Staff Reporter: Robert Salome
How many of you dream about packing a bag a nd taking a trip around South Africa - without having to own a car?
Well, there is a South African Company which could help you realise the dream. Baz Bus was set up five years ago by Barry Zeydel of Sea Point. He travelled around and asked tourists what they thought oftransport in his native country. Predictably, the answer he got from most was unreliable and often unsafe, and rental cars were too expensive.
So Mr Zeydel bought two buses which transport thousands of people throughout the country, from Cape Town to Johannesburg, or vice versa, via Swaziland or the Drakensberg. Tourists can disembark at any of the 30 to 40 stopsbetween the two major cities and stay for as long as they like.
"Baz Bus is still the only organisation in South Africa that allows people to get on and off where ever they want, without a time limit. The ticket is valid for about three years. It only becomes invalid when you reach your final destination," says Yael van der Heyden the company's marketing manager.
"When you want to leave just call the hotline 24 hours in advance and you'll get picked up from your hostel. "We service about 180 hostels throughout the country and we drop you right at the door, so it's a very safe option,"Ms Van der Heyden says.
She also encouraged locals to use Baz Bus to see their country. However she said it was sometimes tricky as some of the hostels woudn't take South African's And Renee Venter Who's the marketing consultant at the SA YouthHostel Association, confirms that most of the approximately 400 hostels in South Africa are not too happy to recieve locals.
Ms Van der Heyden also said Baz Bus wasn't out to make a quick buck. "We're here to promote backpacking in South Africa. We have thick files on our buses filled with information about the various towns and cities," she said
Ms Van der Heyden cited a few more advantages of using this mode of transport. "You get to meet lots of great people and you don't have to worry about getting lost or running out of petrol."
For more information contact Baz Bus company on 439 2323 or Hostelling International South Africa on 424 2511.