Comprehensive Guide: Traveling from Cape Town to Johannesburg via Plane, Train, Bus, and Car




Traveling from Cape Town to Johannesburg offers a journey filled with diverse landscapes and transportation options. Whether you prefer the speed of a plane, the scenic route of a train, the affordability of a bus, or the flexibility of a car, each mode of transportation provides a unique experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the journey from Cape Town to Johannesburg by plane, train, bus, and car, highlighting the pros, cons, and essential details of each option. for Tourist visa tips click here



Flying from Cape Town to Johannesburg is the quickest option, with several flights available daily. Major airlines like South African Airways, Mango Airlines, and Kulula operate frequent flights between the two cities, offering flexibility in terms of departure times and prices. The flight duration is approximately two hours, making it ideal for safari fly in travelers with limited time or those seeking convenience.


Pros of Flying:

  1. Speed: Flying is the fastest way to travel between Cape Town and Johannesburg, saving you valuable time.
  2. Convenience: With multiple flights throughout the day, you can choose a departure time that suits your schedule.
  3. Comfort: Modern aircraft offer comfortable seating and amenities, ensuring a pleasant journey.


Cons of Flying:

  1. Cost: Airfare can be more expensive compared to other modes of transportation, especially if booked last minute or during peak travel seasons.
  2. Airport Logistics: Airport transfers, security checks, and waiting times can add to the overall travel time.
  3. Limited Views: While flying provides aerial views, passengers miss out on the opportunity to see the landscapes up close.



Traveling by train from Cape Town to Johannesburg offers a scenic route through South Africa’s picturesque landscapes. The Shosholoza Meyl operates long-distance train services, including the Premier Classe and Economy Class, providing passengers with different levels of comfort and amenities. The journey takes approximately 25 to 27 hours, allowing travelers to relax and enjoy the countryside.


Pros of Train Travel:

  1. Scenic Views: Train journeys offer breathtaking views of South Africa’s diverse terrain, including mountains, vineyards, and grasslands.
  2. Comfortable Accommodations: Premier Classe cabins feature comfortable beds, dining cars, and lounge areas, enhancing the overall travel experience.
  3. Relaxed Atmosphere: Train travel provides a leisurely pace, allowing passengers to unwind and socialize with fellow travelers.


Cons of Train Travel:

  1. Time-Consuming: The journey by train takes significantly longer compared to other modes of transportation, requiring an overnight stay on board.
  2. Limited Departure Times: Train schedules may not always align with travelers’ preferences, requiring flexibility in planning.
  3. Potential Delays: Train services may experience delays due to various factors, impacting the overall travel schedule.



For budget-conscious travelers, taking a bus from Cape Town to Johannesburg is a cost-effective option. Several bus companies, including Intercape, Greyhound, and Citiliner, operate daily services between the two cities, offering comfortable seating and onboard amenities. The bus journey typically takes around 18 to 20 hours, making it longer than flying but more affordable for those willing to trade time for savings.


Pros of Bus Travel:

  1. Affordability: Bus tickets are often more budget-friendly compared to flights or train tickets, making it accessible to a wider range of travelers.
  2. Flexible Departure Times: Bus companies offer multiple departure times throughout the day, providing flexibility in travel planning.
  3. Onboard Amenities: Many buses are equipped with amenities such as reclining seats, air conditioning, and onboard restrooms, ensuring passenger comfort during the journey.


Cons of Bus Travel:

  1. Longer Travel Time: The bus journey from Cape Town to Johannesburg is longer compared to flying or driving, requiring patience and endurance.
  2. Potential Discomfort: While buses provide basic amenities, long hours of sitting may lead to discomfort for some passengers.
  3. Limited Legroom: Seating space on buses may be limited, especially for taller passengers, affecting overall comfort during the journey.



Driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg offers the flexibility to explore various attractions along the route at your own pace. The journey covers approximately 1,400 kilometers and takes around 14 to 16 hours, depending on the chosen route and driving conditions. Travelers can opt for the scenic Garden Route or the more direct N1 highway, each offering its own highlights and attractions.


Pros of Car Travel:

  1. Flexibility: Driving allows travelers to customize their itinerary, making stops at scenic viewpoints, charming towns, and cultural landmarks along the way.
  2. Independence: With a car, travelers have the freedom to travel on their own schedule, without being bound by fixed departure times or schedules.
  3. Exploration Opportunities: Having a self-drive journey through South Africa’s diverse landscapes provides an opportunity to experience the country’s natural beauty and cultural diversity up close.


Cons of Car Travel:

  1. Fatigue: Long hours of driving can lead to driver fatigue, requiring rest breaks and overnight stays to ensure safety.
  2. Fuel and Maintenance Costs: While driving provides independence, it also comes with expenses such as fuel, tolls, and vehicle maintenance.
  3. Traffic and Road Conditions: Depending on the route and time of travel, drivers may encounter heavy traffic or road construction, affecting travel time and comfort.



Traveling from Cape Town to Johannesburg offers a variety of transportation options, each with its own advantages and considerations. Whether you prioritize speed, affordability, comfort, or flexibility, there is a mode of transportation to suit your preferences and travel style. By understanding the pros, cons, and essential details of flying, taking the train, riding the bus, or driving by car, travelers can make informed decisions to ensure a memorable and enjoyable journey across South Africa’s vibrant landscapes.

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