Getting Around in Cape Town
There are no subways, and metered taxis are expensive. Trains can be unsafe and, of the two bus services operating in the city, only one of them approaches international standards and has limited coverage. Cape Town can be conquered on foot during the day but there are trouble spots and walking at night is not a good idea in many areas.
Ultimately expats will most probably need to buy a car, a purchase that comes with its own list of rules and safety procedures.
Public transport in Cape Town
The network has grown to comprehensively cover the inner city and the Atlantic Seaboard, from Sea Point to Hout Bay. It also extends northwards, cutting through Milnerton and Bloubergstrand, and going as far as Melkbosstrand, an upmarket village on the West Coast.
Unfortunately, the service fails to cover the Southern Suburbs which includes a number of areas that are popular with expats such as Bishopscourt, Constantia, Claremont and Rondebosch.
Golden Arrow buses
Muggings and petty thefts are common on some routes and expats should take care to keep an eye on their personal belongings. That said, the trains are less likely to have an accident than Golden Arrow buses.
While not always ideal for everyday travel, the train from the city centre to Simonstown and Muizenberg can be a charming way to spend a weekend afternoon.
Metered taxis abound in Cape Town, but expats should take caution to use a reliable company. Rikkis, Excite or Intercab are reputable businesses, although often delayed. Fares are usually printed on the cab's doors.
Passengers should make sure that the driver has turned on the meter, or that they have negotiated a fare beforehand. Metered taxis that look to be in poor condition or that don't have a meter should be avoided. Tipping is appreciated, but not expected.
The most ubiquitous form of public transport in Cape Town is the minibus taxi which, although cheap and efficient, is not the safest transport option. Drivers are often reckless, conditions are cramped and vehicles are often in poor condition. In and around the city centre where distances are short and fares low, these can be a useful mode of transit but they are not recommended for any travel that requires nighttime or highway driving.
Routes run along main roads and pick-up and drop-off points are designated by the passenger. Tipping is unnecessary.
Driving in Cape Town
South African drivers are known for being reckless and the lawless practices of minibus taxis don't make the roads any safer. Expats should be sure to drive defensively and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Cycling in Cape Town
The city's cycling infrastructure still has room for improvement, though – for example, not all of the cycle lanes and routes are connected. If traversing an area without one, cyclists must ensure that they are easily visible to motorists and should be aware of surrounding vehicles at all times.