Cape Town is a frustrating city to navigate, purely
because there is hardly any efficient public transport to speak
of. That and the fact that there is a huge mountain right in the
middle of the city can make getting around quite a overwhelming
task for the tourist. Cape Town is, nevertheless, equipped with
some trains and buses. Metro
Transport Info (telephone: (0800) 656 463) provides centralised
information on all buses, trains and taxis.
(telephone: (021) 449 4210 or (083) 123 7245) runs the suburban
network of trains, consisting of 5 routes, which serve
4 defined areas, Area South (including the Cape Flats and the Simon’s
Town line via Wynberg, Newlands, Claremont and Rondebosch), Area
Ikapa (Cape Town and city destinations), Area Central (including
Langa and Khayelitsha) and Area North (including Bellville, Wellington,
Stellenbosch and Strand).
The Cape Town Simon’s Town route, which traverses the coastline,
just metres from the ocean, is predominantly spectacular. Tourists
are recommended to keep a watchful eye on their belongings, as pick
pocketing is rife, and they should also never travel after
dark. Trains generally run from Cape Town station daily 4.30 am
to 7.30 pm (depending on the route travelled), with regular departures,
although there is a more limited service at weekends, some Area
North routes do not offer a weekend service.
There are 2 fare types, Metro (standard) and Metro
Plus (1st class), tourists are recommended to travel on the Metro
Plus service. Tickets also vary in price depending to distance travelled,
a single city centre ticket costs R 4.20 (Metro) or R 5.50 (Metro
Plus). Weekly and monthly passes
are also accessible at R20 (Metro) or R39 (Metro Plus) and R70 (Metro)
or R128 (Metro Plus) respectively. Tickets can be purchased at Cape
Town Station, Adderley Street.
Although very chaotic, public buses still run regular
and safe services to most destinations, including Camps Bay, Kloof
Nek, Hout Bay, Claremont, Kirstenbosch, Sea Point and the Waterfront.
However, tourists should probably avoid taking buses to the remote
(telephone: (021) 937 8800, facsimile: (021) 934 4885, email address:
has the monopoly on Cape Town’s bus services, which run out
of the main bus terminal on Strand Street, just opposite Cape Town
Station. Buses run daily roughly from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm (depending
on the route), with a restricted service at the weekend, some routes
do not have a weekend service.
are based on the kilometres travelled and prices differ accordingly.
For example, a ticket from the city centre toward the southern suburbs
(Mowbray) costs R 3.30. Tickets can be purchased upon boarding or
from the main terminal (Monday to Friday from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm,
Saturday from 6.00 am to 12.30 am). Clip cards or passes are also
accessible at the Strand Street terminal. Based on travel between
the city centre toward the southern suburbs (Mowbray), these cost
R 31 for a weekly clip card.
Waterfront Boat Co. (telephone: (021) 418 5806) operate a daily
water taxi service from 8.00 am to sunset, departing
from the Arabella Sheraton, at the Cape Town International Convention
Centre, to the Cape Grace hotel.
Metered taxis can be ordered
at any time of night or day and can also be hired for day trips.
Although the meters are usually accurate, visitors should ask the
driver for an estimated price before setting out, as several of
the taxi drivers choose to ignore the meter. Taxi
rates are approximately R 8 to R 10 per kilometre
travelled, with a R 50 to R 60 per hour waiting fee.
There are taxi ranks at the chief railway station
and at the top of Adderley Street, just below Company Gardens. Visitors
should note that the practice of hailing a taxi on the street is
practically unheard of in Cape Town. Besides finding 1 at the ranks,
visitors can call Marine Taxis (telephone: (021) 434 0434) or Unicab
(telephone: (021) 448 8823). Rikki’s Taxis (telephone: (021)
423 4888 or 786 2136) provides a more tourist orientated taxi service
in an open rickshaw type vehicle, they only run in the city centre
and Simon’s Town. Tipping is not ordinary
practice in Cape Town, although an extra R 10 to R 20 is always
A familiar sight in any South African city, including Cape Town,
the 10 to 12 seater minibus taxis are the favoured
transport option of many a car less local. These can be called for
anywhere on the streets and are by far the cheapest transport option
at about R 2.50 a ride from the city centre to the southern suburbs
or Atlantic seaboard.
However, the minibus taxis are not really advised to tourists.
Although they are getting more organised, especially on the inner
city routes, they still have a awful reputation and safety record.
Tourists who do choose to use this service should apply caution
and use common sense at all times. Passengers, predominantly women
but men as well, should not board an empty bus, nor should they
travel alone, at night or beyond the city centre and the direct
suburbs. You should completely avoid the minibus taxis that are
in dreadful shape, with flat or smooth tyres, alarming dents or
just a common state of disrepair.
Additionally, tourists should absolutely avoid minibuses where co
pilots lean out of the door or window to shout the destinations,
tourists should only board the minibuses that have the destinations
and related route numbers printed on the back of the bus. A ride
in a minibus taxi is also a white knuckle encounter, not for the
faint hearted, as the drivers do not pay much attention to the regulations
of the road.
Limousines are a novelty in Cape Town and would
definitely be stared at in the street. But for an generous day of
sightseeing (particularly wine tasting) a chauffeured limousine
is ideal. Cape
Cars (telephone: (021) 433 0467, facsimile: (021) 433 0118)
hires out 8 seater limousines for R 1,000 per hour (R 350 per hour
thereafter) or R 3,000 for 8 hours. The price includes a chauffeur,
mini bar and 250 kilometre free mileage (R 5 per kilometre thereafter).
Driving in the City
Due to the lack of efficient and safe public transport, several
visitors choose to drive. Driving in the city is generally unstressful,
as there are good feeder highways, brilliant signage and efficient
traffic lights. The scenic routes and winding country roads are
particularly beautiful. However, the characteristic Cape Town relaxation
seems to dissapear once the locals are behind the wheel and driving
can be hair raising at times. Drivers are almost always approached
at stop streets and traffic lights, by beggars
or entrepreneurs flogging everything from roses
and newspapers to bin liners. (Although it can be a treat for hot
and bothered motorists to buy a box of sweet Hanepoot grapes, when
in season, late summer).
Rush hour is generally from 7.00 am to 8.30 am
and 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm, when some routes heading out of the city,
particularly De Waal Drive, become quite congested. Getting into
the city from the southern suburbs can be quite a venture for the
amateur. On what is known as ‘University Bend’, where
De Waal Drive rounds the mountain towards feeder roads to the N2
and the Eastern Boulevard, there are several tricky lane changes
to tackle, primarily because the exits are to the right of the road
despite the fact that driving in South Africa is on the left. A
favoured route into the city centre is via Main Road, which feeds
into the city centre all the way from Wynberg, through Observatory,
Woodstock and Salt River into Cape Town. Although moderately straightforward,
here drivers have to keep an eye out for minibus taxis, whose Mad
antics can be quite disturbing at times. It is not recommended for
drivers to attempt to challenge the minibus taxi drivers, as this
can be very hazardous.
Parking is abundant around the
city, with almost every mall equipped with indoor parking. Central
car parks are situated on Strand Street, the Grand Parade and Plein
Street. Indoor parking costs approximately R 8 per hour. Other parking
lots suggest a pay and display service. In several free open parking
lots, uniformed parking security guards will look after cars for
a tip. Tipping is not vital, however, as this is, in most cases,
the sole means of support for these security guards, a tiny tip
of around R 1 is not much for the average visitor to spare.
The street parking meters are operated by a prepaid
swipe card system, operated by ADO
CashCard (telephone: (021) 712 0307, facsimile: (021) 712 0022,
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cards cost R 35 plus R 10 of parking credit, which can be topped
up, they are available at newsagents, cafés and several other
outlets. Street parking usually costs R 3 per hour. Parking
marshals on the streets of the city centre are on hand
to offer assistance with operating the meters and to visitors without
parking cards. Tipping is not vital but is appreciated. The system
is in operation Monday to Saturday during office hours, and parking
is free of charge after 6.00 pm. There are also some pay and display
parking lots in the suburbs.
Hiring a car is often the visitor’s preferred mode
of transport in Cape Town, especially for ventures to outlying
areas. Hotels can organise car hire for their guests, while all
major car hire companies have booths at the airport. Cape Town Tourism
(telephone: (021) 426 4260, facsimile: (021) 426 4266) will also
arrange car hire for tourists at no extra charge.
Some of the several major car hire companies include:
Telephone: (086) 101 6622
Email address: email@example.com
Website address: www.budget.co.za
Telephone: (021) 400 9650
Facsimile: (021) 425 8270
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website address: www.hertz.co.za
Telephone: (086) 003 1666 or (021) 424 5000
Facsimile: (021) 424 4190
Website address: www.tempestcarhire.co.za
Local providers include:
Telephone: (021) 423 5211
Facsimile: (021) 423 5280
Email address: email@example.com
Website address: www.globalcarrental.co.za
Cape Car Hire
Telephone: (021) 385 0445
Facsimile: (021) 385 0446
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website address: www.capecarhire.co.za
Rates start at around R 150 per day for a budget vehicle
(excluding mileage, which is priced at around R 0.95 to R 4 per
kilometre). Insurance is sometimes included in the rates but is
generally offered as an optional extra (some companies make this
obligatory, unless proof of individual insurance
is provided) and is highly recommended, predominantly against theft.
Drivers must be at least 23 years old and have a credit card and
an International Driving Permit (except for those carrying a national
driving licence which is printed in English and holds a photograph
of the holder).
Bicycle Hire and Scooter Hire
Cycling in the city centre requires nerves of steel and remarkable
good luck. It is therefore not advised. However,
country and suburban excursions can be very rewarding, especially
through the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and the Winelands.
Downhill Adventures hires out bicycles for R 100
per day, which includes a pump, helmet, spare tube and lock, as
well as free delivery in the City Bowl area.
Address: Shop 10 Overbeek Building, corner of Kloof, Long and Orange
Telephone: (021) 422 0388
Facsimile: (021) 423 0127
Website address: www.downhilladventures.com
To avoid difficult beach parking, especially in the crowded summer
months, adventurous tourists often choose to hire out Kymco scooters
from African Buzz, for R 175 to R 195 per day (24
hours), depending on the season. A deposit of R 2,500 and a full
motorcycle licence is necessary.
Address: 202 Long Street
Telephone: (021) 423 0052
Facsimile: (021) 423 0056
Email address: email@example.com