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Experience a slice of city life on the Cape Town Downtown Tour

  • 22 June 2017 | Alyx Carolus

Cape Town’s city centre has some beautiful, historic buildings, vibrant culture and great views of Table Mountain, but it also has a complex history and diverse inhabitants.

City Sightseeing’s Downtown Tour offers one of the easiest ways to hop on and hop off around the city. A relatively short tour of 30 minutes (depending on where you hop on or off), it’s perfect for sightseeing on a weekday morning.

We hopped on to find out what visitors can expect from this fun, family-friendly adventure:

Join the Downtown Tour in Long Street, at stop 5 on the City Sightseeing route. The first stop is St George’s Cathedral in Wale Street.

The cathedral is the oldest in the southern hemisphere and its incredible architecture is a sight to behold. Gaze at the stained-glass windows and see some beautiful religious artworks or have some quiet time.

Stained glass windows at the cathedral (Image: City Sightseeing)

The next stop on our red-bus ride was the South African Museum on Queen Victoria Street. Visitors can hop off at the stop, which is actually closer to the Planetarium, and walk through the Company’s Garden (the oldest garden in the country) to get to this historic institution, or grab some lunch at the restaurant.

The beautiful South African Museum (Image: City Sightseeing)

The museum is home to many valuable collections and exhibitions, from 700-million-year-old fossils to ancient textiles –  there’s something for everyone. Visitors can also make their way to the world-class South African National Gallery on Government Avenue, or explore the entire “museum mile”.

The Mount Nelson's entrance (Image: City Sightseeing) 

The next stop on the bus route is the Mother City’s iconic Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. Founded in 1899, the “Nellie” or “Pink Lady”, as the establishment is affectionately known, is famous for its exceptional high teas, service and Chef’s Table fine-dining restaurant.

A snap of the Jewish Museum (Image: City Sightseeing)

Another city-centre gem is the South African Jewish Museum, which is also home to Africa’s first holocaust centre. If you want to visit, don’t forget to bring an identity document. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour (which can be booked online) and get an in-depth experience of the museum.

The District Six Museum (Image: City Sightseeing)

Hop on once again and make a pitstop at the District Six Museum to learn more about this once-vibrant neighbourhood and the shameful forced removals during the apartheid era, or continue on the tour.

The last stop on the Downtown Tour is the historic Castle of Good Hope, founded in the 17th century and a historical monument. You could spend a full day exploring this site. It’s perfect for gorgeous shots of the mountain and boasts unbelievable 17th-century design sure to delight any budding architecture buff.

The Castle of Good Hope's entryway (Image: City Sightseeing)

If you’re up for a stroll, you can also walk around the city centre, starting at the Grand Parade across the road from the Castle of Good Hope and ending at the Company’s Garden. The Downtown Tour is ideal for any visitor who loves learning about history and seeing the city’s finest sights.

How do I get my ticket?

Buy your tickets for the Downtown Tour online, at stop 1stop 5 or stop 8, or from your bus driver. The entire trip lasts 30 minutes (if you don’t get off), but you can hop on and hop off as you please while on the tour. Don’t forget to share your pictures with us using the #RedBusSA hashtag!