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Getting around Cape Town without a car

Cape Town transport

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Cape Town presents wonderful opportunities for adventure travellers, and each new day brings an exciting adventure. If you’ve ever read a Cape Town travel bucket list, you’ll know how much there is to do in and around the city. Most visitors, however, worry about transport in and around Cape Town, since some of the Mother City’s attractions aren’t in close proximity to each other. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to suit all budgets.

I’ve put together a helpful list of the various safe and reliable transport options to consider that will take you beyond the city of Cape Town, so that you can tick off all your Cape Town “must-sees.”

Rikkis taxis

Rikkis is a great option for travelling around the Cape Town CBD and surrounding suburbs. For locals, it’s most popularly used for getting around at night, whether it be to clubs, bars, or restaurants. If you’re part of a large group, Rikkis offers a service called “Rikkis Share Ride,” which is a door-to-door taxi service.

Uber

Using an Uber is one of the easiest transport options in Cape Town. Download the Uber app to your phone, register and you’re ready to go. For those who are careful not to carry large sums of cash, Uber is great because you register with your credit card details.

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Car hire

My personal favourite, if I’m travelling far out the city, is to rent a car in Cape Town. There are countless car hire companies from which to choose, from famous brands, such as Avis and Hertz, to smaller (and cheaper) independent car hire companies. The reason why I prefer using a car rental company is that I can take my time travelling, stop over at places that interest me, and drive my own routes. If you’re on holiday in Cape Town, hiring a car is definitely a sensible option once you’re more acquainted with the city. (Hint: keep your eye on Table Mountain).

Minibus taxis

Minibus taxis are an option if you’re travelling short distances in the city. Hailing a minibus taxi is one of the cheapest transport options in Cape Town. However, personal safety may be a slight concern. Taxis are used mostly by locals for getting to work and home again, and may be extremely full at times. I wouldn’t recommend using a minibus taxi for the entirety of your holiday in Cape Town, but taking it once to experience minibus culture is recommended. If a minibus taxi passes you, a gaaitjie (a caller) will shout out the destination to which the taxi is travelling. The taxi will hoot if there is space for more passengers, and to flag one down all you need to do is raise your hand.

MyCiti bus

I’ve recently been taking the MyCiti bus from Century City to Green Point every day to work and home again. What a pleasure it is, so reliable and convenient. The buses run like clockwork, similar to those in most European capital cities. All routes are clearly marked at various bus stops, but if you’re uncertain there are MyCiti bus officials stationed at all the stops – and they’re really helpful and friendly. Current routes link the central city with Cape Town’s attractions, such as the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain Cable Way, Camps Bay and Hout Bay. If you choose to take the MyCiti bus, you’ll need to purchase a card at any main station, which is a once-off purchase, and then load it with points. Now you’re ready to ride.

City Sightseeing Red Bus

Explore Cape Town easily with the City Sightseeing Red Bus. The ticket booth is at the V&A Waterfront, next to the Two Oceans Aquarium. The ticket is valid for one day and allows you to hop on and off the bus as many times as you choose. The bus travels through the Cape Town CBD, stops at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, drives along the Constantia Wine Route towards Hout Bay and on its return to the Waterfront it stops at Camps Bay. You’ll see practically all of Cape Town’s best attractions in one day.

Luxury travel

If you have the budget for luxury travel then you should definitely experience a train journey on the Rovos Rail or Blue Train. These aren’t everyday transport options for getting from point A to B in Cape Town; these luxury trains take you to various golf and safari destinations in South Africa. It is highly recommended for a memorable holiday.

Rovos Rail & The Shongololo Express

Rovos Rail’s ‘Pride of Africa’ is the epitome of old-world elegance with stunning interiors that reflect the Victorian and Edwardian era. Rovos has several destinations from which to choose. You can travel from Pretoria to Cape Town, Victoria Falls or Durban. (You can also reserve the journey in reverse order, for example, from Cape Town to Pretoria). The train also stops at some of South Africa’s beautiful landmarks and famous game reserves, such as the Kruger Park.

Rovos recently acquired a three-star train, the Shongololo Express. It promises those with limited budgets the opportunity to realise their dreams of traversing the heart of Africa. The Shongololo Express travels from Pretoria to Swakopmund, Cape Town to Pretoria, and also has a golfing itinerary. The journeys are available in reverse order too.

The Blue Train

The Blue Train is as luxurious as Rovos Rail and also travels between Cape Town and Pretoria, although it doesn’t stop at game reserves, but it’s still a worthwhile experience.

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