By train in South Africa, is it possible?

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East By train in South Africa, is it possible?

Last Post This thread is marked as being about South Africa
1. Posted by aggro (Budding Member 2 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hello guys!
I have a question for you. I wanna know if it's possible to go by train from Cape Town to either Port Elisabeth or East London. And I don't wanna go with those Luxury trains. Found the homepage for the other trains but the information wasn't good at all. So anyone of you done the trip and know how to book it?

2. Posted by Brerrabbit (Budding Member 15 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi there
There are no direct links between and Cape Town and Port Elizabeth ie along the southern coastline.

The route to PE and East London goes via Bloemfontein.
Here is the link you were looking for

Of course there is also the bazbus which you can use if u want to travel along the coastline.

The coastline would be my preferred route and a trip between CT and PE will take about 14 hours by bus and maybe less by car depending on where and how long you stop over.


3. Posted by Demian (Full Member 117 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Of course it is tempting to traintravel the way the locals do. More authentic, chance to meet local people, things like that. (Done it in Russia: for 7 euro's from st.Petersburg to Moscow. The best trainride I ever had, and teh most interesting conversations).

BUT, yes there's a very big but: At present, I am in South Africa for a couple of monts, and I would very much discourage taking the domestic trains now. Over the past weeks, tens of people have being tossed out of speeding trains, most of them died. Although this is believed to be connected to a strike of private security personell (and most victims were other security guards, not on strike), the public is advised not to take the trains. Even the railway operators (Spoornet/metrorail) urge people to find other means of transport for the duration of the strike (that can be another several months!!!)

So, please come to south africa, as it is an astonishing country, but don't take the train!!!!

N-joy SA! (when are you coming?)

4. Posted by mgregory (Budding Member 25 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


Train is the VERY LONG way arround - info at under passenger services

Also would recommend Baz Bus or other long distance buses out of CPT



5. Posted by strayalien (Budding Member 120 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I just got back from S.A. and would have to agree that taking the train is not a good idea at all.
You can get the Basbus but that is pretty expensive.
Have a look at the greyhound,translux or other coach companies they have a route from P.E or east london to Capetown...should only cost you a few hundred rand.
Or save yourself the 14 hour trip and fly look up 1 time or kuhulla(think thats how its spelt), S.A airlink or some of the other airlines...i got a quote for just over 400 rand one way.

6. Posted by djdeli (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Yup Yup Yup they are all right do the bus route along the coast let me know if you end up in slumis maybe i could organise a couple of nights accomadation living in London now but East Londo,Sa is my home town

7. Posted by flo jo (Respected Member 414 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

oups train trip in SA, I wont advise it. Been there a couple of time, first time I did it driving which was good because it was four of us, drop the cost.
The second time I used the bazbus, was really handy as it leaves you at the door of the hostels. However the drivers are terrible. We had some scary moment and did not believe we will finish the trip in one piece.
Last time I was in the garden route and used the greyhound, it was the most safer.

So if you manage a few of you I will say driving and by yourself the greyhound is the best.

8. Posted by Vlakvark (Budding Member 40 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hey Aggro,

I would'nt advise taking one of the trains at the moment, but I certainly would advise travelling on land. If you fly you will miss out on some of the most beautiful scenery in SA! Take the bus, or if your budget allows, hire a car and drive. Take some time out in Mossel Bay, Knysna (Beautiful!), Jeffreys bay etc. This is known as the garden route and you won't regret seeing it.


9. Posted by sawwa (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

As a local I would also recommend not taking short train trips, allthough the majority of problems are on rush hour trains around the major cities with employees travelling to work. These are domestic trains and not tourist friendly.

If you're taking a long trip it is really fine (see the Blue Train, Rovos Rail etc). Check out my site at and browse to the links page for the major train services.

Now that that's covered, I actually agree with the previous posts. You will see so much more of our beautiful country if you travel by rental car up the coast. The Garden Route is a spectacular drive. Let me know if you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them.