The ocean and the dramatic landmarks of Table Mountain and Lions Head make Cape Town fairly easy to navigate. Most of the hotels are situated along the Atlantic Seaboard.
Private taxi companies such as Uber have a large presence in the city and are known to do trips as far as the Cape Winelands. Public transport, however, is poor and often unsafe, so most visitors hire a car, particularly if planning excursions from the city.
To rent a car, drivers need to be over 18 years old and have a credit card and a full driving license. A young driver surcharge is levied on drivers under the age of 23. The license must have a photo and be in English, otherwise an International Driving Permit is required.
Driving can be a harrowing experience in Cape Town. Lane changes can be confusing, signage is often easy to miss, and the same road can change names several times. It is a beautiful city to drive in, however, and experienced drivers should cope if they have a GPS.
For trips within the city, minibus taxis are cheap and convenient and can be hailed by adventurous travellers anywhere along their route. However, the vehicles are often in very bad condition and the driving can be appalling. Passengers should expect to pay around R5 for most journeys within the city, but are cautioned against getting into an empty minibus.
Golden Arrow buses leave from the main bus terminal to destinations around the city. Although timings can be erratic they can be a good option for those on a budget. The MyCiti buses in the city frequent well-marked routes and are a reliable and safe option.
Tourists are advised to avoid the trains, with the exception of the Simon's Town line, which runs through the residential Southern Suburbs, past Muizenberg and along the False Bay coast. Pick pocketing is rife, however, and there have been several attacks on passengers.
Rikkis, or small, open rickshaw type vehicles, are a novel way to explore the city centre and Simon's Town and are usually safe and reliable. Taxis are expensive but are a good option at night for those without a car.
Public transport should not be taken after dark.
Cape Town Airport
The airport is situated 11 miles (18km) east of Cape Town.
Cape Town Airport (CPT)
LocationThe airport is situated 11 miles (18km) east of Cape Town.
Getting to the city
The MyCiti bus is the quickest and cheapest option for getting into the city, but door-to-door minibus services are available for the journey and take approximately half an hour. Many hotels operate courtesy buses and a 24-hour backpacker bus is available hourly to many hostels. Other options include private services such as Uber and Taxify.
Car rental companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, and Tempest.
A taxi to the centre of Cape Town takes approximately 30 minutes and the cost may vary depending on the time of day and number of passengers.
ATMs, bars, restaurants, and currency exchange facilities are available throughout the airport. There are several shops, including duty-free in the International Departures section. A VAT refund service is available by the International check in desk. Hotel reservations and tourist information are also available.
There is short- and long-term parking in a multilevel parking garage connected to the terminal. There is also a special pick-up area that offers free parking for 30 minutes.