There is a regular pilgrimage between Johannesburg and Durban that since time immemorial has seen the Vaalies – or residents of the old Transvaal, present day Gauteng – who flood down to the south coast for the annual Christmas holidays. As a consequence this is one of the most heavily plied routes in South Africa, and there are no shortage of options to choose from.
All the leading internal air carriers in South Africa operate regular, non-stop scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Durban. These are:
The cheapest local carrier on this route was recently named as Mango although the other players are in close contention. British Airways is the priciest with South African Airways the runner up. Prices vary among operators between US$70 and US$120 so it pays to shop around.
>>South African Airlink offers a scheduled service to Margate Airport, which is a small domestic terminal adjacentto the South Coast resort of Margate
>> Durban international is due for a major relocation in time for the Fifa World Cup Soccer Tournament of 2010
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All the main overland and intercity coach and bus services work this route, and some of the best deals are found here. These are the main players:
The distance between Johannesburg and Durban is 518 km or 322 miles which, although not as long as the Cape Town Johannesburg Route, is still a long journey.
The bus ride either way between Durban and Johannesburg is long and direct with limited rest stops along the way. The journey takes about 8/9 hours and day and overnight services are available
Busses arrive and leave from Johannesburg at the main bus terminus situated at Gandhi Square in downtown Johannesburg and arrive and leave from the main bus terminus is Durban situated near the Workshop on Commercial Road in downtown Durban.
Prices vary between about US$50 and US$80 one way. Deals are available so shop around.
Baz Bus does the route, but thanks to its nature as a jump-off-jump-on tour bus option, it is not the best available deal on the road, with the price floating above US$100 for this trip. The Baz Bus coaches are also not ideally configured for long journeys, and being a stop/start type of trip it can take a long time.
The cheapest option for the Johannesburg/Durban Route is the Shosholoza Meyl intercity with consistently reasonably prices hovering at below US$20 for a one way economy ride. This is hard economy to beat.
- Bookings can be made 90-days in advance
- Fares in fact vary by month
- Travel is in a sleeper berth with a 2, 3, 4 or 6 berth capacity
- Couples can request berths in a 2-berth compartment
- Bedding (sheets, blankets, pillow, made up for you by the train attendant) is an extra US$5 or so per person. This is paid on the train
- Children up to 9 (inclusive) travel at half fare
- Returns are twice the one-way fare. There may be further reductions for students & seniors in off-peak periods, so ask when booking
- Cars can be transported
- Pets are not allowed on board, except guide dogs
Car hire remains the optimum way to travel in South Africa, and the road between Johannesburg and Durban follows the Midlands Meander route which is one of the loveliest road touring destinations in the world. En route you will find the Drakensberg and the Zululand Valley of a 1000 Hills. The area is filled with designer restaurants, lodges, small hotels and guest houses