The Baz Bus is a hop-on hop-off bus service from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Durban, Port Elizabeth and many other towns (more than 40 in total), stopping at many backpacker hostels on the way. Not only is it convenient for anybody wanting to see the South Africa, but you also travel with like-minded crazed backpackers and the middle-aged carefree and get driven right to the door of your youth hostel (in South African that is the safe way to travel).
3 September 2013 : WiFi is introduced on Baz Buses
1 Jul 2008 : The price of a 7 day pass is increased from R1020 to R1200.
Feb 2006 : Baz Bus introduces a 21 day travel pass.
Sep 2005: Baz Bus starts renting cellphones in South Africa.
Nov 2004: Baz Bus introduces 7 day and 21 day travel passes, allowing travellers to start anywhere and travel in any direction (including backtracking).
Feb 1999: A 4 times a week Baz Bus service is introduced from Johannesburg and Pretoria to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).
1996: A Baz Bus slowed down outside the President Nelson Mandela's Transkei home to show passengers where he lives. "This time, the president was actually standing there. Nobody could believe it at first. They waved to him, he waved back, and so everyone approached. His guards refused at first to let us through, but then he came over and greeted us. He saw the passengers were all young foreigners and he said warmly, 'Welcome to South Africa', and chatted for a while and everyone took pictures. It was a memorable day for everyone." Barry Zeidel
Dec 1995: Barry Zeidel, a retired backpacker and chartered accountant, founds Baz Bus. Zeidel was inspired by his trips around the UK with a similar company called "Slow Coach".
It is more expensive than taking a Greyhound or Intercape Bus between cities, but Greyhound and Intercape buses don't operate a hop-on hop-off system.
At peak times, you have to book your seat well ahead, as the Baz buses fill up quickly, limiting your spontaneity.
The Baz buses are a little more cramped than Intercape and Greyhound busses.
You get to meet other backpackers, including possibly your future husband/wife (has happened!) and depending on the mood, teach each other obscure drinking games.
Baz Bus will take you straight to your backpacker youth hostel (no need to carry bags between hostels and train or bus stations)
No need to do route planning and buy maps.
You can snog and doze away whilst someone else does the driving.
You can spontaneously decide to jump off at any town on route, should you see a place that inspires you to do so.
There is an onboard video player.
No need to rent a car, navigate on your own and possibly get lost. This saves fuel costs and reduces your carbon footprint. If you're a boozer, then you can drink and let the driver drive.
Baz Bus increases their prices annually on 1 July.
On a time limit? A travel pass ticket is valid for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days (starting on the day of your travel). You can travel in any direction you want as often as you want during the validity period.
You buy one ticket to your final destination, can hop on and hop off the bus at many times as you want on the way to your destination, and there is no time limit.
It's all about the fun and the views in this day tour through the Cape Peninsula which includes cycling (some fourty minutes) and hiking (some fourty five minutes).
Flexi tours provide you with a combination of a hop-on-hop-off Baz Bus ticket, and various cultural tours, including a safari.
From Johannesburg to Cape Town via Drakensberg
From Cape Town to Johannesburg via Drakensberg
From Port Elizabeth to Cape Town
From Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
From Durban to Cape Town
From Cape Town to Durban
The Baz Bus stops at over 180 youth hostels in over 40 towns, including Pretoria, Johannesburg, Umkomaas, Umzumbe, Port St Johns, Umtata, Port Alfred, Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay, Storms River, Nature's Valley, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay and Swellendam.
You can book your Baz Bus ticket at www.bazbus.com
The Baz Bus phone number is 021 422 5202 (or +27-21-422-5202 from phones outside South Africa), the Baz Bus fax number is 021 422 4533 (+27 21 422 4533) and the Baz Bus email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baz Bus's physical address is:
32 Burg Street
Western Cape Province
Baz Bus's busses have on-board TV & videos in their 22- seater VW Crafters buses.
Unlike the more staid options like Intercity or Greyhounds busses, the Baz Bus doesn't bat an eyelid at carting along guitars, surfboards and bicycles (they pull a trailer).
"Apart from being experienced at handling long distances, it is also a requirement that our drivers are extremely friendly. They talk to passengers and give them information about places to go. We also have information files on the buses for travellers, with suggested day trips in different areas and things that can be done, such as hiring bicycles and cycling to certain landmarks," Barry Zeidel (Baz Bus founder).
"Why Baz? Apparently, this is what Antipodeans nickname people called Barry and the name stuck after he travelled with Aussies." Barry Zeidel, the Baz Bus founder.
Purchase a good comfortable backpack. Ensure that the backpack is made of heavy-duty nylon and has alloy strips for support. Ensure that your backpack has a small day-pack which zips on to the main bag.
Pack light, but keep clothes for looking cleaner and neater when you cross borders.
Decent hiking boots and sandals are essential
Buy the best sleeping bag you can afford.
Make arrangements to keep in contact with somebody from home. Travel with an emergency number (in case something happens to you the emergency number may be contacted).
Purchase a money belt and keep it glued to your body, also keep your passport and plane ticket in there.
Get a credit card as a back-up for emergencies.
If you are travelling across several countries check what currencies you'll need (other than Europe, often the US dollar is the best form of currency) and esnure that you have dollars in hard currency and in small denominations.