Perched on the southern end of what is surely the world’s most epic, unruly and beguiling continent, South Africa boasts a spectacular array of diversity and natural wonders.
And unlike some of its less developed neighbours, South Africa is also making efforts to capitalise on the burgeoning tourist market, including backpackers.
Essentially travellers are free to get on and off as many times as they want along the route without time constraints.
They will then be picked up and dropped off at the door of the various backpacker hostels along the route.
The aim is to take the hassle out of getting around, while at the same time allowing travellers a measure of independence and flexibility while on the road.
Following South Africa’s picturesque east coast, Baz Bus passes through a string of famous beachside towns, home to numerous resorts, hostels and adventure activities.
Dubbed the “Backpackers Route”, this is justifiably one of the most popular in South Africa.
Baz Bus was established in 1995 by Barry Zeidel, a qualified accountant and entrepreneur, who had previously backpacked around Europe using a similar service.
He was amazed at the benefits of the service, which cut out the stresses of driving a car in a strange country or pre-arranging complicated travel itineraries.
After returning to South Africa, he undertook intensive research into the backpacking industry in the country.
Most notably he identified that South Africa did not have a developed transport infrastructure, making it more difficult for backpackers to get around freely.
He set about creating his own reliable transport network, and today the company is a market leader in the backpacking industry, carrying some 10,000 independent travellers every year.
Baz Bus is a great way to meet other like-minded travellers and is ideal for the solo or first-time traveller, who wants to hit the ground running in a new country.
However, the Baz Bus model won’t be for everyone, with seasoned world travellers likely to eschew this safe, convenient style of travel.
Firmly off the tourism radar during its apartheid years, travellers are once again returning to South Africa in increasing numbers.
But for all of its world class attractions, South Africa remains deeply affected by poverty, the AIDS epidemic, racial inequality and violence.
To glimpse the full spectrum of this complex and intriguing country you’ll have to venture off the bus and stray beyond the well-trod paths.
the Experience Network