Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
KwaZulu-Natal has an impressive network of tarred roads, most of which are well maintained. There are toll roads linking all major provinces and the income derived from these tolls goes towards the maintenance of these routes.
A private car is a must in Durban, as residential areas are in suburbs situated away from the city centers. If you choose not to purchase or import a vehicle, there are several options for hiring cars. There is also a variety of public transportation available, including Budget, Avis, Hertz and Tempest Rent-a-Car.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
You will need to have your foreign license verified at the embassy of the country of issue. If you are not in possession of a South African ID book, take your passport to the licensing department in your area and obtain a traffic registration certificate. This will enable you to apply for a South African driver’s license. To receive the card verifying your license status, take your driver’s license with 2 passport photos and your passport or ID book to a licensing center and complete the form. It will take approximately six weeks for you to receive your driver’s license. Insurance is not a requirement although it is always advisable.
What side of the road do people drive on?
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
There are 194 different bus operators in Durban, including the popular MYNAH bus. The MYNAH bus is a frequent and reliable service. MYNAH's 84 buses operate to and from South Beach, North Beach, Albert Park, Market, Morningside, Berea, Tollgate, Musgrave, Mitchell Park, Botanic Gardens, Ridge and Vause Road. Timetables are free and can be obtained from the Pine Street bus terminal. There are also several buses serving outlying areas and inter-city travel.
There are several companies offering commuter rail and inter-city travel services to Durban. These include: Banana Express, Durban Railway (Metrorail), Portnet (Port Authority) and Spoornet (formerly South African Rail).
When using taxis, it is recommended that you avoid minibuses, as they are not considered terribly safe. Far more reliable are taxis from the following services: Aussie’s Taxis, Eagle Radio Taxis, Checker Taxis and Swift Falcon Taxis.
Metro rail trains are used by many of the domestic workers and workers coming into town from various locations. This is not a very safe method of transport and it is advised that, whenever possible, you use other means of transport.
Durban has its own international airport. The national carrier is South African Airways.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
Durban International Airport has flights arriving from and departing to various international destinations frequently.
Inter-city coaches and trains are reasonably priced and depart daily for various destinations. Examples are: Banana Express, Durban Railway Station (Metrorail), Portnet – Port Authority and Spoornet.
There are bus services available to transport people from city to city. Examples include: Translux, Greyhound, Luxliner and Intercape.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Zero tolerance is permitted for traffic offenses in KwaZulu-Natal. Never stop to pick up hitchhikers or people flagging down motorists. Always drive with your doors locked and be constantly aware of your surroundings. It is advisable to have an anti-hijacking system installed in your car or another anti-theft device.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Flight tickets, inter-city bus trips and car hires can be booked and paid for over the phone with a credit card or at the point of departure. Travel agents also provide this service but will charge commission on the sale. To get around within the city, bus tickets are available on the bus itself, but train coupons must be purchased at the ticket office before boarding.
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