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How to Get to Cape Town

How to Get to Cape Town by Air

Flying into Cape Town is probably the fastest and most efficient way to get into the city. Cape Town International Airport services both domestic and international flights, with regular flights to all major South African destinations like Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein.

The airport is 22km from the city centre. There is a shuttle bus between the airport and Cape Town station, in the centre of town, which operates until the last flight in the evening from both the international and domestic terminals. There's also an airport express bus, which will take you, by prior arrangement, to any destination in the peninsula. Metered taxis cost about three times as much as the shuttle bus and can be found in rank outside the terminals. There are no trains from the airport.

How to Get to Cape Town by Rail

There are trains from Cape Town to all over the country, with the journey to George particularly recommended for the scenery it passes through. The journeys to Johannesburg and Pretoria, though far duller, are adequate. There are daily services to Kimberley and Pretoria, and one service every Monday to Durban, Bloemfontein and Pietmaritzburg.

The Blue Train which is one of world’s best luxury train runs on a 27 hour long extremely scenic journey between Cape Town and Pretoria – book well in advance as the train is almost always sold out!

How to Get to Cape Town by Bus

Since roads in South Africa are generally in a good condition, driving into Cape Town is definitely an option, but the distances can be daunting.

There are frequent intercity express buses between Cape Town and the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape provinces, apart from Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria and Johannesburg and smaller cities. The bus station in Cape Town is located on the corner of Adderley and Strand Streets, in the interlinked Railway Station and Golden Acre complex.

Getting Around Cape Town

There is a public transport system in Cape Town.

There is a decent bus network around the central suburbs there are several services to Waterfront, Sea Point, Kloof Nek (for the Lower Cable Station) and Camps Bay. There is also a regular but infrequent service to Kirstenbosch, Hout Bay and World of Birds. Transport along the Atlantic coast is generally not so good, with the exception of the inner-city suburbs until Sea Point, which are served by frequent buses.

If you're planning on staying for more than a few days, it's worth investing in a Cape Town Card, which entitles foreign visitors to unlimited travel on all Golden Arrow buses and Metro Rail trains in the Peninsula. The pass is available from the Cape Card Information Desk, on the top floor of the Tourism Gateway, 3 Adderley St, and costs R35 for a four-day card and R55 for a seven-day one.

Cape Town taxis include metered cars, minibus or Rikkis (three-wheel vehicles). Make sure you take metered taxis at night. Taxis can be ordered via the phone or hired at the railway station. It is nearly impossible to hail a cab on the streets.

Cape Town's train service is quite efficient and runs through the southern suburbs, from the city all the way to Simon's Town. Trains run over the ground and there are no signposts on the streets, so you'll have to look at a map or ask around to find the stations. Tickets must be bought in advance at the station. A regular train service cuts through the southern suburbs to Muizenberg and from there down the False Bay seaboard to Simon's Town. Rikkis (786 2136) meet every Simon's Town train between 6.40am and 6.20pm. Trains leave every ten minutes at peak times (Mon–Fri 5.30–8am & 3.30–6pm) for the southern suburbs as far as Retreat, and every twenty minutes as far as Fish Hoek. The other three lines run from Cape Town to Strand (through the Cape Flats) and to the outlying towns of Stellenbosch and Wellington. Because they run through the Flats, some sections of these are not as safe as the Simon's Town train.

Many tourists rent cars to get around the city, and since there is no parking problem this seems to be a good way of getting around the city.

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