Getting Around Cape Town

Apr 26th, 2005, 07:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 9
Getting Around Cape Town

Hello All,

My fiance and I are planning a 10-day honeymoon to Cape Town/Garden Route area in December. Is there a good way to get around the area, other than using a rental car? Are there tour operators, for example? Or could we hire a driver to take us around? I would actually prefer to drive a rental car, but my fiance is worried about car-jacking (even though I've tried to convince him that car-jacking isn't really a problem, despite the hype). Will we be totally stuck without a car of our own??

thall0672 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Backpackers normally use Baz bus or similar to hop on/hop off along the main sightseeing towns.

I assume you don't have a budget crisis so a rental car makes perfect sense in your case. Most rental car companies offer drivers should you need one - frankly I totally believe you don't! And cell phones, etc.

There are simple rules to follow for a safe self-drive in South Africa - it's been listed on this board before. Thousands of people will do it in December with no threats to their safety!

Tour companies come in all shapes sizes. From one man operators to large companies such as Thompsons. They will drive you around in cars, minibuses, small buses and large tour buses.

I believe these are really limiting especially for couples on their honeymoon (I assume you are). Cape Town & the Garden route are best explored on one's one - using a rental car and pre-booked bases from where to operate from (since December is a busy month). These can be B&Bs, hotels or resorts.

In Cape Town and most towns you can take day trips offered by local companies - just pop in to the tourist offices! And then you drive to the next town. The distances are small enough so you never have to drive at night! Maps and guides books are plenty - even GPS directions everywhere!

Many people on this board will help you put together a super itinerary. And the owners/staff of your accommodations will help ensure your safety once you arrive!

Go for it!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Sorry for the typo's in the previous post. I am sitting at Starbucks with the notebook on my lap.

I missed the fact that you ARE on honeymoon! Even more reason to self-drive with a flexible schedule.

And I meant to say that "the places are best explored on one's own" - not "on one's one"!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 82
my fiance and i spent 8 days in cape town and the winelands in march. we rented a jetta for our entire stay and would have missed out on much without it. while we stayed in a fantastic clifton beach location, there's just so much to do and see. having a rental car means that you can do whatever you want to do whenever you want. total freedom! i did all of the driving during our trip and found it extremely easy to drive on the left. and we never once felt that we were in danger by driving ourselves around. hope this helps.
victoria_sw3 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 08:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 9
Thank you everyone! This is really helpful. I hope I can convince my fiance that renting a car will be safe, because I really want to be able to have that flexibility.

Thanks again!
thall0672 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354

Driving around Cape Town can be a bit intimidating just because it is a big city and there are areas (near the airport for example) that look run down to say the least.

You can start your trip somewhere on the Garden Route (George for example), and then finish off in Cape Town.

This way your fiance's confidence will grow while driving through the small towns.

By the time you get to Cape Town (via the winelands and/or the Hermanus area), he will be an old hat behind the wheel. You will then have the option of dropping off your car and taking in most of the sights around Cape Town on organized half-day or day trips, while staying somewhere central such as the V&A.

If you stay in the suburbs it may be better to keep the car.

Anyway, these are just some ideas to lessen the concerns!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
We found driving around Cape Town to be more relaxing by FAR than driving around pretty much any big city that we've visited and driven in previously.

We felt safe at all times.

We found it very easy to navigate using the basic maps provided by the rental agency and the signposts too.

We found it easy to park and didn't feel uncomfortable paying the "guardians" to look after our car (just a few Rand).

Where the car was most useful was for the day trip down the peninsula, including the wonderful Kirstenbosch Gardens, Boulders Beach, the Point itself and for the journey to the Winelands area.

In town we actually left the car at the guest house several times and took a taxi instead. Taxis are easy to find and inexpensive. Do note though that they are not all on the same rate but the rate (per mile, or maybe it's kilometre) is clearly painted on the sides of the vehicles. Given that the rates are different we felt perfectly entitled to pick and choose the car we went to from a line (and considered both cost per mile and also the general appearance of the car in terms of maintenance.

Guest houses and restaurants will also call taxis for you and if you've found a firm you like (with prices, drivers and cars you like) feel free to give the restaurant the name and number and ask them to call you a cab from that specific firm rather than their regular one (which may be more expensive).
Kavey is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 132
I'm with Kavey on this one. After arriving in Cape Town, we rented a car and started our driving trip to Hermanus, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, the Winelands and back to Cape Town. We never felt unsafe and had no problem getting where we were going. Our biggest issue was "driving on the other side of the road" from what we were used to and I made the mistake of renting a manual shift car (which we both drive at home)! My husband did all of the driving and I was the navigator and he did a great job. We had no problem driving in Cape Town, although we tended to leave the car at the guest house and walk, except to go to Kirstenbosch Gardens (which was superb!) or occasionally get a taxi. We did hire a guide in Oudtshoorn to do the pass, and also in Cape Town to do the Peninsula tour (Selwyn's brother, Rob, who was terrific -- Selwyn was already engaged). That worked very well to give Jon a break on the driving and give him the opportunity to really enjoy what we were seeing, and it also was much more informative.
KT_Tomlinson is offline  
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