Cape Town Series: If you are visiting South Africa’s Mother City for the first time (or just want to discover more on a return trip) the City Sightseeing Cape Town www.citysightseeing.co.za ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tours are a convenient, safe and fun way to explore a variety of places in just one day. We boarded the clean, open top double-decker downtown in Long Street. On the day we visited, buses departed every 15 minutes and staff were on hand to help you select which route to take. A very informative audio commentary was available via headphones in a selection of languages.
The bus passed various city centre sights before heading out towards District 6, Devil’s Peak, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (the first of 11 hop off stops) and Constantia Nek where we easily changed buses for the short ride to Groot Constantia wine estate. www.beauconstantia.com/ If you do not manage to venture into the heart of the Cape Winelands then this picturesque estate is the ideal place to take a guided cellar tour to understand how wine is made. The visit ends in the tasting room where the guide will give you the opportunity to sample five Constantia wines.
Visitors are free to walk around the beautiful grounds, visit the Homestead museum (charges apply) and even stay for lunch at their restaurants. There is also the option of visiting the Eagle’s Nest ‘boutique winery’, however, we opted to continue sightseeing by catching a shuttle bus to rejoin the main tour. The next optional stop was the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park. This is said to be the largest bird park in Africa but it also has a primate enclosure. This was followed by a hop off at Imizamo Yethu where tourists have the opportunity to take a township tour in the low-income but vibrant neighbourhood where there is also a chance to see a remarkable community arts project making ‘functional art’ from tea bags.
We opted to stay aboard until Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay, where there is a sandy beach and a working facility for fishing boats in addition to moorings for pleasure craft. The weekend Bay Harbour market held here is extremely popular with foodies. It is worth stopping off to take photographs and take a walk before a short wait for another bus for a scenic journey around the coastline.
Camps Bay is a perfect lunch spot with an array of eateries overlooking a wide stretch of sandy beach with the ocean beyond. The bus stops in the heart of the upmarket seaside suburb. Simply crosses the road to find shops and an array of smart restaurants, cafes and a small shopping mall.
Back on the bus after a fine seafood lunch at la Belle bistro the tour passes through the smart suburbs of Clifton, Bantry Bay and Seapoint. There may not be obvious attractions to stop for along the way, but it is possible to get off to find a place for a drink or take a few photographs of the impressive Atlantic Ocean views that are one of the highlights of this tour.
The coast road continues through Three Anchor Bay, Green Point and Mouille Point when the tour heads towards the city centre. After Cape Town Stadium the bus stopped at the V and A Waterfront, then moved through the rush hour traffic to finally end up at Long Street. The tour is a really easy way to discover the suburbs of Cape Town together with the magnificent scenery and striking coastline. It may also inspire you to maybe hire a car to continue exploring the wonders of the Western Cape.
Picture credit (top): Citysightseeing Tour Cape Town/Cameraland Cape Town