Thursday, December 11, 2014

A top way to see Cape Town

Whether you are in Cape Town for weeks or just a few days you will find the double decker 'Hop on Hop off' buses one of the best ways to see the city and its surrounds. On a recent trip to the city my family and I joined the famous ‘red city tour’ topless bus for the day.

Staying at the V & A Waterfront allowed us to hop on the bus at the office near to Cape Town Aquarium, only moments from our hotel. The commentary on-board is via provided headphones and comes in several languages. A commentary channel designed exclusively for kids keeps young ones interested for the whole trip.

I chose to add a one hour walking tour of the CBD to my regular pass.  Our small group was hosted by our guide Rico who explained the colonial past, days of apartheid, release of Nelson Mandela and current Capetonian trends as we wandered through the centre of town. The tour was well paced and well presented. It showed us how the city’s story is intermingled with its inhabitant’s relationships throughout each era of its history.

The rest of the family chose to stick with the family tradition of climbing to the top of Table Mountain. It is best to do this in the early morning before the clouds, that often shroud the mountain, accumulate. The bus stop is across from the cable car station ticket booth for those preferring the ‘sane’ method of taking the rotating cars to the top. For those who enjoy more of a physical challenge there is a well-marked track to the top. Depending on your fitness levels the walk should take you between one and two hours with stops. The oddly sized stepping stones are pretty hard on your knees and it can be hard going in places so bring along plenty of water. The trip back down is via the cable car with tickets bought at the top station.

With the ascent of Table Mountain behind you it is the perfect time to hop on the bus again and enjoy the scenic drive over the lower slopes of the mountain to the coast. Camps Bay is my favourite place for lunch. This seaside suburb hugs the mountain leading down to the beach. As the home to many of the cities wealthiest inhabitants Camps Bay has plenty of great restaurants and cafes. Many have outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy the ocean views while you eat. Prices are around at least half that of Australia, due to exchange rates, which makes the fantastically fresh seafood an affordable treat.

Afternoon tea can be enjoyed at another hop off point at the popular beach suburb of Sea Point. A stroll along its famous boulevard offers a chance to walk off some calories.

There are plenty of stops on this journey which allow travellers to have a really good look around the city. Multi day passes, walking tours, canal cruises, sundowners taken at famous look out points and the Blue route, which takes you down towards the city’s southern peninsular, complement the red route. These buses are such great value with day passes starting at around $25.00 for adults and $10.00 or so for children.  You simply can’t pass up the chance to spend at least one day on them. 

Sally Anscombe – Product Manager This is Africa

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