GETTING AROUND CAPE TOWN SAFELY
It’s always a good idea to get out and explore the city when you visit Cape Town to make the most of your vacation because there are so many things to do and see. However, it’s important to do this effectively and safely, while also not spending too much money on transportation costs. Depending on your needs and budget, there are a few various ways to get around Cape Town and its surrounding areas, from getting around using the public transport offerings like buses, minibuses, and trains to hailing a metered taxi or Uber or even just riding a bicycle on the numerous designated cycle lanes in and around the city.
Please be aware that there are some simple safety precautions I advise you to take even though Cape Town is thought to be a relatively safe South African city to visit.
ARRIVING BY AIR
OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg serves as the primary entry point for international travel to South Africa and several domestic flights connect it to Cape Town. Other airlines, such as TUI Group – Norwegian | Swedish | Danish | Finnish | including British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, and KLM, also offer direct flights to Cape Town from Europe or the Middle East.
Cape Town International Airport flanks the N2 highway 20 km (12 miles) east of the city centre. There are frequent flights from Cape Town to Durban and Johannesburg, as well as less frequent flights to George, Plettenberg Bay, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), Bloemfontein, and other African countries. Be sure to book with South African Airways or budget-friendly airlines such as Lift, SA Airlink, and Safair. The least expensive way to get from the Cape Town International Airport to Cape Town city is on the MyCiTi bus, which leaves every 30 minutes and takes 25 – 30 minutes to get to the city centre. Most hotels may provide transfers upon request, and the airport has stands for authorised taxi and shuttle services.
ARRIVING BY SEA
Cape Town is a port of call for cruise ships heading between the Indian Ocean Islands and Europe. Cape Town Cruise Terminal at the Port of Cape Town (Makers Landing) is a 10-minute drive from the city centre and within walking distance of the V&A Waterfront.
Shosholoza Meyl is the main rail operator, with routes to Johannesburg and East London, but passenger services are infrequent. There are also two luxurious and expensive options – the Blue Train, which travels between Cape Town and Pretoria, and Rovos Rail, which travels to Pretoria and on to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The most useful train route is Metrorail’s Southern Line, which runs to Simon’s Town and includes a very scenic stretch from Kalk Bay onwards. There’s also a regular service to Stellenbosch. Buy a ticket before boarding and keep an eye on the stations you pass – there are no route maps or announcements on board. While trains are safe during the day, avoid empty carriages and late-night travel.
MyCiTi is Cape Town’s primary bus operator. Safety and sanitation measures, timetables, ticket information, fare, and maps can be obtained from the MyCiti website. To ride the buses, you need to purchase a prepaid card for R35 ($1.91). The card can then be topped up at certain stores, some ATMs and at major MyCiTi bus terminals. If you want to use the airport bus but won’t be taking public transport afterwards, there is a single trip card available from the airport to the city centre and/or the V&A Waterfront for R94 ($5.13).
CITY SIGHTSEEING BUS TOUR
City Sightseeing is Cape Town’s official city tour bus. The red Double Decker Hop-on, Hop-off bus offers day tours around the city, to Cape Point, the Winelands, and much more. The tour allows you to explore the best of the city at your own pace.
Shared minibus taxis/combis to different areas are widely available and are the primary mode of public transport for locals. Although the prices are reasonable, you frequently have to wait for the seats to fill up before they can depart. They are nonetheless suitable for quick trips and provide a glimpse of local life. Once you are on board, pay the driver’s helper – fares start at R14 ($0.76) for a short journey.
LONG-DISTANCE BUS TRAVEL
The majority of South Africa’s major routes are serviced by safe, dependable, pleasant, and reasonably priced coaches. Intercape buses connect Cape Town to major cities. Adderley Street Bus Station is the main terminal and is located next to the train station.
Metre taxis in the city are good value at around R15 ($0.82)/km. Booking in advance with a trustworthy operator is recommended. Private taxi Apps Uber and Bolt also operate in Cape Town, the airport, and some locations in the Winelands, Atlantic Seaboard, and Cape Peninsula.
Rates start at around R350 – R600 ($19.10 – $32.75) per day for Category A and usually include 200km per day. Have a look at www.rentalcars.com
Paid street parking is ample in the city at reasonable rates and is managed by the City of Cape Town municipality. Outside the city centre, you won’t find a meter but you will often find a car guard. These self-employed individuals will keep an eye on your car in exchange for small change – At least R5 ($0.27) during the day and R10 ($0.55) at night.
Most major attractions in central Cape Town are within walking distance of each other, and there are numerous walking tours available. Take advice from trusted locals about where you shouldn’t go after dark.
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