled around South Africa?
What do you think is the best way to get around?

Top Safety Tips: Planning ahead when visiting South Africa

Planning an overseas trip (of course it will be to South Africa – the most beautiful destination in the world) is an awesome opportunity and an exciting task; this allows you to experience new and exciting things in a different part of the world. Yet, dealing with an emergency abroad is the last thing on one’s mind when preparing for the adventure – an unforeseen crisis can be a harsh reality.

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When travelling abroad, you could be faced with challenges like losing important documents, getting sick, being involved in an accident or becoming a victim of a crime. These challenges are all unplanned, and even though we would hope it never happens to us, the odd chance is always there that something might go wrong.

The most  important is to stay calm and handle these situations to the best of your ability, especially while in another country. Before starting your journey, it is important that you prepare yourself as best as you can for anything that could happen while you are away from home. Copies of important documents and medical insurance are just a few things to be prepared with before your trip.

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An emergency travel pack is a vital component when planning a trip. The most important things of this pack are medical and personal documentation.

A few other items you should have are:

  • Copies of your passport/Visa
  • A copy of your insurance information
  • A copy of area maps of your destination/ places you may visit
  • Copies of your air ticket
  • Medical needs treatment
  • Copy of your home country’s drivers licence
  • Cellphone with local Sim card – international roaming costs are still very high
  • Credit Card
  • List of emergency numbers provided by your travel agent

 Tips for handling an emergency situation

Dealing with lost/stolen goods: If any of your possessions are lost/stolen, the first thing to do is report the lost items/theft immediately at the closest police station. A police report is needed for any insurance claims, so report a crime to the local police station.

Handling a medical emergency: Medical insurance will benefit you. In an event of an injury, you should get help from the nearest location and call an emergency number immediately. You should also get to a clinic/hospital as soon as possible to stabilise your condition.

Listen to Locals: Being in a place that is not familiar to you could expose you to risks and unsafe areas. It is important to listen to advice from people that are used to the area/country.

Always ask for inside info or handy tips. For the backpacking industry, this should be easy as the staff at the hostel are always willing to give the best information and recommendations of the area.

Plan your transport arrangements before you leave. If you decide to do Tours, go in a group and always let someone know which route you intend taking. Stay in well lit and well marked areas at night.

Travelling with everything prepared ensures maximum enjoyment and a worry-free journey.

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If you have any questions, or would like to add more items and advice to the above, please comment below.

(blog article composed by Insaaf Kamaldien, consultant at Baz Bus)