Cape Town Travel Guide

Flights, Train & Cruise

By plane

Cape Town International Airport (CPT)
Cape Town International AirportPhone: +27 (0)21 937-1200Cape Town, International Port of Entry
is the second largest airport in South Africa (the largest being the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg), located around 20 km east of the city centre of Cape Town. It can easily reached by all National Roads and situated directly at the N2 near Bellville.

The MyCiti rapid transit operates from 04:30 to 22:00 between the airport and the centre of Cape Town with connections to the Atlantic coastal suburbs and to the MetroRail commuter train service .

There are multiple direct flights daily to Johannesburg, Durban and all other major South African cities, as well as Windhoek and Walvis Bay in Namibia, and Gaborone and Maun in Botswana.

Local airlines include South African Airways, British Airways franchise Comair and low-cost airlines Kulula.com and Mango

International Airlines operating routes to Cape Town include:

Air Botswana - Gaborone, Maun (Both direct)
Air Mauritius - Mauritius (Direct)
Air Namibia - Windhoek (Direct)
Air France - Paris Charles de Gaulle (Direct - seasonal)
British Airways - London-Heathrow (Direct)
Emirates - Dubai (Direct)
Kenya Airways - Nairobi
KLM - Amsterdam (Direct)
Lufthansa - Frankfurt, Munich (Direct - seasonal)
Qatar Airways - Doha
Singapore Airlines - Singapore
South African Airways - 37 international destinations in 26 countries in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia
Turkish Airlines - Istanbul
Virgin Atlantic - London-Heathrow (Direct - seasonal)

South African Airways no longer operates inter-continental routes direct from Cape Town International, only via OR Tambo in Johannesburg. Services from the United States also connect via OR Tambo in Johannesburg from/to New York City, Washington DC or Atlanta. In the summer, (October–March) several charter airlines operate direct flights from all over Europe to Cape Town. Spare seats are sold with substantial discounts but during Christmas time and New Year prices rise significantly.

The Antarctic Company operates 3-day excursions from Cape Town to Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.

By train

All scheduled South African passenger trains are run by PRASA (the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa), which has different divisions for long-distance (inter-city) trains and commuter (suburban) trains. Shosholoza Meyl operates inter-city trains and MetroRail operates commuter trains in major cities.

Shosholoza Meyl has three classes of inter-city trains : Economy Class, Tourist Class and Premier Classe. In economy class there are seats only (no bunk beds), tourist class provides bunk beds for overnight trips (bring a sleeping bed or buy bedding on the train) and premier classe is luxurious and comfortable, with all meals and bedding provided. Economy and tourist class trains have a buffet car for food. Prices on the three classes vary accordingly.

Cape Town's main train station is located in the city centre, on the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street. All trains to or from Cape Town arrive and depart from here.

There are inter-city trains to

Johannesburg via Kimberley every day of the week, with two trains per day on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Economy and Tourist Class);
Durban via Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg on Monday and Wednesday (Economy and Tourist Class);
Port Elizabeth via George and Oudtshoorn on Friday (Premier Classe only);
East London on Sunday (Economy Class only);
Queenstown on Thursday (Economy Class only).

MetroRail has two classes on commuter trains in and around Cape Town : MetroPlus (also called First Class) and Metro (called Third Class). MetroPlus is more comfortable and less crowded but also more expensive. Every trainset has both MetroPlus and Metro coaches ; the MetroPlus coaches are always on the end of the train nearest Cape Town. Prices are cheap so it is better to be more comfortable and use MetroPlus. Note that there are steep fines if you are caught in a MetroPlus coach with a Metro ticket (vice versa is allowed).

MetroRail commuter trains are a great way to get between Cape Town and neighbouring towns such as Stellenbosch, Strand, Paarl, Somerset West, Malmesbury, Worcester and through the Southern Suburbs (Claremont, Wynberg, Retreat) or to the beaches at Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Glencairn and Simon's Town. Contrary to many reports that you might read, MetroRail trains are safe, but it is probably wise to avoid avoid traveling at night if possible. If you need to use trains at night, use the most crowded first class (MetroPlus) car and don't stay alone.

The train line from Cape Town to Simon's Town is fabulous ; from Muizenberg south to Simon's Town it runs right next to the sea. You can often see whales, and if it's windy you may have sea spray hitting the train windows. For the best views make sure you sit on the east side of the train (the left side as you face away from Cape Town and towards Simon's Town). This route previously boasted a moving restaurant coach (called Biggsy's) that did the return trip from Cape Town to Simon's Town between 2 and 4 times a day, every day except Monday. However, Biggsy's restaurant car was withdrawn from service on July 2007 for renovations and by June 2009 had not yet been re-introduced. You can buy a Tourist "hop on, hop off" ticket for the Cape Town-Simon's Town route that allows you to get off and on any train for the entire day.

Trains to Stellenbosch run every two hours (more or less), but this journey might take a while. Ask at the ticket counter if there is an earlier train you could use, as there are also trains to Stellenbosch starting in Bellville and Eerste River.

By car

The vast majority of roads in and around Cape Town are in a very good condition, making travelling by car an easy issue. However, please be aware of hijackers at night or at traffic lights. The danger is not as high as often emphasized by the media, but a good portion of precaution should be taken. Please ask your hotel staff or anyone familiar with the area about where it is safe and where it is not safe.

Several major highways start in Cape Town:

N1 runs north-east, passing Paarl, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg on its way from Cape Town to Harare in Zimbabwe. Also a good choice if you want to go to Kimberley and the northern Drakensberg.
N2 runs along the East Coast towards the Garden Route, George and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, through the Wild Coast up to Durban and Swaziland. Note that the N2 is a toll road through the Tsitsikamma National Park.
N7 goes north along the West Coast to the Northern Cape city of Springbok and to Namibia. Also follow it to go to Upington and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Hiring a car in South Africa is not as expensive as in Europe or many other countries. Petrol is also cheap compared to Europe but a bit more expensive than in the United States. The locals will tell you that the Cape Town drivers are the most courteous drivers in South Africa (except the mini bus taxi drivers who are unpredictable) and generally drive slower in comparison with other cities.

By bus

All major bus companies have Intercity connections from Cape Town, taking you to other cities in South Africa and to Windhoek in Namibia. There might be up to 6 buses a day to certain cities.

The starting point is next to the train station at the corner of Adderley and Strand Street, near the Golden Acre building. Please ask at the nearby tourist information or in your hotel for connections and where your bus is going to leave, as finding your bus can become difficult.

Also, there are a few bus services available while travelling from eastern Africa, notably Tanzania and Kenya. The general route followed is Nairobi (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe) in order to reach Johannesburg. The journey from Nairobi takes about two to three days.

Bus tickets can also be obtained from Computicket .

Cape Town is also on the Baz Bus route.

By boat

Most of the larger cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises offer Cape Town as one of their destinations, but you can also try something different:

RMS St HelenaThis passenger/cargo ship is the last working Royal Mail Ship and stops at Cape Town on its way to St Helena.

source: Wikivoyage

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