Getting between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth is the second city of the Eastern Cape province, and although not technically a feature of the famed Garden Route, it is nonetheless on the eastern extremity of this most lovely region of South Africa. This is the Windy City, a mecca for aquatic sports and one of the liveliest and most energetic cities in South Africa.
Three South African internal domestic flight carriers offer direct scheduled flights between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. These are :
1Time Kalula.com South African Airways
Kalula.com has the record of offering the cheapest option on this flight, but expect to pay between US$60 and US$80 for a one way connection at economy rates.
All the main inter-city coach operators offer a version of this popular route, and some of the best price deals are to be found here. These are:
TransLux InterCape Greyhound City to City (no frills coach booked thru TransLux) SA Roadlink (super luxury coaches) Citiliner
Daylight and overnight services are available. Bearing in mind this coach journey follows more or less the Garden Route it certainly makes sense if possible to book a daylight version.
Expect to pay between US$35 and US$55 for this journey.
The distance between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is 661 kms or 411 miles. The bus route usually takes about 13/14 hours to complete with up to 20 stops en-route. The usual stops are: Belville, Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Caledon, Riviersonderend, Swellendam, Slangrivier, Heidelberg, Riversdale, Albertina, Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Storms River, Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay.
>>Some scheduled departures stop more frequently than others, so it is worth enquiring as to the option that suits you best
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. 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 upside of a Baz Bus option is that the pick up and drop off can be at any one of 189 different hospitality establishments situated in Stellenbosch, Swellendam, Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Buffalo Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Natures Valley, Storms River and Jeffreys Bay.
So even if it might take a week to get from one city to the other, it will be an excellent week spent cruising some of the most laid-back backpackers lodges and hostels in the world.
The only scheduled train service between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are Premier Class services, and these depart infrequently from Cape Town on Fridays and from Port Elizabeth on Sundays. Both call in at Outshoorn.
Expect to pay US$83 to US$135 for a premier Class connection between these two cities.
Bearing in mind that the Eastern Cape is home to the Garden Route, which as the name implies is a road touring route of superb beauty and diversity, this obviously is the time to hire a car and get on the road. The Cape is filled with picturesque towns and hamlets, scenic byways, lodges, hotels, guest houses and vineyards, so a more rewarding journey would be hard to find.
>>There are so many potential local variations to choose from it is worthwhile researching in advance which would suit you best