A South African Road Trip – The Logistics
My plan after landing in South Africa was to spend the next 8 days travelling down South Africa’s Eastern Coast from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
How I got around: I landed into Johannesburg, after loosing a day due to delayed flights. The good thing about Johannesburg airport is, as a person with a disability you get an assigned ‘helper’, so while I was running around trying to sort out my flights, my helper was following me around with my bags. After sorting everything out I then caught a plane to Port Elizabeth to commence my road trip.
The most common way for backpackers to get around South Africa is the Baz Bus . The Baz Bus is a hop on – hop off again bus that travels down South African Eastern Coast all the way from Johanesburg to Capetown. There are a variety of different passes you can purchase. Some are time dependent, or you can also buy an unlimited pass. The bus only travels to certain towns on certain days, so I would advise planning your route before hand otherwise you end up getting stuck at some places for an extra day. You also have to let the company know 2 days in advance when you are next going to get on the bus so you can reserve your spot. This does take the flexibility out of travel a little bit.
The bus does not have accessible access (it’s a mini bus so has about two small steps). However the drivers are super helpful and are more than happy to help. The bus has a little trailer to carry all the luggage and this was perfect as it meant that there was space for my wheelchair. One of the problems with the Baz Bus as a wheelchair user, is that once the bus drops you off, it drives away and if your hostel is inaccessible you are kinda stuck (this happened to me twice)
Accommodation – Compared to European hostels, South African hostels definitely do not have the same standard of accessibility. I called all hostels in advance to see if they were accessible and all of them said they were to an extent. However when I arrived almost every hostel had an accessibility issue, some were workable some definitely were not. When I got to my fourth stop the hostel was completely inaccessible but the bus had already left. Luckily my parents were doing the exact same route as me so I gave them a ring and decided that after 3 months of backpacking I had had enough and spent the rest of the time in hotels, air bnbs, guest houses etc.
My other top tip – You can pick up a free ‘Coast to Coast’ guide book at any backpacker hostel on your route. It is an incredibly concise and informative guide for anyone travelling around Southern Africa.
Below is a quick overview of the places we stopped along the way. I will cover it in more detail in the next post.
Port Elizabeth 1 night
Jeffery’s Bay 3 nights
Storms River – 1 night
Wilderness 1 night
Barrydale 1 night
Pringle Bay 1 night
Cape Town !!!