A city famous for its spectacular beauty and eclectic population, Cape Town draws in plenty of visitors from all over the world. Upon arrival in the Mother City, you will find several places from which to rent cars just outside of the airport. However, if you don’t plan on renting a car and would rather explore Cape Town via other means of transport, check out the following ways to travel around the city.
City Sightseeing Bus
Starting from the space in front of the Two Oceans Aquarium near the Waterfront, big red City Sightseeing buses have become an extremely popular mode of tourist transportation. The buses are double-decker, allowing visitors stunning sights of Cape Town’s beautiful surrounds and iconic landmarks. Once boarded, you can plug your complimentary earphones into your seat outlet and be treated to a recorded talking tour that provides fascinating information of each area you pass (available in six different languages). If you see a particular place you’d like to spend some time exploring, you can simply hop out when the bus comes to a stop, and catch another bus that comes to the same pick-up point later on. There are three tours to choose from: a city tour, a mini-peninsula tour, or a wine tour, each boasting their own unique adventures.
You can have a look at the exact routes, rates and times of these buses here.
The Southern Line Rail Route
Though the railway system in the Mother City is mostly concentrated on the transportation of daily commuters, the Southern Line Rail Route (stretching from Cape Town to Simon’s Town) is a fantastic option for visitors to the city, providing a marvelous opportunity to admire the fascinating and ever-changing landscape of the region. The train makes stops at numerous stunning suburbs and seaside villages en route, and is very reasonably priced. The train passes through the green southern suburbs like Newlands, where the rugby and cricket stadiums are located, as well as the renowned Cavendish Shopping Centre. When you reach Muizenberg the scent of the ocean will refresh your senses, and with the rail line running along the edge of the ocean, you’ll feel like you’re riding on the sea itself, with spectacular views of the coves and beaches that are dotted along the coastline. Bear in mind that the trains are not always on schedule, so take this into consideration if planning a day trip. You can also purchase a daily pass (“Hop-on-Hop-off Ticket”) that is operational from 10h00-16h00 each day, allowing you to make stops at places you’d like to spend more time exploring, just like the Sightseeing Bus!
The MyCiti Bus is one of Cape Town’s biggest steps forward in terms of reliable public transport, dramatically enhancing the experience of exploring the Mother City by bus. Offering people from all over an inexpensive, yet quality way of travelling, the MyCiti Bus has fast become a favourite amongst the public. You can catch one of these big blue buses at various points around the city, but you will first need to purchase a cheap ‘myconnect’ bus card from the main station at the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard, or from participating retailers in the area. After you’ve loaded your card with enough travel credit, you are ready to hit the town and venture out into the beauty of Cape Town. There is a multitude of routes to choose from that lead you all over the city.
Visit their website for more information.
If you can’t afford to rent out a Harley Davidson for your stay in Cape Town, or would just generally prefer a more economical way to travel, try your hand at cycling! Bicycling through Cape Town can be one of the most rewarding experiences, not just in terms of getting fit, but also because it gives you the ability to travel through areas you wouldn’t have thought of before, allowing for fascinating sights. You can cycle almost anywhere you want in Cape Town, but keep in mind that bicycles are not allowed on suburban trains – they are, however, permitted on MyCiti buses. Have a look at some of the following places if you’re thinking about renting out your own bicycle:
Atlantic Tourist Information Centre: 021-434 2382 (243 Main Rd, Sea Point) – R85/195 per day
Cape Info Africa: 021-425 6461, Website (32 Napier St, Waterkant) – R85 per day
Downhill Adventures: 021-422 0388, Website (Orange St, Gardens) – R100 per day
Homeland Shuttle & Tours: 021-426 0294, 083 265 6661, Website (305 Long St, City Bowl) – R80 per day
Walking is a far more economical way to adventure through Cape Town, promoting a fantastically healthy way of exploring the city that allows for completely unique tours of places you can’t access any other way. The heart of the city, or ‘the City Bowl’, is easy to navigate through on foot, but walking around the periphery at night is not advisable as the areas can be quite dangerous. Luckily though, the city centre, V&A Waterfront, and Oceanside promenades make for great walking adventures and are all relatively safe thanks to the efforts of local initiatives and authorities. Some general safety tips for strolling through the city are to simply avoid dark, isolated areas, don’t walk alone, and keep your wits about you at all times. If you find yourself lost at any point, find a police or traffic officer to assist you, or locate the nearest store or petrol station for directions or to call a cab.
Monarch Tukski offers people a unique way to travel through the city centre in style, with Cape Town’s newest and greener mode of transport – tuk-tuks! These three-wheeled travel pods are quite common in certain places overseas, but have only recently been introduced to the South African transport scene. The rides cost very little compared to normal cab companies, but will take slightly longer as the tuk-tuks can only travel up to about 60km/hour. Because of their relatively slow pace, consider taking along a camera and a drink with which to enjoy the full beauty of your surrounds as you putter along the city’s roads in one of these fantastic novelties!
Check out their website for more information.