The complete guide for bus travel between Johannesburg and Cape Town

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Travelling by bus in South Africa allows you to view the beautiful scenery from the bus. Bus travel is typically cheaper than flying and driving. If you like bus travel or want to maximise your budget, you have several options when travelling by bus between Johannesburg and Cape Town

Johannesburg to Cape Town buses

In South Africa, several bus companies offer bus transport from Johannesburg to Cape Town. These companies include InterCape, Eagle Liner, Eldo Coaches, Intercity and BazBus. They provide different bus routes from Johannesburg to Cape Town. In this post, we consider the options to travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town by bus.

The Johannesburg to Cape Town bus route

There are different bus routes between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Each bus company may offer different routes. If the route and its stops are important to you but not shown on the company’s website, it may be best to call the bus company directly before making a booking. The direct route is the shortest bus route from Johannesburg to Cape Town travels via Bloemfontein. Two other bus routes from Johannesburg to Cape Town are available – these involve travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Kimberley or Upington.

BazBus is different from regular bus companies. BazBus travels from Johannesburg to Durban. From Durban, it goes to Port Elizabeth before going to Cape Town. 

Free State scene from a South African road trip
Free State scene from a South African road trip

How many hours does it take to travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town with a bus?

The duration of a trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town depends on the route chosen and the traffic in bigger cities. The quickest trip by regular bus from Johannesburg to Cape Town is offered by several bus companies (InterCape, Eagle Liner, Eldo Coaches and InterCity Liners). It takes about 17 hours. The longest bus route from Johannesburg to Cape Town takes 26 hours and is offered by InterCape. The BazBus route takes several days from Johannesburg to Cape Town as it includes compulsory overnight stops in both Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Johannesburg to Cape Town bus tickets and prices

The different bus companies offer different prices for the different routes they offer for travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The table below estimates the bus price – always remember that peak times will have higher ticket prices. The prices below are for a random date selected (17 May 2021) for a one-way ticket. Similar to flights, return tickets are usually cheaper than buying two one way tickets.

Bus companyRand Price (ZAR)USD Price
Eagle LinersR450 – R520$30.35 – $35
InterCity R550$37
InterCapeR350 – R650$23.60 – $43.83
Eldo CoachesR450$30.35
BazBusR6 900$465
1 ZAR = 0.0674 USD

Where to buy the bus tickets for travel between Johannesburg and Cape Town

All 5 companies allow online bookings on their website. You can also buy bus tickets from any of the 4 bus companies using an aggregator site, such as BusBud. or you can also purchase tickets online from Computickets (only some bus companies), but you need to fetch the physical ticket from a Computicket office. You can buy some regular bus tickets at specific supermarkets such as Checkers/Shoprite and Spar. Be careful and make sure you buy the right ticket for the particular bus company and route you want.

Options for bus tickets from Johannesburg to Cape Town

The bus companies differ in terms of the number of trips each offers daily, as can be seen from the table below:

Bus companyNumber of trips
Eagle Liners2
InterCity1
InterCape22
Eldo Coaches2
BazBus1

The different bus companies offer trips at different times of the day. Let’s explore the times of their trips.

Eagle Liner from Johannesburg to Cape Town

Eagle Liner has two trips per day (13:00 and 19:15) from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Eldo Coaches from Johannesburg to Cape Town

Eldo Coaches has two trips per day as well (13:00 and 19:00).

InterCity from Johannesburg to Cape Town

Intercity has one trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town daily (11:30).

InterCape from Johannesburg to Cape Town

The InterCape company offers the widest variety of bus trips and bus routes on any given day, with more than 20 different bus trips to choose from. InterCape offers so many trips because they provide different bus routes between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

BazBus from Johannesburg to Cape Town

BazBus only offers one trip on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. They leave at 7:30 on each of these days.

Please note that due to Covid 19, bus schedules may be affected.

Cape Town to Johannesburg bus tickets and prices

The same bus companies offer trips from Cape Town to Johannesburg. As with travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town, the different bus companies’ prices differ between bus routes. The table below gives estimates of the bus prices. Bear in mind that ticket prices may be higher during peak times of the year. The prices below are for a random date selected (17 May 2021).

Bus companyRand Price (ZAR)USD Price
Eagle LinersR450 – R520$30.35 – $35
InterCity R550$37
InterCapeR350 – R650$23.60 – $43.83
Eldo CoachesR450$30.35
BazBusR6 900$465
1 ZAR = 0.0674 USD

Options for bus tickets from Cape Town to Johannesburg

The different bus companies offer trips at different times of the day. The table below summarises the number of trips provided by each company.

Bus companyNumber of trips
Eagle Liners2
InterCity1
InterCape22
Eldo Coaches2
BazBus1

Let’s explore each company’s specific times for travel from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

Eagle Liner from Cape Town to Johannesburg

Eagle Liner has two trips per day (12:30 and 17:00).

Eldo Coaches from Cape Town to Johannesburg

Eldo Coaches has two trips per day as well (13:00 and 18:30).

InterCity from Cape Town to Johannesburg

Intercity has one trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg daily (19:00).

InterCape from Cape Town to Johannesburg

The InterCape bus company offers the widest variety of bus trips and bus routes on any given day, with more than 20 different bus trips to choose from. They offer many trips because they provide separate trips for their different bus routes between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

BazBus from Cape Town to Johannesburg

BazBus leaves from Cape Town to Johannesburg only once every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:15.

To book bus tickets with any of the bus companies mentioned in this post, click here: Eagle Liners | InterCity | InterCape | Eldo Coaches | BazBus

What to consider when booking a bus ticket for travel between Johannesburg to Cape Town

Consider these items when travelling by bus between Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Transport to and from bus departure and arrival points

Most of these bus trips use Park Station in Johannesburg and the Long Distance Bus Facility in Cape Town’s Marine Drive. Some routes do offer other stops in Johannesburg or Cape Town, be sure to confirm the route and where you want to disembark beforehand. The BazBus service provides shuttles to and from specific hotels listed.

Consider each bus company’s different ticket options

Each bus company offers differentiated ticket options. Let’s see what they are:

InterCape

InterCape has the most extensive range of routes and ticket options on offer. They have the following ticket options:

  • Saver: You can cancel tickets up to 48 hours before a trip at a fee of 25% of the ticket price. You can change your trip date up to 15 minutes before a trip at a fee of 25% of the ticket price, and you will have to pay in if the new ticket price costs more. No discounts on these tickets are available, and you cannot reserve your seat on the bus beforehand. 
  • Flexi: You can cancel tickets up to 24 hours before a trip at a fee of 15% of the ticket price. You can change your trip date up to 15 minutes before a trip at a fee of 15% of the ticket price, and you will have to pay in if the new ticket price costs more than the original ticket. Discounts on these tickets are available, and on specific routes you can reserve your seat on the bus beforehand.
  • Full-flexi: You can cancel tickets up to 12 hours before a trip at a fee of 10% of the ticket price. You can change your trip date up to 15 minutes before a trip at a fee of 10% of the ticket price, and you will have to pay in if the new ticket price costs more than the original ticket. Discounts on these tickets are available, and on specific routes you can reserve your seat on the bus beforehand.

InterCity and Eagle Liners

These bus companies offer the same ticket options. All tickets include air conditioning, charging ports and onboard entertainment. The main differences between the ticket options are:

  • Economy: This class of ticket offers semi-reclining seats. This ticket does not include onboard toilets.
  • Luxury: The luxury tickets have reclining seats. This ticket offers onboard toilets.

There are more economical than luxury seats available on each trip, and unless you book in advance, you may not be able to choose your class of ticket.

Eldo Coaches & BazBus

These two companies do not offer different types of tickets.

Karoo scene from a road trip through South Africa
Karoo scene from a road trip through South Africa

Safety while travelling by bus in South Africa

It would be best if you kept an eye on your luggage when the bus driver loads it onto or off the bus. Thieves will look out for unattended luggage. Most of the bus trips between Cape Town and Johannesburg will be overnight journeys. Make sure to keep your valuables safe at night. Sitting near the front of the bus may feel safer.

The bus routes are not flexible

The bus routes are fixed. Although the bus companies offer different routes between Cape Town and Johannesburg, the stops are pre-determined. The bus driver will not consider detours or deviations from the set route.

Consider your transport options in your destination

Make sure you know how you will travel from the bus stop at your destination to your accommodation. Both Johannesburg and Cape Town have taxis and Uber services you can use.

Take snacks and drinks with you

The buses stop for breaks while en route, but these are short and may not give you time to purchase drinks or snacks before the bus leaves again, especially if everyone on the bus has the same idea.

bus travel between johannesburg and cape town pin 1
bus travel between johannesburg and cape town pin 2
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By Sunelle

Editor of the South Africa Travel Blog that focuses on travel to South Africa, including destinations, attractions, accommodation, food & drink.

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