Cape Town is steeped in a rich history, and is a cultural melting pot with a diverse and vibrant character. Bustling and beautiful, the cosmopolitan nature of Cape Town ensures that you never tire of the multitude of experiences it has to offer.
Cape Town provides travelers with every kind of accommodation, from five-star hotels to backpackers’ hostels. The top end of the bracket compares favorably with international standards. Accommodation is graded according to facilities available to guests – from one to five stars. There are many establishments that are in the process of being graded, and just because no star grading is shown does not mean that these facilities are not available. It is best to enquire before bookings are made. Excellent service is recognized by a silver shield in addition to the number of stars. Hotels range from luxurious to moderately priced.
Whatever you decide, you'll need to remember to book ahead. Cape Town is at its fullest over the peak summer months of December and January.
There are many direct international flights into Cape Town, although sometimes you'll have to change planes at Johannesburg.
- Air Mauritius +27 (0)21 671 5225; www.airmauritius.com; Sanclaire Bldg, 21 Dreyer St, Claremont
- Air Namibia +27 (0)21 936 2755; www.airnamibia.com.na; Cape Town International Airport
- British Airways in Jo'burg +27 (0)11 441 8600; www.ba.com
- KLM +27 (0)860 247 747; www.klm.co.za; Slade House, Boundary Terraces, 1 Mariendahl Lane, Newlands
- Lufthansa +27 (0)861 842 538; www.lufthansa.com; Cape Town International Airport
- Malaysia Airlines +27 (0)21 419 8010; fax +27 (0)21 419 7017; www.malaysiaairlines.com; 8th fl, Safmarine House, 22 Riebeeck St, City Bowl
- SAA +27 + 27 (0)21 936 1111; www.flysaa.com: Cape Town International Airport
- Singapore Airlines +27 (0)21 674 0601; www.singaporeair.com; 3rd fl, Sanclaire Bldg, 21 Dreyer St, Claremont;
- Virgin Atlantic +27 (0)21 934 9000; www.virgin-atlantic.com; Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport +27 (0) 21 937 1200; www.airports.co.za; the airport is located 20km east of the city centre. There is a tourist information office, and Internet access in both the international and domestic departure/arrival halls.
Flights, tours and rail tickets can all be booked through the GWC Travel Network Agent for Cape Town at firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-shared taxis are around R10 per kilometre. There's a taxi rank at the Adderley St end of the Grand Parade in the city, or call Marine Taxi +27 (0)21-434 0434, SA Cab +27 (0)861 172 222; Unicab Taxis +27 (0)21 447 4402; or Green Cab (carbon neutral transport) +27 (0)86 184 3473.
Bus and Tram
MyCiTi is Cape Town’s rapid bus service. The following, interconnecting MyCiTi services are now operating:
- The trunk route between Table View and the Civic Centre in the central city
- Feeder services in the areas of Table View, Blaauwberg, Parklands and Big Bay
- The Gardens-Civic-Waterfront feeder service in the central city
- The airport service, from Cape Town International Airport to the central city
Interstate buses arrive at the bus terminus at Cape Town Train Station, where you'll find the booking offices for the following bus companies:
- Greyhound +27 (0)21 505 6363; www.greyhound.co.za
- Intercape Mainliner +27 (0)21 380 4400; www.intercape.co.za
- Translux +27 (0)21 449 3333; www.translux.co.za
- Baz Bus +27 (0)21 439 2323; www.bazbus.com; Baz Bus is aimed at backpackers and travellers, offering hop-on, hop-off fares, and door-to-door service between Cape Town and Johannesburg via the Northern Drakensberg, Durban and the Garden Route.
Major local and international car-hire companies in Cape Town include the following:
Avis +27 (0)86 102 1111; www.avis.co.za; 123 Strand St, City Bowl
Budget +27 (0)86 001 6622; www.budget.co.za; 120 Strand St, City Bowl
Hertz +27 (0)21 400 9650; www.hertz.co.za; cnr Loop & Strand Sts, City Bowl
Motorcycle & Scooter Hire
The following places hire out motorcycles or scooters:
Café Vespa +27 (0)83 448 2626, (0)83 646 6616; www.cafevespa.com; 108 Kloof St, Tamboerskloof; 9am–midnight. New 150cc Vespas from R110 per day, including insurance and helmet, depending on how long you hire it for.
Harley-Davidson Cape Town +27 (0)21 424 3990; www.harley-davidson-capetown.com; 45 Buitengracht St, City Bowl; 9am–5pm Mon–Sat. Hires out a Harley 1340cc Big Twins or an MG-B convertible sports car for R1150 per day.
Le Cap Motorcycle Hire +27 (0)21 423 0823; www.lecapmotorcyclehire.co.za; 43 New Church St, Tamboerskloof; 9am–5pm Mon-Fri, 10am–1pm Sat. Motorcycle hire from R360 per day.
Metro commuter trains are a handy way to get around, although there are few (or no) trains after 6pm on weekdays and after noon on Saturday. For more information, contact Cape MetroRail +27 (0)800 656 463; www.capemetrorail.co.za.
Metro trains have first- and economy-class carriages only. The difference in price and comfort is negligible, though you'll find the first-class compartments to be safer on the whole. The most important line for visitors is the Simon's Town line, which runs through Observatory and around the back of Table Mountain through upper-income suburbs such as Newlands, on to Muizenberg and the False Bay coast.
These trains run at least every hour from 5am to 7.30pm Monday to Friday (to 6pm on Saturday), and from 7.30am to 6.30pm on Sunday. (Rikkis meet all trains and go to Boulders.) Some trains have Biggsy's, a restaurant carriage and rolling wine bar. There's a small extra charge to use it.
Metro trains run some way out of Cape Town, to Strand on the eastern side of False Bay, and into the Winelands to Stellenbosch and Paarl. They are the cheapest and easiest means of transport to these areas; security is best at peak times.
The Cape Peninsula is a terrific place to explore by bicycle, but there are many hills, and distances can be deceptively large – it is nearly 70km from the city centre to Cape Point. Unfortunately, you are not supposed to take bicycles on suburban trains.
Downhill Adventures (+27 21 422 0388; www.downhilladventures.com; Orange St, Gardens)
- Links to the local/regional tourist information website(s)
- Museums, places of interest
- Major regular wine events
- Main tourism activities and important things people shouldn't miss