Looking for advice on How To Get Around Cape Town Without a Car?
As a solo female traveler visiting Cape Town, safety is my biggest priority.
I planned to see everything this amazing city had to offer, but I wanted to make sure I could do it safely… affordably… and easily!
And while there are so many things to do in Cape Town, getting around without a car can seem like a challenge but is actually very easy. If you know what to look for!
This guide on How To Get Around Cape Town Without a Car will show you not only the easiest way but the most affordable and safest as well.
Cape Town, South Africa, is like most other major cities. While there are plenty of places you can walk to, the city is actually quite large. So if you really want to see all the major sites, you will need a mode of transportation.
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Are Cabs or Taxis Safe in Cape Town?
The first thing I want to mention right off the bat is that cabs and taxis are considered to be VERY unsafe in Cape Town and should be avoided by tourists.
I personally stayed away from cabs while visiting Cape Town based on the abundance of advice I found on Google and from locals in South Africa. Seriously, anyone you talk to in Cape Town itself will tell you NOT to use the taxis.
Should You Rent a Car in Cape Town?
Renting a car in Cape Town can actually be very affordable and a great idea if you plan to leave the city center and explore on your own especially if you plan to visit the Garden route!
But driving in South Africa has its own set of challenges! In South Africa, cars drive on the opposite side of the road as in America. So if you are from the U.S., that’s a good thing to know before you go!
Out in the country where the roads are pretty open, this might not seem so bad. But in Cape Town, you couldn’t pay me to drive through the city!
The city streets throughout Cape Town are very narrow and the driving is pretty intense. Not a lot of drivers follow the rules, they kind of just squeeze their cars up and down streets and anywhere they think they will fit.
Between all the one-way streets, traffic, and driving on the opposite side, driving can be very stressful if you dont know what you are doing.
Several of the Uber drivers I talked with said tourists cause so many accidents because they are not used to driving on the other side and often go down the wrong way.
Oh and did I mention that almost every car in South Africa is manual? So not only are you driving on the opposite side, but you better know how to operate a stick shift as well.
One other reason why renting a car might not be a good idea is because there really isn’t much parking around Cape Town. To be honest, there’s virtually none. So dont waste half your day trying to find parking.
When is it a good idea to rent a car in Cape Town?
Really, the only reason I would suggest any rental car at all would be to visit some of the destinations further out, like the Cape of Good Hope or Boulder Beach.
You could rent a car just for a day to go see all those sites and then return your rental when you are ready to stay in the city.
Are Ubers Safe in Cape Town?
Ubers are generally known to be very safe in Cape Town and are highly recommended for use in the city.
While visiting Cape Town, I used Uber more than any other form of transportation and can honestly say I never had a single bad experience.
Uber is super easy to use. The same app works in South Africa as it does in America. And there always seemed to be an abundance of cars around. No matter where I was in the city, I could pop open the app, request a car, and have one within 5 minutes.
Every Uber driver was super nice and personal. A lot gave me advice on what to see and what to look out for.
AND Ubers in South Africa are super cheap! A 10-15 minute drive would cost me about 40 rand… which is equal to only $2-3 dollars in the U.S. I took several Ubers throughout the day and spent less than $20 total.
And when I tell you Uber drivers are super friendly… I really mean it. The Cape Town marathon was going on the weekend I was in Cape Town and several streets were blocked. I was trying to get to my hotel and the streets surrounding my hotel were shit down for several blocks in every direction.
Great story: My Uber driver said the part I needed to walk through wasn’t the safest and he didn’t feel good about letting me walk there. So he GOT OUT of his car and WALKED me to my hotel from his parked car. I was flabbergasted.
Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus
One of my favorite options! If you want to see all the best sites around Cape Town and you need transportation to do so, check out the Hop on hop off bus.
You can buy a day pass and ride the bus an unlimited amount of times. As you can see from the map below, the routes take you all over Cape Town, even as far as Houts Bay, and to the east side of Table Mountain.
There are stops all along the way. So if you want to get out and explore, you just hop off and hop back on again when you are ready. You can literally take this bus as many times as you want throughout the day.
The bus has an open-air top also, so you can sit up there and get some sun on a nice day. The bus also provides you with headphones to plug in and listen to facts about Cape Town along your route. I learned a lot about Cape Town from that!
Some of the locations you can visit from the Hop On Hop Off bus include:
- V&A Waterfront
- Two Oceans Aquarium
- World of Birds
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
- Monkey Sanctuary
- Mariners Wharf at Houts Bay (and Seal Island!)
- Constantia Wine Tours
- Camps Bay
- Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
- And more!
The Hop On Hop Off bus in Cape Town is a seriously fun and safe way to see every part of the city you want. Definitely check it out!
*Note: These buses only run until about 4:30 pm so if they are great for the day you’ll probably still need an Uber to go out for dinner.
Private Car In Cape Town
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking… a private car probably costs a ton of money. And in most places, it definitely does. But not in Cape Town!
Hiring a private car in Cape Town is actually very affordable and very safe. And what I liked about it the most… you get your own driver who literally takes you anywhere you want to go and waits for you at each stop.
Private cars are easy to find. Any hotel concierge (or front desk) can call a private car for you. I asked for one at 7 pm on a Sunday night and it was there waiting for me at 8 am the next morning.
One thing on my must-see list was to go to Boulder Beach to see the Penguins but Boulder Beach was a pretty far drive from Cape Towns City Center. The hop-on hop-off bus route doesn’t take you that far.
I didn’t want to rent a car. I considered just taking an Uber, but Boulder Beach is in a pretty small area and I was worried there wouldn’t be an Uber available to take me back. So I hired a private car (with some other solo travelers).
Our driver was great! He would take us where we needed to go and then just wait for us and take us to the next stop. Because we had this private car, we stopped at Boulder Beach and went up to Muizenberg Beach to see the colored huts. We drive to Kalk Bay for some lunch overlooking the ocean and some cute boutique stores.
Then went back to the city center via the Chapman’s Peak drive… the most scenic drive in South Africa.
You can also contact Rene at @wedo_tours to reserve your personal driver in Cape Town, South Africa!
How To Get Around Cape Town Without a Car
Cape Town, South Africa is a beautiful destination with many things to see. Don’t let figuring out how to get around Cape Town stress you out. There are plenty of safe and affordable options, each one depending on what your plans are for the day!
Do you have any questions about getting around Cape Town? Drop them in the comments below!