A classic for tourists, the city sightseeing bus is one of the best ways to see Cape Town quickly! You can buy a single or two-day ticket, and explore much of the city.
The red bus tour takes you through the city centre, and up to the base of Table Mountain, while the blue drives along the most beautiful stretches of coastline, and over to the city wine region! Hop off at any of the stops you’re interested in, and back on whenever you’re ready.
Küra and I went on this tour to explore our own city from a tourist’s perspective the other day, and it was just lovely! So I’ve got all the info you need, from tickets and times to highlights of the different tour options.
Cape Town Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Here are some quick details on the sightseeing tour, with everything you need to know about where, when and how.
The red bus at its Groot Constantia stop on the Purple route
Ticket Office, Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
That’s right in front of the Two Oceans Aquarium, another great Cape Town highlight!
You can either buy your tickets online here or at the Waterfront starting point. If you’re planning to explore during off-season, both options are equally good! If, however, it’s busy season, you’ll find a longer, slower line for the in-person ticket purchase.
If you’re taking a spontaneous trip and want to get your tickets on the day, you’ll want to buy them in person – online sales must be made a day or more in advance. And if you want to buy them months in advance, that works too! Tickets can be cancelled or rescheduled up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
A ticket gets you access to all four tour routes, and you can hop on and off as often as you like.
Single day ticket: Adults – R246 ($16) | Children under 17 – R127
Two-day ticket: Adults – R333 | Children under 17 – R222
First departure: 08:15
Last departure: 17:15
Some routes leave a little later – I’d recommend arriving at 08:30 earliest, and then you won’t have to wait longer than a few minutes for your next bus.
Buses run every 20 minutes (and some every 15 minutes in summer), so you won’t have any long waits at your various stops.
Different tour routes to choose from
Depending on what you’re interested in seeing and exploring, the different tours are very important to choose between! You can tick off more than one in a day, though, and they share a few stops, so you don’t have to stick with just one. Still, it’s important to come prepared.
Red city tour
This is the best tour route if you’re particularly interested in the central loop of Cape Town. It’s also the route that stops at the Table Mountain cable station, which is one of the city’s top attractions!
Long Street: The long-standing hub of Cape Town’s CBD, Long Street is pretty iconic. It’s the best place to be for a fun night out, but during the day you’ll find it’s mostly cafes, proper curio stores, and the like. Well worth a stop if just for the beautiful street art and pretty facades.
Table Mountain Cableway: This, of course, is one of the absolute most important stops in the city! Cape Town is spread out around our beloved Table Mountain, and its long mountain range is home to some of the most unique and beautiful flora in the world. You can trek up one of the mountain’s hiking trails – it’s a magnificent experience, but challenging.
The easier and more popular option is the cableway. This will take you up to the edge of Table Mountain and provide incredible views and some lovely paths crisscrossing the mountaintop.
Camps Bay: This is a beautiful coastal neighbourhood where you can have lunch overlooking the beach, and then pop into the chilly ocean water for a quick dip! This is also a favourite high-end area to stay in for tourists.
Green Point: This stop is right at the very beginning of the long coastal footpath, the Sea Point Promenade. A lovely and popular route to walk! It’s also right by the entrance to Green Point Park, a large and beautiful park with a lake, kiddies playparks, and lots of spots to picnic and relax.
Blue city tour
Taking you on a wider loop, the blue tour takes you through Constantia and Hout Bay, and round the coast through Camps Bay. A perfect chance to see our city’s natural range!
Kirstenbosch: One of the world’s greatest botanic gardens, Kirstenbosch is really a must-see. It’s home to hundreds of species of fynbos and forest vegetation and is the only place in the world where you can find many of these plants. A fantastically beautiful place!
World of Birds: A giant aviary of birds and monkeys, this is a pretty magical place. Many of their enclosures are open-air, and the birds stay here because it’s home. They’re also a hospital and orphanage for abandoned birds, and work on breeding endangered species. With over 400 species across 4 hectares of land, you’ll have loads to see.
Hout Bay Harbour: This is a beautiful harbour with some of the best fish and chips you can find, seals lazing about, and brightly coloured boats moored. It’s also the neighbourhood where you can set off on a kayaking trip or a seal snorkelling trip. We’ve done both, and can highly recommend either one!
Camps Bay: This tour, too, takes you to one of the best beaches in Cape Town! In winter, grab a coffee along the promenade and clamber up the beachside rocks for the best view. In summer, take a dip!
The Purple route is a part of the Blue route – it’s its own thing, but you’ll just stay in the Blue route bus and jump off at the purple stops.
Its other name is the wine route, and it’s the perfect opportunity to go wine tasting with friends, family or your loved one. This way you don’t have to drive, and you don’t need to call an Uber to take you the short distances between vineyards.
Groot Constantia: This is the oldest wine farm in Constantia (Cape Town’s vineyard-covered central neighbourhood). Established in [ ], it’s the best place to learn about South Africa’s wine history, with a museum dedicated to that past! The wine tasting is also one of the best we’ve had, with five exquisite wines enjoyed under the trees. Be sure to stroll along the vineyard and visit the duck pond, too.
Eagles Nest: Another big favourite, Eagles Nest is the best wine farm for families. The wine is excellent, and they’ve got plenty of space and opportunity for the kids to play while the adults enjoy their tasting. The setting, too, is really beautiful.
Beau Constantia: Beau Constantia is possibly the fanciest wine farm in Cape Town. The wine tasting space is a large glass box overlooking the Constantia wine valley. The food here is amazing – very high end. And of course, so is the wine! It’s pricey, so I wouldn’t necessarily visit if you’re just looking for a fun time with friends or family. But it might be just the spot for a special date.
Cape Town red bus tour – which one will you choose?
There you have it, all the information you’ll need to choose your favourite red bus tour route. We did the blue and purple tour, and it was fantastic. We did choose to do it on the hottest day Cape Town has experienced in years, so that wasn’t the best decision in the world, but I’m sure you’ll find a better day for such a trip!
Let me know if you do the red bus tour and what you think of it. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
And if you’re looking for exciting things to do in and around Cape Town, check out our post on the Franschhoek wine tram – it’s a fantastic way to spend a day.