Getting Around Cape Town

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Red Bus
    Hop-On Hop-Off Red Bus
    by spocklogic
  • Pod in Cape Town.
    Pod in Cape Town.
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  • Pod's mate Mick in Cape Town.
    Pod's mate Mick in Cape Town.
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Most Viewed Transportation in Cape Town

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Catching the train from Jo'burg to Cape Town

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

    (work in progress)
    When people conside travelling between Johannesburg and Cape Town, the option of going by train seldom - if ever - occurs: that is, unless you're wealthy enough to be able to afford the swanky Blue Train luxury service. Yet, lesser mortals on tighter budgets may be surprised (and hopefully encouraged) to know that this is indeed possible to travel this route in a more economical manner.

    It is a matter of national disgrace that the South African railway system's infrastructure and rolling stock has been shamefully mismanaged over a period of decades, and as a result, the long distance passenger service is all but non existent - a criminal state of affairs in a big, largely flat country ideal for rail transportation. The Shosholoza Meyl service on this route operates three times weekly on this route, and is supplemented by the more upmarket Premier Classe service (which runs once a week).

    So, why would you even consider taking the train? Well, certainly not for the time saving, as to fly between the two cities takes a mere two hours, whereas the rail journey 'officially' takes about 25 hour journey (but is more often than not delayed by a couple of hours). And certainly not for the cost saving, as all but the cheapest tickets - which will have you sitting upright for over a day, with no food included in the price - are on a par with the low cost air carriers.

    However, if you love trains (as I do) and have the time, it's well worth doing. There's something restful and almost hypnotic about long distance rail journeys, and to slip through the Karoo - the great thirstland that forms the little visited heart of South Africa - gives you a special perspective on part of the country that receives very few tourists.

    The Shosholoza Meyl's 'tourist class' option offers bunk beds, communal showers/toilets and a cash restaurant - you either bring your own bedding or can rent this. At the time of writing (September 2013) the cost between R620 and R740 one way - with no food - depending on month. It's also possible to put your car on the train, which may be a sweetener in terms of the economics if you're going for a reasonable length of time and can save yourself the cost of car hire.

    If you'd like a more comfortable experience, then perhaps consider their Premier Classe service, which gives you a private sleeper compartment and all meals included.

    Cape Town's rail station has been given a major overhaul in the last few years and is a vast improvement on its former scruffy self. Park Station in Jo'burg is tatty and crowded, but safe enough so long as you take normal precautions against petty crime such as pickpocketing: it also has the great advantage of being linked to the Gautrain system, although you'll have to walk out of the Gautrain station and into the rail station (allow yourself 10 minutes for this transfer).

    If you are considering doing the rail journey one way - and I can't imagine anyone volunteering to do it both ways on a single trip because of the time it eats up - then do it from Jo'burg to Cape Town, as the nicest scenery is the mountains that you pass through in the couple of hours before you reach Cape Town. If you do the trip from Cape Town to Jo'burg, then you pass through the mountains in the dark.

    You definitely need to book tickets in advance, especially for Premier Classe, which sells out very quickly. To highlight the point, when I wrote this tip, even tourist class was already booked out for the next two (non peak period) months.

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Travel from Jo'burg to Cape Town in Premier Classe

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

    (work in progress)
    What do you do when you want to travel between Jo'burg and Cape Town by rail and can't afford the Blue Train, yet want a little more luxury than the Shosholoza Meyl's Tourist Class service?

    The answer that you're looking for is the excellent Premier Classe service, which runs once a week between these cities.

    So, why would you even consider taking the train? Well, certainly not for the time saving, as to fly between the two cities takes a mere two hours, whereas the rail journey 'officially' takes about 25 hour journey (but is more often than not delayed by a couple of hours). And certainly not for the cost saving, as at the time of writing (September 2013), the one way fare was R2650, which is considerably more expensive than you should be paying for economy class air tickets on this route, particularly with the low cost air carriers.

    However, if you love trains (as I do) and have the time, it's a great experience. There's something restful and almost hypnotic about long distance rail journeys, and to slip through the Karoo - the great thirstland that forms the little visited heart of South Africa - gives you a special perspective on part of the country that receives very few tourists.

    We did this trip in April 2013 when we travelled down to the Cape for a friend's wedding, and I would highly recommend it. We had previously been lucky to experience the ultra luxurious Rovos Rail journey from Victoria Falls to Pretoria, and whilst this is certainly not in the same league of luxury, it is still extremely enjoyable. The individual coupe carriages are well organised and very comfortable, and the food was pleasant and plentiful, if not gourmet.

    The price includes bedding and all meals (but note that drinks are for your own account from a cash bar). It's also possible to put your car on the train, which may be a sweetener in terms of the economics if you're going for a reasonable length of time and can save yourself the cost of car hire.

    Cape Town's rail station has been given a major overhaul in the last few years and is a vast improvement on its former scruffy self. Park Station in Jo'burg is tatty and crowded, but safe enough so long as you take normal precautions against petty crime such as pickpocketing: it also has the great advantage of being linked to the Gautrain system, although you'll have to walk out of the Gautrain station and into the rail station (allow yourself 10 minutes for this transfer).

    If you are considering doing the rail journey one way - and I can't imagine anyone volunteering to do it both ways on a single trip because of the time it eats up - then do it from Jo'burg to Cape Town, as the nicest scenery is the mountains that you pass through in the couple of hours before you reach Cape Town. If you do the trip from Cape Town to Jo'burg, then you pass through the mountains in the dark.

    You definitely need to book tickets well in advance for Premier Classe, as it sells out very quickly. Note that a Premier Classe service has also recently been introduced between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, and that a similar service runs between Jo'burg and Durban once a month on the last weekend of the month (not a typo!)

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  • canuck68's Profile Photo

    Driving The Garden Route

    by canuck68 Updated Dec 6, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    With friends I have driven from P.E. to Capetown via the Garden Route. Also from Jo'burg to P.E. and many other places in South Africa and I never felt the least bit nervous. We just never drove at night and kept purses, cameras etc. out of sight. I wouldn't pick up hitchhikers but I wouldn't do that here in Canada either.

    This was in response to a question in the South African Forum.

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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Driving on the left for those American's

    by jlanza29 Written Jun 29, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ok, this was my first time driving on the left...and for everything I was told by people who had done it.....My opinion is; it was not as hard as people think it is, it took me about 5 minutes to figure it out....I really didn't have much of a learning curve.....we bascially came off the airplane and into the rental car..... a bit scary when you have the car coming at you, but it wasn't hard at all.....sometimes I would have the tendency to steer right, but once you see a car coming in your direction you realize your on the wrong side and then you move to the left ......one advantage though we had an automatic car, with all the hills in and around Cape Town I think it would have been way more difficult with a manual car.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • the_mumford's Profile Photo

    Rikkis

    by the_mumford Updated Mar 15, 2007

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    If you are in a large group I suggest ordering a Rikki taxi. They're larger carriers and can take you anywhere in the city for 10ZAR (2USD), you just have to fill them. A great option if you have a bunch that are all heading in the same direction. It will save you alot of money on taxis. There are not really any other options for mass public transport.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • kentishgirl's Profile Photo

    Cable Car to Table Mountain

    by kentishgirl Written Mar 3, 2007


    Unless you walk up (it's a long way!), then the Cable Car is your only means of getting to the top of Table Mountain and back down again.

    The Cable Cars rotate, so you will get some fab piccies - no need to push your way to position as soon as you get in!

    The views up there are spectacular.

    Cable Car to Table Mountain
    Related to:
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  • WaRPer's Profile Photo

    Rikkis

    by WaRPer Written Dec 30, 2006

    Pretty much like a shared-taxi, Rikki takes you wherever you wanna be. You can always find one at most of the tourist attractions. The Rikki collects (max 5-6) people who's going in the same direction, just tell the driver where you wanna get off, if it's on his way then jump on. It goes as far as Hout Bay and Kirstenbosch Garden, the price depends on how many persons on board.

    Rikki
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    Victoria & Alfred Harbour

    by Jenniflower Updated Apr 19, 2006

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    From Cape Town harbour you can go on a tour of the peninsula quite easily - this is largely due to your budget. You can go on pre-scheduled tours on launches and catamarans, hire catamarans for the day, hire a yacht etc. the choice is yours!

    Cape Town harbour
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Water Sports
    • Cruise

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  • cecmix's Profile Photo

    Get around with a guide

    by cecmix Written Jan 7, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you don't have a car in Cape Town and still want to enjoy a 'private' tour, I'm posting here the guide I had there. HIs name is Ebrahim Mall (Sun Afrique – Tours and Transfers). You make your tour with him and fix the time.
    He's very nice and friendly and the service was excellent. It was even cheaper than these bus tours and we had the freedom to decide how long we wanted to stay in one place or change the tour spontaneously because of the weather conditions.

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  • lobstop's Profile Photo

    777

    by lobstop Written Apr 25, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Coming from overseas I recommend choosing an airline, that offers a multi media equipment in every seat.
    I hate flying and I never can sleep. But with the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Cape town on a 777 even the long distance flight was a pleasure. So I recommend to check out on the internet, what aircraft is used when choosing the airline. I´d be happy to pay 10 or 20 € more and have an entertaining flight.

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  • rachel_sun's Profile Photo

    Car hire

    by rachel_sun Written Nov 5, 2002

    You can rent cars in Cape Town and the roads are good and not too busy.We used my husbands sisters car and found driving around the Cape very easy,but we did get lost several times when we had a night out and then tried to find our way back in the dark.Do buy a good map.

    JUST RELAXING

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  • rachel_sun's Profile Photo

    Cape Town has a big,busy international airport

    by rachel_sun Updated Nov 5, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cape Town has a big,busy international airport.There is a departure tax of 25 rand to neighbouring African countries and 38 rand to all others...My flight took about 18 hours.From door to door,this was a 24 hour round trip,but worth it...
    Cape Town has a good bus network.You can get anywhere in the city for about 2 rand.But buses only run along the atlantic side.There are minibus taxis that you can use.

    COMPANY GARDENS

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  • ratcorp's Profile Photo

    Most major Airports around the...

    by ratcorp Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Most major Airports around the World have flights into capetown.
    WELL. if you want a good scare take the local Mini Bus Taxi's. They are actualy very efficent , just ASK how much the fare is FIRST , should be around R3- R5 ) If they want more , tell them to go someplace else . That is fares around teh City Bowl. The taxi's can take your anywere around the city. Just ask. You can spot them (or hear them more like it ) They ussaly drive like maniacs and hoot and scream out the windows for clients. Just be prepared for a REAL FAST and fun ride.
    There are Buss's and one can also take the trains to other parts of South Africa . If going to Durban or JHB , rather than fly take the train , that is if you have a few days to spare. Its very relaxing (Capetown to Durban takes around 2 days ) and JHB should be a day . Nice way to see the scenery (During the day that is) as you relax in your Private compartments.
    Last time i went by train it was cheaper than Airfare.
    Don't forget you can go out sailing for the day , or even catch Cruise liners up to Durban.
    There are also options of going on Mountain Bike Trails with other tourists. They drive you to areas and you can pedela round the mountains.
    (photo taken of me having a beer watching the sun go down from Signal hill)

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  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo

    International Airlines from...

    by kenHuocj Updated Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    International Airlines from London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, also New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Perth.
    Cape Town is a Major seaport, thus by ship too.
    Hire a Car!
    = = Public transport is limited
    but trains gets one around.
    = = For the brave, UBUNTU taxis - minivans(15 seaters) , gets workers around

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  • travelmad478's Profile Photo

    I fly to Cape Town on British...

    by travelmad478 Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I fly to Cape Town on British Airways, which has direct flights from London. From the US, you can take South African Airways but I think you have to go via Johannesburg, which is out of the way.
    You can enjoy central Cape Town on foot and by taking taxis. However, if you want to see things that are a little farther out (Kirstenbosch, Cape of Good Hope, wine country), it's much better to get a rental car. We rented an economy model from Imperial for about US$20 per day. Driving is easy, once you get used to driving on the left side of the street, and the roads are very good.

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Cape Town Transportation

cleocat's Profile Photo

Cars, taxi's cable cars, baz bus, boat, walk...... It is all there. Some more reliable than others. Cape Town is one of the few cities in South Africa that has reasonable public transport, but if...

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