So my first trip of 2018 is underway and I just finished spending 4 amazing days in the Mother City. Currently, it’s summer down here so the weather was amazingly warm. Here are some tips I picked up along the way:
Getting to the city –
You’ll be bombarded with taxi drivers offering to take you into the city. Ignore them all. Just take the MyCiti bus that has non stop service from the airport to the Civic Center in downtown Capetown. Civic Center is the main artery for the bus system and from here, you can pretty much get anywhere in the city. All this for 100 Rand (which is around $8 USD). By comparison, I had to take an Uber back to the airport this morning and it was double the price but due to the time, I had no choice.
Where to stay?
The Waterfront area is probably your best bet in terms of being in an easy and popular area to stay. Other areas are near the convention center and more toward the downtown area. I will say that due to the Waterfront being so touristy, the police presence is significant so I never felt unsafe. I can’t say the same downtown or near some areas around the convention center (since there was nothing going on there this week). Prices are a little higher but I was able to eat everything in the 80 Rand price range (about $6) so it still wasn’t too bad. Staying downtown will put you closer to the newest/hottest restaurants and bars. There are other areas but you’ll pay for it via taxi, Uber, or rental car.
Boulder’s Beach –
If you want to see the adorable penguins, you’ll have to head down to Boulder’s Beach. It’s about a 30 min walk from Simon’s town train station and you can get there by taking the train from the Adderley Station. The ride take about 75mins but it all depends. Also, you may as well throw the train schedule out the window because the times are all wrong. Things tend to move at their own pace so trying to plan the train is just a waste of time. Once you’re near Boulder’s Beach, you can either go into the park for 75 Rand or you can walk a little bit and see the penguins for free at an adjacent beach. If you’re at the park, walk toward Simon’s town and you’ll see a small beach past a parking lot. Walk down the stairs and you’ll see the penguins there as well.
Side note: if you go into the park, there is a boardwalk there so you won’t be able to get on the beach to actually swim with the penguins.
Table Mountain –
I’m torn on whether this is worth it. On one hand, it does provide amazing views of the city. However, how much time do you actually want to spend looking the same thing? If you do decide to go, make sure you check before you go. Just look up at Table Mountain and you’ll see a small bump. That’s the cable car station. If you see clouds around it or clouds coming up behind it, don’t bother going since you won’t see a thing. Also, bring a jacket in case the because if the clouds roll in, it’ll get cold fast.
Robben Island –
This is really interesting and certainly worth the trip. However make sure you buy your ticket for your desired date and time in advance. Tour groups tend to buy tickets for their groups so tickets go fast and since you need to take about a 30min ferry to the island, there is a very limited number of tickets sold a day.
That’s my quick overview of the city. I could go on and on but I feel like this is a city where I know I’ll be back. My time there was to short and I honestly can’t wait to go back.