Cape Town’s public transport isn’t exactly the embodiment of efficiency, and if you’re travelling on a tight schedule, you should organize your own car. Failing that, you can organize a taxi service or even brave the local minibus taxis.
Buses - Golden Arrow Busesare omnipresent within the city limits and the suburbs. The ‘Bus for Us’ isn’t a touristy mode of transport and won’t take you to remote sightseeing destinations, but it will get you from A to B in the city for a relatively humble amount. Tickets cost around R10 to R15 for a one-way journey.
The City Sightseeing Buscaters to foreigners, touring the expanses of the Southern Peninsula on the Blue Route and exploring the City Bowl sights on the Red Route. The first bus leaves from the Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront at around 9am (and every 20 minutes thereafter until 5pm). Day tickets (where you can hop on and off to your heart’s content) will set you back about R120.
Trains – Metrorail - isn’t exactly predictable, with local trains being bang on time one day and hopelessly delayed the next, so relying on this mode of transport if you want to be punctual isn’t a good idea.The Cape Town Railway Stationin Adderley Street is the centre of all train networks in the Western Cape.
The safest time to travel is between 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm. Minimise unnecessary risks by travelling first class and keeping all your valuables close at hand and out of sight.
Most long-distance trains have dining cars and catering trolleys, and it’s definitely worth opting for a first-class cabin. Ticket prices and timetables are available from ShosholozaMeyl.
If you really want to splash out, there’s also the option of travelling up-country with one of South Africa’s two luxury train services: The Blue Train or Rovos Rail.
In South Africa the term ‘taxi’ can refer either to a meter-running sedan vehicle or to a gung-ho, packed-to-the-rafters minibus. The latter is one of the country’s most popular modes of transport because they’re cheap (about R5 for an inner-city trip), super-speedy and generally reliable. If you’re up for a thrilling ride through the city, stick out your hand to the side and a taxi will materialize from the ether. Be sure to find out the end destination beforehand and have your fare ready for the taxi guard.
Sedan taxis are also an ever-present fixture in the city, but are more expensive, charging around R12 a kilometre. The Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre (021 426 4260/021 405 4500) will gladly point you in the right direction with a list of their recommended taxi companies. Unicab (021 486 1600) and Excite (021 418 4444) are generally reliable options.
You can hire a bicycle from the adventure travel experts, Downhill Adventures (021 422 0388/www.downhilladventures.com), or you can rent a Harley from urban specialists Harley-Davidson Cape Town (021 446 2980/www.harley-davidson-capetown.com).