Getting Around Cape Town-Without A Car

When we travel, we avoid renting cars as much as possible. Not only is there the expense of renting a car, but there is also the added stress of having to drive and navigate an unfamiliar place.

There are some places like Colorado, California, and our recent excursion to Florida, where having our own car to get from one place to another made the most sense. If we’re visiting a city, or just bumming around in a little beach town, we like to explore other transportation options. From a crazy taxi ride in Belize, to golf cart taxis on Holbox, a beautifully scenic bus ride in Costa Rica, lots of boats, and using our two feet, not having a car can be fun.

After doing some research, I discovered that Cape Town, South Africa, had a variety of options for the car-less. Here is how we got around Cape Town without a car.

City Sightseeing-Hop On Hop Off Bus

For our main transportation, we used the City Sightseeing-Hop On Hop Off Bus. Since once you implement your pass, you have to use it within a specified time, and since we had some tours, scheduled in between, we purchased a single day pass, and then a separate two day pass.

The Hop On Hop Off Bus offers four different routes, with multiple stops at popular attractions and places in the city. During our stay, we utilized the Table Mountain Route (red route) and the Mini-Peninsula Route (blue route). There is also a Downtown Route (yellow route) and the Wine Route (purple route, that I regret we didn’t have time to experience).

With a basic pass, you can also take part in two, free, walking tours, and a boat tour that leaves from the Victoria and Albert waterfront. We didn’t have time to utilize these.

We purchased our tickets online before our trip, but the company has visitor centers throughout Cape Town, where you can pick up tickets, maps, and schedules.  Most of the hotels also have copies of the map and schedule. All of the bus stop signs have the bus schedule posted.

There was a stop across the street from our hotel, so that made it super easy for us to grab a bus.

When you get on the bus, you receive a pair of earbuds. You can use the earbuds to listen to the pre-recorded audio tour (the tour is offered in a myriad of languages). This was great the first time we used each route. You learn a lot about the city. Having recently completed an audio tour myself, I paid close attention to the information and how it was disseminated.

After the first full loop on each bus however, we forewent listening to the audio tour.

The only negative of the Hop On Hop Off bus, is that you can’t be in a hurry to arrive at your destination. The buses operate on a loop, so you must ride out the loop to get to the stop you want. The buses also operate on a strict schedule, so if the bus is running early, you may end up sitting on a non-moving bus for a bit.

This happened to us one day on our way back to our hotel. We ended up sitting at the top of a closed (because of weather) Table Mountain for about fifteen minutes. We had no place we had to be, so it was just part of the adventure for us. We got to have a bathroom break, and we got to watch clouds pour over Table Mountain.

I never minded traversing the loop. It’s Cape Town. You can’t get tired of the fantastic views.

The Hop On Hop Off bus was an easy to use, mostly convenient, way to get around Cape Town. Though the prices vary from city to city, the Cape Town pass was affordable. It’s an option I’d consider when visiting other cities in the future.

Cape Town – MyCiTi Bus

In order to meet up with my VoiceMap Audio Tour editor, I needed to get to the Cape Town neighborhood of Woodstock.

Since the Hop On Hop Off Bus doesn’t travel to Woodstock, our next best option was to take the local, MyCiTi Bus.

We used the main bus station Downtown.

Buying a MyCiTi Bus card was easy and affordable.

The station was clean, safe, and easy to navigate. Once you know where you are going, and which bus you are going to take, you simply locate your appropriate platform.

The only downside was that for a period of time, we started to worry that our bus was never coming. Bus after bus stopped for many of the other routes, but there was no Woodstock bus in sight. Finally, the bus arrived.

We had no issues with the bus showing up promptly on the way back.

We were impressed by how organized and easy the MyCiTi Bus system in Cape Town was to use. Stopping by a station, and loading up a card for the week, would be a great option for getting around Cape Town without a car.

Good Hope Tours (Patrick)

We were tired, and I wasn’t feeling my best, when we landed at the Cape Town Airport. All we wanted to do, was to get to our accommodation.

One of the great things about Cape Town’s airport, is that they have a designated UBER pick up spot. You stand in the spot, summon your driver, and they know exactly where in the airport craziness, to pick you up. Unfortunately, for some reason, UBER wasn’t working on either of our phones. We tried, and tried, and tried again, becoming more frustrated with each attempt.

Sensing our fear that we may be stranded at the airport forever, Patrick stepped in and offered to help us navigate the app. Patrick was a tour operator, waiting at the airport, just in case anyone needed a ride. We promptly scraped the UBER idea and asked Patrick to drive us to Villa Sunshine Guesthouse.

Patrick is from Zimbabwe, but now lives and works in Cape Town. He was an all -around cool guy, who was filled with fantastic information about Cape Town and Zimbabwe. During our drive he gave us a great overview of the city.

Patrick handed us his business card, and told us to give him a call if we needed a driver again during the week. We utilized Patrick when we wanted to see the sunset on Table Mountain, and we arranged for him to pick us up for our return trip to the airport.

If you want transportation that is hassle free and more private than taking public transportation, I highly recommend giving Good Hope Tours a call. Patrick offered great pre-arranged, worry free transportation, along with interesting information about living in Cape Town and Zimbabwe.

If you decide to visit Cape Town without a car, and are need of a driver, here is Patrick’s information

We found Cape Town to be a city with multiple, convenient ways, to get around without renting car. We would not hesitate to return and use all of the same options again.

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4 Comments

  1. Victoria Marie Lees

    February 1, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Once again, Sarah, you have wonderfully helpful information for a traveler in Cape Town. Much of this logic works in other unfamiliar towns. I agree that it’s best to use public transportation in a busy town or city. This also allows everyone to look out at their surroundings and enjoy the sights. I’ve shared this post online. All best to you.

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      February 3, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks. I agree, we love to sit back and gaze at the scenery instead of having to worry about the road.

  2. Jill

    February 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I usually try to use the HoHo buses in any city that we travel to. I like that you get transportation along with some history and guidance. Looks like it was a good solution for you in Cape Town.

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      February 6, 2018 at 2:21 am

      I’m looking forward to using the buses in other cities. I’d like to even try it in my own city this summer. I’d like to know what information they give, and what songs they use.

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