Public transport is dissapointing in South Africa, and Cape
Town is unfortunately no better. We have busses and taxi’s
but their routes and times are very limited. Trains are not
recommended at all as they have a very bad safety reputation.
If you must travel by train it is advised that you travel
1st class. It is not a lot more expensive than 2nd or 3rd
class, but is far more safer.
Mini-bus taxi’s are often very convenient for short
distances, but they do not follow road rules and therefore
could endanger your life. But hey, if you like a rush you
can try them out. Otherwise use them only during daytime,
if you have no other transport option and if you are in a
group of two or more people.
Buying own vehicle
Buying a second-hand car is a good option when staying a
few months. You can keep it during your visit and sell it
again when you leave. Often you can get your money back, but
more than often you will lose a small portion on the deal
- but this is not a big price to pay for the usage of the
vehicle during your stay.
Beware of private sales – often someone is trying to
make a quick buck and will sell a poor quality vehicle to
an unsuspecting visitor. Buy from other students or people
that you know, or buy a cheapy from a second-hand car dealer.
There are many second-hand car dealers in Cape Town who usually
sell pretty good cars (for instance in Koeberg Road). They
will sell you road worthy vehicles that are licensed and registered
in your name. Often they come with a one month guarantee as
well. This is the safe and recommended option when chosing
to buy your own car. Please note that insurance on a vehicle
is not required by law in South Africa, but it is recommended
to protect your investment.
You can also buy a car through Drive Africa http://www.driveafrica.co.za
as an alternative option. When you are done they will buy
your car back from you at an agreed-upon percentage of what
you initially paid.
German cars are good options - my personal favourites are
the old Mercedes Benz models (1980 – 1986). But test
drive a vehicle before you buy it. Make sure that the body
looks ok, has little rust, relative low mileage and does not
smoke when you drive it.
Renting a vehicle - read
Remember to apply for your International
Drivers permit before leaving your country, as you will not
be able to obtain it once you’re in South Africa.