There are a variety of airlines that fly to South Africa. We recommend flying into Johannesburg OR Tambo International.
We currently do not recommend flying with South African Airways as the future of this airline is not certain.
Most volunteers arrive in Johannesburg, spend a night and catch the bus to Polokwane the following day. We will collect you the following day from Polokwane International Airport or Bus Station and transfer you to the research centre from there.
Usually your flight will not arrive in time to catch a bus to Polokwane on the same day, so you will likely need to stay overnight.
If you would like to stay in Johannesburg, we recommend the Shoestring Airport Lodge (www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Shoestrings-Airport-Lodge/Johannesburg/4821). You can contact the owner, Rob, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 975 0474/082 262 9299. The hostel is close to the airport and provides free airport transfers and will arrange a taxi to take you to the Park Station bus station/Gautrain the next morning.
Alternatively you can stay in Pretoria. In Pretoria one of the safest parts of the city is Hatfield. Here, we recommend 1322 Backpackers which is close to the Hatfield Gautrain Station. You can make a booking using their Online Enquiry (www.1322backpackers.com). To get here from the airport use the Gautrain (follow signs in the airport to the Gautrain) are get off at Hatfield. You can arrange with the hostel a pick up from Hatfield Station when you arrive. The hostel will also arrange a taxi for you to Pretoria Bus Station the following morning (from around R50-100), or they can take you back to the Gautrain where you need to travel one stop to Pretoria station.
You can catch the Gautrain directly from the airport. If using the Gautrain you will first need to buy a gold card from a machine and load credit onto your card at the same time. The price from the airport to Pretoria or Hatfield stations is R174 for a single trip (these prices are subject to change, for up to date information on fares you can check the website http://join.gautrain .co.za/Fares.aspx). For Pretoria/Hatfield you will need to take the yellow airport line towards Sandton, change lines at Marlboro, and then get on the red north-south commuter line towards Hatfield.
To get to Pretoria Bus Station from the Gautrain you need to get off at Pretoria. Leave the Gautrain station and take a left, then walk about 100 metres to the bus station.
Once in Johannesburg/Pretoria you will need to take a coach to Polokwane (also known as Pietersburg). We recommend the City to City or Translux bus companies because they are safe, reliable and affordable. You should book a bus ticket in advance of your travels (i.e. about two weeks in advance), as the buses can be full if you arrive at the bus station without a ticket. You departure station will either be Park Station Johannesburg or Pretoria Station (depending on where you overnight), and your destination is Polokwane. You can use your passport number as your ID when booking the ticket. Bus tickets can be booked at https://www.greyhound.co.za/, http://www.translux.co.za/ or http://www.citytocity.co.za/. The cost of a one way ticket is around R210, but this constantly varies.
When you arrive in Polokwane we will pick you up from here and transport you to the research centre. This transfer is included in the rent you pay, and has no additional cost. You will have the opportunity to do grocery shopping once you arrive, before you are transferred to the research centre.