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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Cape Town Tours - Excursions
Cape Town Tours Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Walking tours

With its street music, cosmopolitan buzz, markets and busking acts, as well as a multitude of alfresco cafés and restaurants to take a rest in, Cape Town is a great city for exploring on foot. Wanderlust (telephone: (021) 426 4252, email address: wanderlust@iafrica.com), offers 3‘Cape Town on Foot’ walking tours of the city.

The Full City Walking Tour takes 2 and a half hours to cover the main sights of the city centre, these depart from the Cape Town Tourism office from Monday to Friday at 11.00 am and cost R 100 per person. The 1 hour City Highlights tour also departs from Cape Town Tourism office at 9.30 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday, costing R 50. The 1 hour Bo-Kaap Experience tour departs from the Bo-Kaap Musuem, 71 Wale Street, at 9.30 am Tuesday and Thursday and costs R 75 (including museum entrance fee).

Bus Tours

Hylton Ross (telephone: (021) 511 1784, facsimile: (021) 511 2401, email address: info@hyltonross.co.za) runs a frequent open topped double decker bus tour called the Cape Town Topless Tour, which takes in all the major sights of Cape Town, with a running commentary. The 2 hour tour can be hailed anywhere along the route and takes in the V & A Waterfront, Sea Point, District Six (Zonnebloem) and Camps Bay.

Buses run from the Cape Town Tourism office daily from 9.30 to 7.10 pm (summer) and 9.30 am to 5.10 (winter). The R 90 hop on hop off tickets are valid all day and can be bought on the bus, at the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres or in advance from Hylton Ross. The company also offers half day tours of Cape Town, including Table Mountain (cableway tickets not included) and a boat trip of the V & A Waterfront, departing daily 7.45 am to 12.30 pm and costing R 250, as well as full day township tours, Monday to Saturday 8.30 am to 1.00 pm, costing R 260 (concessions available).

Grassroute Tours (telephone: (021) 706 1006, facsimile: (021) 705 0798, email address: grasrout@iafrica.com) offers a half day Rainbow Tour of District Six (Zonnebloem) and the townships, with an option of continuing the tour with a trip to Robben Island. Pick up and drop off is arranged and tours (excluding Robben Island) run from 8.30 am / 9.00 am to 1.00 pm / 1.30 pm.

Boat Tours

Waterfront Boat Company (telephone: (021) 418 5806, facsimile: (021) 418 5821) offers a variety of tours, from harbour tours to excursions and champagne cruises, departing from the V&A Waterfront Quay Five. Tours range from a half hour harbour cruise (R 30) to a full day fishing trip (R 1,600).

Whale watching tours are available during the season (June to November), these take 3 to 4 hours and cost R 350. Thrill seekers might enjoy a high speed 1 hour motorboat trip to Clifton beach for R 300. A well liked pastime is a stunning sunset sailing experience across Table Bay, which costs R 170 and includes sparkling wine.

The Waterfront Information Office (telephone: (021) 408 7600, facsimile: (021) 408 7605, email address: info@waterfront.co.za) provides information on other tours available from the V&A Waterfront.

Boat tours to see the Cape Fur Seals on Duiker Island in False Bay are run by Drumbeat Charters (telephone: (021) 790 4859). All cruises, which depart from Hout Bay Harbour, cost R 45 and take about 40 minutes.

Bicycle Tours

Daytrippers (telephone: (021) 511 4766, facsimile: (021) 511 4768, email address: info@daytrippers.co.za) organises numerous bicycle tours, including the ‘Cape Point Tour’, which follows the Atlantic Coast past Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and on to Boulders Beach. The full day tour costs R 350, including entrance fees and picnic lunch. Other cycling tours include a Winelands tour, numerous mountain biking tours, and a whale watching tour (July to November). Adventure Village (telephone: (021) 424 1580, facsimile: (021) 424 1590, email address: info@adventure-village.co.za) operates a similar service.

Other Tours

Civair (telephone: (021) 419 5182, facsimile: (021) 419 5183, email address: info@civair.co.za) and NAC Makana Aviation (telephone: (021) 425 3868, facsimile: (021) 425 3858, email address: info@nacmakana.com) both offer 20 minute, 30 minute and 1 hour helicopter tours. Civair flights cost R 1,800, R 2,700 and R 5,400 respectively, while NAC Makana flights cost from R 1,600, R 2,400 and R 4,800 respectively. Civair also offers 50 minute Winelands tours from R 9,000.

Excursions for half day

Cape Point

This windswept peninsula, where the cold Benguela current and the warm Mozambique current unite, is the mythical meeting place of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, the physical meeting place is actually 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the east, at Cape L’Agulhas. Cape Point (telephone: (021) 780 9010 / 11) is located in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve at the far tip of the massive 7,750 hectare (19,151 acre) Table Mountain National Park (telephone: (021) 701 8692, facsimile: (021) 701 8773, email address: tablemountain@sanparks.org).

Situated 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the city centre, along the M4 via Simon’s Town, Cape Point is home to a brilliant array of wildlife, including zebra, bontebok, lynx, ostrich and baboons, as well as some of the rarest plants on Earth. Visitors are advised to be cautious of the baboons as they can be dangerous, especially where food is involved, there is a fine for feeding them.

The Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre (telephone: (021) 780 9204, facsimile: (021) 780 9321), which has exhibitions, audio visual displays and information on the areas natural and cultural wealth, is open daily 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. An overnight facility at Bordjiesrif is in the preparation stages. An added bonus is the Two Oceans Restaurant (telephone: (021) 780 9200, facsimile: (021) 780 9060, email address: info@two-oceans.co.za), which is perched on the cliff above the Atlantic Ocean, as well as curio shops. Admission to the reserve costs R 35 per adult (concessions available) and it is open daily 6.00 am to 6.00 pm (September to April) and 7.00 am to 5.00 pm (May to August).

Constantia Wine Route

Located approximately 17 kilometres (11 miles) or a 25 minute drive south of the city centre, the Constantia Wine Route presents a handy alternative to a longer trip to the Boland. There are more than 400 wine producers in South Africa and the Constantia Valley area is home to 5 of the Cape’s top estates, Groot Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia, Constantia Uitsig and Steenberg Vineyards.

Africa’s oldest wine estate, Groot Constantia, off the M41 Constantia Road (telephone: (021) 794 5128, facsimile: (021) 794 1999, email address: enquiries@grootconstantia.co.za), with its original manor house and wine museum (telephone: (021) 795 5140, facsimile: (021) 795 5150), gives a fascinating insight into early colonial life in the Cape (admission is R 10). There is also the elegant Jonkershuis Restaurant (telephone: (021) 794 6255; facsimile: (021) 794 4813, email address: a-m-s@mweb.co.za). Tasting takes place daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (May to November) and 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (December to April) at a cost of R 20 per person (this includes 5 wines and a souvenir tasting glass).

The family owned Klein Constantia, Klein Constantia Road (telephone: (021) 794 5188, facsimile: (021) 794 2464, email address: info@kleinconstantia.com), offers some choice Cape wines for tasting in particularly friendly company. Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia Road (telephone: (021) 794 5190, facsimile: (021) 794 1351, email address: info@buitenverwachting.com), is renowned for its exclusive restaurant and pleasant picnic area.

Contantia Uitsig, Spaanschmat River Road (telephone: (021) 794 1810, facsimile: (021) 794 1812, email address: thewineshop@uitsig.co.za), translates to ‘Constantia View’ and the farm offers visitors not only brilliant wine but the charming Spaanschemat River Café and 2 superb restaurants; La Colombe is the best. Finally, Steenberg Vineyards, Steenberg Road (telephone: (021) 713 2211, facsimile: (021) 713 2201, email address: info@steenberg.co.za), makes up for its doubtful location opposite Pollsmore Prison with a golf course, an exclusive hotel and a restaurant.

Visitor Information Centres can offer further information on the Constantia Wine Route. Most of the estates are open for wine tasting at least from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (weekdays) and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm (Saturdays).

Excursions for a whole day

The Boland

A tour of the Boland (‘uplands’ or ‘toplands’) reveals a world of dramatic mountain ranges, crystal clear rivers swarming with trout, stunning valleys and the Western Cape’s bucolic Winelands, dotted with historic wine estates. There are 14 officially selected ‘wine routes’ incorporating several wine estates that are open to the public.

Mother City Tours (telephone: (021) 448 3817, facsimile: (021) 448 3844) offers a full day ‘Three Cape Winelands’ tour of the Boland estates, costing R 430. Bacchanalian tourists who choose to go it alone with 1 of the several route maps accessible from Cape Town Tourism (see Tourist Information) should always make sure there is a designated driver who abstains from drinking.

Somerset West is half an hour from the city centre on the R 44 off the N2 highway. This busy town nestles in a basin created by the soaring peak of Helderberg (‘Clear Mountain’) and the Hottentots Holland mountain range. Here, the Vergelegen wine farm, Lourensford Road (telephone: (021) 847 1334, facsimile: (021) 847 1608), was built in 1700 and is 1 of the most gracious and flawlessly situated of all the old Cape Dutch homesteads, offering cellar tours, wine tasting, a superb restaurant and library containing rare volumes of early Africana.

The Helderberg Nature Reserve (telephone: (021) 851 4060, email address: info@helderbergnaturereserve.co.za) is situated just before the turn off to Vergelegen and comprises many kilometres of hiking trails and paths with stunning views over the Helderberg Basin.

South Africa’s 2nd oldest town, Stellenbosch, produces a 3rd of all the wine in the Cape and also possesses the longest wine route in the world. Named after the Dutch governor, Simon van der Stel, this university town is 1 of the best preserved of all South African settlements. The Stellenbosch Village Museum, 18 Ryneveld Street (telephone: (021) 887 2902, facsimile: (021) 883 2232, email address: stelmus@mweb.co.za), tells the story and consists of 4 carefully restored and furnished buildings built between 1709 and 1850, the museum is open Monday to Saturday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Stellenbosch is situated on the R310 off the N2 highway.

South Africa’s ‘French quarter’, Franschhoek, was named after the French Huguenots who fled Catholic discrimination and began arriving at the Cape in 1688. Today, the valley is well known for its wine and great food. Situated off the N1, the area is key to much of South Africa’s distant and recent history. The Huguenot Memorial, Lambrecht Street (telephone: (021) 876 2532, facsimile: (021) 876 3649, email address: hugenoot@museum.co.za), traces the history of the Huguenots, open Monday to Saturday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm and Sunday 2.00 am to 5.00 pm. Whilst to the west, on the R303, is the Victor Verster Prison, from where Nelson Mandela walked to freedom on 11 February 1990.

Overberg

Over Sir Lowry’s pass and beyond South Africa’s oldest inn, the Houwhoek Inn, the Western Cape landscape transforms into the harsh beauty of the Overberg, approximately 170 kilometres (106 miles) east from Cape Town at its central point. This region is the gateway to Africa’s southernmost tip, Cape L’Agulhas, located approximately a 3 hour drive southeast of Cape Town, accessible on the N2. Here, the 2 oceans meet in a spectacular show of natural beauty.

The L’Agulhas Lighthouse (telephone: (028) 435 6078) and Zuidste Kaap (telephone: (028) 435 6034) restaurants both provide a exclusive location in which to dine out, the totally operational lighthouse, which is over 150 years old, also doubles as a museum and curio shop, open daily 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (entrance is R 10). The southernmost point is located 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) of the lighthouse. Visitors should take note, however, not to book any tours that involve 4 X 4 driving on the dunes and beaches as this is extremely harmful to the delicate seafront wildlife (some of which are endangered species) and also illegal.

Nearby, the 14 kilometres (9 miles) of nonstop white sand beach (the longest in the Southern Hemisphere) of Struuisbaai offers beautiful bathing. Further afield, the practically untouched charm of Arniston delights visitors with a traditional fishing village, Kassiesbaai, which has been confirmed, in its entirety, as a national monument. Hermanus, another coastal town in the Overberg region, dubbed ‘the Riviera of the Overberg’ for its wealthy stature, is the major whale spotting location, 1 of the best in the world, with a yearlyl 10 day whale watching festival in September / October.

The sleepy town of Greyton is famous for its arty locals and this is predominantly evident during the winter months, when the Greyton Winter Festival takes place in June. It consists a moonlight market among other rustic delights. Several other towns are worth visiting, such as the fruit farming paradise of Grabouw and the serious charm of Napier.

Southern Touring Company (telephone: (021) 935 0733, facsimile: (021) 935 0737, email address: bookings@southerntours.co.za) offers whale watching tours. For those who wish to spend more than just 1 day exploring this wonderful region, Cape Quest (telephone: (021) 674 2555, facsimile: (021) 674 3614, email address: info@capequest.co.za) has numerous tour options with bed and breakfast accommodation in the Overberg. The Overberg Tourism Office (telephone: (028) 214 1466, facsimile: (028) 212 1380, email address: info@capeoverberg.org) provides further information on destinations within the Overberg.