Cape Town: Essentials
TO / FROM THE AIRPORT
Way 2 Go Shuttle Service
Door-to-door shuttle van to/from Cape Town International Airport that runs 24 hours. Drivers will meet you with a signboard in the international terminal near the rental-car kiosk if you reserve ahead, or in the domestic terminal at the Way 2 Go kiosk. Online prebooking advised. Rates for a one-way trip from airport to your hotel anywhere in the city center or back to the airport are $18 for one person, $20 for two.
White minibus taxis are a cheap way to travel major city roads, but they're not for the squeamish. The taxis can be cramped, noisy, and sometimes shabby, but they're fast--sometimes hair-raisingly so. They don't make official stops; board anywhere you can flag one down, and shout when you want to get off. Purchase tickets onboard. Note: These are not a safe option outside the city center and Atlantic Seaboard. About 40¢ to points within the city center.
Marine Taxis 011-27/21-434-0434, marinetaxis.co.za
Most reliable 24-hour taxi service in Cape Town, with a fleet of new cars. Call for pickup. Cash only. Fares start at 33¢, plus $1.80 per kilometer for up to seven in a minivan, four in a sedan.
Hop On--Hop Off Sightseeing Cape Town Bus
Open-air double-decker buses with a guide's commentary that make routine stops at major attractions only, like Table Mountain cableway, the V&A Waterfront, and the Cape Town Tourism Office. Hop on and off wherever you like. Note: Buses make stops at each sight every half hour in summer, about every hour in winter. Pay as you board; you can even pay with a credit card on the bus. Passes valid for one day. $15 for City and Mini Peninsula Tours, $26 for a combo pass.
Avis, 011-27/21-934-0330, avis.co.za
Tempest Car Hire, 011-27/11-396-1080, tempestcarhire.co.za
With so much to see beyond the city limits, it's helpful to have your own wheels. Try Avis for best all-around selection and service, or Tempest for low-priced, no-frills cars. Expect to pay about $39/day, including insurance, for a manual vehicle without A/C or radio, and from $64/day for an automatic. Note: People drive on the left side of the road. South African roads are well-marked and well-maintained, but be aware of speeders.
WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND TOWN
At newsstands Cape Times, 70¢; Cape Argus, 60¢, tonight.co.za; Cape Etc. magazine, $2.50
Cape Talk, 567 mw (talk radio with entertainment updates)
Footsteps to Freedom City Walk
The complete story of Cape Town and its people. Three-hour guided walk incorporates many historic sites, like the Grand Parade, Company's Garden, and St. George's Cathedral, and covers early trading, slavery, apartheid, freedom, and urban regeneration. Departs from the Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Castle St. and Burg St. at 10:30 a.m. Mon.--Sat. $16, includes visit to District Six Museum.
Cape Care Route
Community tours by minivan that focus on uplifting social, economic, and environmental programs. Participants can rspeak directly with people working on projects. Run by Faizal Gangat, who won Best S.A. Tour Guide Award in 2004--2005 from the Tourist Guide Registration Office. Township walking tours also available. Reservations essential. $75 per person for a full-day tour.
A 14-year-old adventure-tour company with a stellar safety record. Day tours include hiking, biking, and picnicking on Cape Point and Peninsula, cycling through the Winelands, and even kloofing down Suicide Gorge. Kloofing is an exhilarating and uniquely South African sport where you hike along a gorge and then jump into pools from varying heights. $57--$90, includes equipment and lunch.