Cape Town is one of those cities where you really need your own transport. Even within city limits there is no extensive or useful public transport system and getting to and around the peninsula, the Winelands or the Atlantic coast would be next to impossible without a car.
Car rental is not expensive in South Africa, petrol is cheap and driving is a pleasure, even in the cities.
Aside from the shock of finding that the right-hand lane in South Africa is the passing lane, the biggest surprise to me has been the kamikaze-like fervor of the drivers, not just on the interstate-analogs (N1, N2) but even on tiny suburban streets that barely allow two
vehicles to pass if both have one set of wheels up on the curb. Traffic enforcement, at least in Cape Town, is almost exclusively by camera. There are periodic signs along the autoroute with a speed listed and a camera icon. However, many of these are not operational cameras. You need to know which are -- because the rental car companies generally charge an "administrative fee" on top of whatever traffic fine is assessed if you're caught doing 120 in an 80 zone.
Make a reservation via "CAPE PURSUITS". They are registrated tour guides.(Safety)
Kobus is a great guide speaks many languages - he just forgot to fill petrol - so we had to stop in the middle of CT-but the view on Table Mountain was exceptional !
Be warned when people speak of black taxis in South Africa they do not mean reputable black cabs as in London.
These taxis are usually beaten up minibuses which hold maybe 12 people but they cram 20+ inside. I heard of a case where the driver was steering the car with a lead pipe.
Someone hangs out of the sliding door yelling destinations whilst the driver cuts up everyone in his path, hand on the horn. Not suprising there are many accidents and fatalitys involving black taxis.
To be avoided at all costs I think its fair to say.
Although i didn't see buses in Capr Town i did see other kind of transports, such as usual taxis, and also some more interesting. The are big minibuses where local people use to travel , you can catch them in the street and they will charge you about R3 , also there are some cars calles Rikki's, you can call them by phone and they catch you. they transport a lot of people to different places , so you can get to know other areas of teh city they charge you about R15
If you are planning a trip to Cape Town I think you will need to rent a car to move around the city. The public transport is not good. There are metro (its like a train, a little bit old and a little bit.... difficult to move with it), busses and taxis (you will find a lot of taxis in the main touristic places like Waterfront, Table Mountain, in the city centre... not very expensive and safety), but could be the best way it will be if you drive your own car. Remember that you should drive in the left side!!!
In the pic.... the car that moved me around Cape Town!!!! Great!!! isn't it???
If you are planning on taxi'ing around Cape Town, I would recommend getting one called from your hotel, and then provided you are happy with the driver, keeping his number for future needs. After my initial taxi ride, I was able to arrange drop offs/pick ups with the same driver, saving the hassle of trying to find a cab later. You do not want to be stuck without a taxi and have to walk any significant distance at night.
We were warned by several different people about unscrupulous taxi drivers. While we walked as much as possible, and used a guide for a city area tour, we got a card from our guesthouse of a reliable taxi company. The other advice we were given is not to get in a taxi that does not have a meter.
the cheapest way IF YOU DONT HAVE A CAR is to get there by Rikkis Taxi (you pay by zone) or Excite Taxi (8Rand/KM). Rikkis 086 174 5547 Excite 021 418 4444.
For those planning to travel to South Africa in the next couple of weeks, please be advised that there is major strike action in progress at the time of writing (15 July 2011). The strike action that has most potential to affect tourists is that being undertaken by chemical workers, which has restricted/halted production at oil refineries, and severely constrained fuel transport by both pipeline and tanker, resulting in country-wide fuel shortages.
Currently many service stations have run dry of both petrol (gas) and/or diesel, which clearly has implications for anyone planning a trip which involves self drive and/or has a road based component.
Sadly, I have little advice on how to deal with this. One would hope that tour operators have made contingency plans (although how effective these might be should the strike be prolonged is debatable). The only advice that I can offer is that if you can avoid travelling whilst the strike is on, then you should try to do so.
I will provide updates on the situation as soon as information becomes available.
Update (26 July 2011): The strike has not yet been resolved, but the fuel supply situation seems to have stabilised - and reportedly did not affect Cape Town as severely as it did Johannesburg. My advice for the mean time would be to fill up your tank every couple of hundred kilometres if you're planning a long journey, so that you've got a substantial buffer should you find yourself in an area where fuel supplies have run dry.
Update: 28 July 2011: Happily the strike was resolved today, and fuel supplies are pretty well normalised already.
Public transport in Cape Town is basically non-existent. You can use metered taxis/cabs, but you might pay a lot. So the best way of getting around is by using Rikkis- basically a cab that you can phone up, but you share it with other people. Check it out at http://www.rikkis.co.za/index.htm. They fetch you quickly and the prices are very reasonable. Alternatively people might also recommend 'black taxis', which are very cheap to use, but often the drivers don't have drivers' licences and their vehicles aren't roadworthy. Best other bet: rent a car. Just be warned, throughout the city, you have informal 'car guards' who look after your car if you park on the street- they're an absolute nuisance, but the easiest thing to do is just give them R2 when you come back to your car- never pay anyone upfront!
Metered taxi's are cheap and very readily available, so use them!
However, only use taxi companies recommended by your hotel. I found Marine taxi's were good.
Always drive with your doors locked and windows shut if possible. Street kids and peddlers will snatch things from inside your car, including your sunglasses of your head!
Never leave anything on display in your car when parked up. People will steal almost anything!
I found driving in Cape Town fine, going without any hiccups, please take onboard the above advice.
Cape Town though is usually safe but it is always recommended to take the official Taxi written on Yellow for transportation. DO NOT take lift or Taxi which are not officially designated. Law and order tend to be loose at night. Always carry your hotel card with you as somtime language can be problem with Taxi driver.
There are plenty of taxis all around Cape Town. They're cheap and ver comfortable. You can even tell the taxi driver to pick you up at a certain hour if you're coming back from some party. And always ask for their telephone number, just in case. We did, and it saved us from walking quite a lot of kilometers!!!
Do not travel on those mini vans. There are a lot, but I was told that they're not very safe. They're cheaper, but not safe.
Be very careful and avoid using this mode of transport as many of these vehicles are not roadworthy and drivers are often unlicenced.
When using taxis rather opt for the sedan type that display their tariffs on the doors.