The city of Cape Town is relatively easy to navigate with several options, from walking in the daytime to reliable public transport and shuttle services in the evening.
Do note that although Cape Town is considered a relatively safe South African city to visit, there are basic safety precautions we recommend you take. See advice in our Cape Town family travel guide for recommended precautions that apply to all travellers.
Public Transport in Cape Town
Cape Town’s public bus system is reliable and cheap. Every passenger needs their own myconnect card loaded with money, except for children under four years old and less than one metre tall, who travel free. Cash is not accepted on the buses.
Always remember to swipe on and off to get charged the right amount. You can find out more about fares and routes here.
Cape Town Taxis
Taxis are the most expensive way to get around Cape Town, but are still a lot cheaper than you would expect to pay in many other major cities. Metro taxis can be either flagged down, taken from a taxi stand (popular spots in town include Greenmarket Square or either end of Adderley Street) or pre-booked with numerous different taxi companies.
Although taxies are metered, it is recommended that you always ask for an estimated price before you go. The meter rate varies between R10-R20 per kilometre. From the city centre to the V&A Waterfront, expect to pay approximately R50-R70.
Uber is an increasingly popular way to get around Cape Town, and by all reports is a safe and easy option. Using the app you can order uberBlack and uberX to your exact location with fares taken from your credit card, and you are able to track the driver’s movements on the app.
Other Transport Options in Cape Town
City Sightseeing Bus
A city sightseeing bus is a tourist favourite in cities worldwide, and Cape Town is no exception. These open top buses can be a great way to get orientated with the city, with commentary provided. See more on how to book City Sightseeing Bus tickets and save money on our Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town page.
Many hotels will offer a free shuttle service, particularly those hotels located outside of the main tourist areas and hotels will often insist you take their free hotel shuttle rather than walking at night. You may be restricted in your timings, but it will save you a few rand on a taxi!
Hotels may also have recommended drivers that they trust and be able to book a private car service for you. Always enquire at your hotel as to the best and safest way to get about; your hosts will know current safety conditions and reputable companies.
Hiring a Car in Cape Town
Hiring a car is our best suggestion for getting around Cape Town and the Western Cape with a family. It will give you flexibility for taking day trips as many of Cape Towns top attractions are not centrally located and many hotels include parking for free.
It’s the perfect option if you’re heading onwards from Cape Town to explore the Garden route, you can pay a one-way fee to leave the car in Port Elizabeth.
A few things to note/be aware of:
- South Africa is a left-hand drive country (so the steering wheel is on the right!).
- Distance and speed are marked in kilometres.
- Petrol stations are full service. You should have a few rand spare for your ‘petrol jockey’.
- Parking in the centre of Cape Town can be notoriously difficult. There are official and unofficial traffic wardens/guards – and it’s not always easy to tell. Many will expect a tip to ‘look after your car’, which given the small cost involved, even when it’s free parking, is normally your easiest option. Keep a few rand in your pocket for this too.
Getting from Cape Town Airport to the city
The most common way to arrive in the city is via Cape Town International Airport (CPT), located 20 kilometres from the city centre.
The cheapest way to get from the airport into Cape Town is using the My CitiBus service, which costs around 90 rand. The bus will drop you at the Civic Centre on Hertzog Boulevard in central Cape Town. Services run from between 05:00 until midnight, and travel time is approximately 30 minutes.
The Public Transport Plaza is directly opposite the Central Terminal Building entrance and can be accessed using the subway under the main road. Tickets can be purchased here.
If you are travelling with a family, you may prefer the convenience of taking shuttle services offered by your accommodation (pre-booking is advised) or hire a car.
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