7 Ways to Explore Cape Town
Featured destinations: Cape Town
Published 16 March 2017
The self-proclaimed sweetheart of South Africa, Cape Town annually draws thousands of tourists to its shores, inviting them to discover all that this internationally celebrated travel destination has to offer.
Found at the southwestern tip of Africa where the warm Indian Ocean meets its chillier Atlantic counterpart, Cape Town, which is fondly known as the 'Mother City', is where laid-back locals are found at home with their 17th century castle, cluster of city bowl skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, organic markets, 350-year-old garden and endlessly beautiful beaches.
With an international flair and world-class service, the city retains its undeniably African character and charm, as much through its people as in its many attractions. But once there, what is the best way to get around and do your time justice?
Our Expert Dawn Jorgensen suggests you look away from the obvious choice of a rental car or Uber and consider one of these more unusual modes of transport to add an edge to your time in the city, at least on one or two of your days there.
1. Red Bus Tour to Cape Point
A go-to in any new city, these double-decker open-topped buses visit many of the most popular sites around the city and passengers can hop off and on at their leisure. Cape Town’s Red Bus offers two main routes, the Red City flagship tour that offers a great introduction to Cape Town’s City Bowl, as well as Camps Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard, with highlights being Table Mountain, the Two Oceans Aquarium and Camps Bay. Alternately consider the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, which includes the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Constantia Winelands and Hout Bay, with stops at the World of Birds and the Imizamo Yethu Township.
New to their fold and recently launched is the Cape Point Explorer day excursion to the Cape of Good Hope. Explore the nature reserve and Cape Floral Kingdom, with a stop at Boulders Beach to visit the African penguins. There is route out to Langa too, which includes a walking tour and insight into township life in the Cape.Venture South Ebikes, Cape Town image: Dawn Jorgensen
2. Epicurean Tour by Ebike
For all those who love a casual cycle but worry about hills and distance being too great a challenge, this is the answer for you. Book an epicurean food tour on the back of a sleek and stylish electric bicycle, which is guaranteed to award you superpowers for the day. Cruise along the Sea Point promenade taking in the views of the Atlantic coastline, stopping at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market for a taste of their organic fair before heading into historic and colourful Bo-Kaap Cape Malay Quarters, and on to the culinary mecca that is Bree Street.
Along the way sample South Africa’s eclectic mix of cuisine as you taste traditional Cape Malay and Afrikaans dishes as well as other foods such as samosa, boerewors, koeksisters and biltong, before taking on the trendiest streets in Cape Town with your local in-the-know guide.
If your legs are strong, simply rent a bike from UpCycles and make your own way through Sea Point and Granger Bay until you reach the Waterfront. Bo-Kaap, Cape Town image: Dawn Jorgensen
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town image: Dawn Jorgensen
3. Bike and Sidecar the Atlantic Seaboard
This is bound to put a big smile on your face and is a more unique way to see Cape Town. Offering two-hour, half and full-day options, you can don a retro leather jacket, vintage helmet and goggles and take to the Atlantic Seaboard in one of their decommissioned military bikes originally used by the Peoples Liberation Army of China between the early 1950’s and mid-1970’s. They are known as cj750’s and are based on the old German BMW R71 used extensively during from World War II.
Given that your driver is in charge, you’ll be free to sit back and admire the scenery and lap up the admiring looks along the way, although they will stop for photo opportunities too.
Signal Hill, Cape Town
4. Scooter down Signal Hill
For the thrill-seeker who wants a quick way down from the Signal Hill or Table Mountain, jump on a Scooter and free wheel your way down the single track and into the city. Scootours offer a fun and active way to experience Table Mountain and its impressive views, with this particular 5km track doubling up for the adventurer.
The Scooters are non-motorised, making them silent and eco friendly. Propelled by gravity you need to simply adjust your speed to suit your intrepid spirit.
Cape Town peninsula viewed from a helicopter image: Dawn Jorgensen
5. Take a flight over the Peninsula
Nothing quite beats an aerial perspective and a helicopter flight over Cape Town will certainly bring you a bird’s eye view of the mountain range, ragged shoreline, Table Mountain, Robben Island and False Bay beyond. There's also the option of a short flight over the city bowl, over the three bays of Table Bay, False Bay and Hout Bay, or even beyond for a glimpse of the jutting point of the Cape of Good Hope.
Alternatively you may just opt to avoid the traffic and take a transfer to a hotel or winelands estate for a meal; after all if you can avoid traffic whilst on holiday, you are doing well.
6. Tour the Cape Winelands in a classic car
Ever imagined stepping back in time and being chauffeur-driven in a classic 1950’s Jaguar as you visit various Wine Estates for tastings and lunch? Your dream can now become a reality when booking a guided tour of the Cape Winelands in one of these beauties.
Catering for all vintage car enthusiasts, Classic Cats are is guaranteed to add some flair to your touring experience. Of course should you wish to use one of the classics to tour beyond the Winelands, this can be arranged on request.
Street art in Woodstock, Cape Town image: Dawn Jorgensen
7. Always walk a city.
Exploring Cape Town on foot is easy and will bring the character of the streets to life. Take time to stroll through the cobbled streets of Bo-Kaap on the slopes of Signal Hill, with its photogenic candy-coloured homes, or join the locals on the Sea Point Promenade that links to the V&A Waterfront.
For the best views of Table Mountain take to the long barren beach of Bloubergstrand, or simply soak up the surfer’s paradise by walking the coastline between and Kalk Bay. Should you be a seeker of the urban edge, book a guided street art walking tour in Woodstock, an area seeing impressive regeneration and home to many fine restaurants and cool coffee shops.
Whichever mode of transport you choose, don’t limit yourself to just one when next you’re exploring the Mother City.
Explore Cape Town with one of Round the World Experts' Cape Town Holidays; give our South Africa Experts a call today.