Solo Traveling to Cape Town by Bus

The Global Entity
e7s1 Solo Traveling To Cape Town By Bus

The Cape Town Dream

I’m sitting on one of Intercape’s Sleepliner buses, it’s early morning, the sun has just risen and I’ve got a 24 hour bus ride in front of me. I have a one way ticket to Cape Town and I am almost bouncing with excitement! It’s funny, I never really liked Cape Town. I’ve spent three different vacations there and even though it’s breathtakingly beautiful, like drop-dead-tear-shedding beautiful with its mountains and sea landscape, I never felt comfortable there. I never made any long lasting connections and never really found a spot to feel at home there. 

So why on earth would I be going back you might ask. At the beginning of the pandemic I started dreaming about Cape Town. The dreams weren’t remarkable at all but they were vivid! It was me, walking around in Cape Town with different friends, both old ones and unknown ones. No dream was ever in the same part of Cape Town and sometimes I even walked through areas and places that I’ve never visited in real life. Always with a sense of disbelief, surprise and comfort.

I might add, I rarely remember my dreams, maybe once in a blue moon I wake up knowing what I’ve dreamt but they disappear on me as soon as I’ve gotten out of bed. But the dreams of walking around in Cape Town stayed with me. Now I am so curious to explore this connection! Had it not been for the dance festival I might not have prioritized going to Cape Town but now, with all my previous dreams going to shit and the only marketed dance event in all of South Africa being in Cape Town, it feels like the only reasonable option.

Sitting on the bus to Cape Town, super nervous and excited!

The Mother City Dance Festival has only been done once before, right before the pandemic started, so I have no idea what to expect. From the information on the web page it is a dance  festival of salsa, kizomba and bachata. I also saw a few tango workshops and one called Bomba, I have no clue what that is but I am excited! I booked the bus so that I will arrive on the very day the festival’s first party starts. It is a bit risky but I am counting on being able to sleep on the bus.

Traveling without a car in South Africa is fairly uncomplicated, there are plenty of bus companies traveling through South Africa and even to other countries. For shorter trips one can always take a taxi which is a minibus and the foundation of South Africa’s unofficial public transport. Of course, one can always fly, but I would prefer not to… the environment pollution being one reason. Another reason I prefer going by bus is because I get to see the landscape, towns and cities that I travel through. But perhaps the biggest reason is that I enjoy slow traveling.

I was once told that it takes longer for the soul to arrive than the body when you travel and that, to me, makes a lot of sense. I always feel it takes me a couple of weeks to really land in a new place after flying, and just as I feel that I have arrived, fully, it is time to fly back home again. Therefore, and because I have the time, I prefer the bus.

Learning to listen to the Heart

There is a part of me that feels like I failed by leaving Durban, that I did not follow through on my objective of staying and building a place for myself there. I guess that is my ambitious, goal oriented Capricorn ascendent making itself known. On the other hand, I feel proud of daring to change my plans. I mean, for what would I stay? My main objective with this phase of my life is, after all, to find my purpose in life. Knowing myself, I know how easy it is to lose yourself in somebody else’s life and dreams, specifically if you are in love. It’s an even greater risk to do so when your are traveling since you are automatically outside of your comfort zone by being in a different country and hence crave and look for security – often thought to be found in romantic relationships. So, considering my desire to find my own path in life and wanting to learn to live from the heart, I think listening to my intuition is the only way to go. My intuition is telling me to go find the dance, stay open and to write about it, so that’s what I’m going to do. 


Top 5 Safety Hacks for Bus Travel in South Africa

1. Choose Wisely: Research reputable bus companies preferred by locals for reliability and punctuality.

2. Travel Smart: Driving during the day is safer in South Africa since the risk of road accidents and criminality increasing during the night. However, as a solo traveler, I feel it is a bigger risk arriving at the bus station at night. Hence, always opt for morning arrivals when you are traveling far by bus.

3. Socialize: Engage with fellow travelers for added security, ensuring someone notices your absence on the bus after a bathroom break.

4. Speak Up: Trust your instincts and vocalize any discomfort, especially concerning unwanted attention, knowing that assistance is readily available from fellow female passengers and bus staff. There is a lot of prejudice about the gender roles in this part of the world but my experience is that people are more prone to react and help you here. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help!

5. Plan Ahead: Contact your accommodation beforehand for the safest transportation options from the bus station, often they offer their own pick up service.


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