Red bus tour: playing tourist in Cape Town

If you’re looking for something fun to do over the weekend, why not play tourist in your own town?

A while ago we did just that – we took a day tour on Cape Town’s famous red City Sightseeing bus. This open-top double-decker bus stops at all of Cape Town’s star attractions and your ticket allows you to hop on and off as you like throughout the day.

Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Hop on!

Buying our tickets was really easy. We simply booked them online (special online discount) and redeemed them at the V&A Waterfront tour office outside the Two Oceans Aquarium, about 15 minutes before catching the first bus of the day (09:00). The Two Oceans Aquarium also happened to be Stop 1 of our tour – all very convenient.

Fun and informative

We were bowled over by the friendly and well-organised service and soon sitting on the bus with our earphones and route maps in hand. We were a happy mix of local and foreign tourists and, from all the (multilingual) chatter around us, it was clear that everyone was excited to explore the Mother City.

Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Great views from the top.

There’s a special commentary available in 15 languages, including a fun channel for kids, which tells you a bit more about Cape Town and all you are about to see. Though I had already lived in Cape Town for many years, I found the commentary very interesting and even learned a few new things!

There are three main tours to choose from: the Red City Tour (11 stops around the city and the fastest way to get to the Table Mountain Cable Car – tickets available from the bus driver), the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour (14 stops around the peninsula with Hout Bay as the furthest point) and the Yellow Downtown Tour (7 stops centred around Cape Town’s historic landmarks and museums).

Blue Mini Peninsula Tour

We opted for the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour which is a wonderful, scenic route from the city all the way to Hout Bay with stops at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Constantia Neck (where you can join the Purple Wine Bus Tour), the World of Birds, Imizamo Yethu Township and Hout Bay Harbour. The route back to town runs along the beautiful Atlantic Seaboard via Camps Bay, Bantry Bay and Sea Point, and ends at the V&A Waterfront. All of Cape Town’s jewels in one day!

Kirstenbosch. Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Exploring my hometown in a sightseeing bus (not having to worry about any traffic) was pure bliss – I could relax on the top level and enjoy the sun on my face and wind in my hair, while watching the world go by.

Purple Wine Tour

Our first stop was Kirstenbosch, where we enjoyed a lovely breakfast and went for a stroll in the beautiful gardens. Next, we caught the bus to Constantia Neck where we connected with the Purple Wine Tour which stops at three of Constantia Valley’s finest wine estates. We headed straight to Groot Constantia where we enjoyed a wine tasting and visited the historical manor house.

Constantia. Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Views from Groot Constantia.

Next stop was Imizamo Yethu Township where we joined a walking tour with a local, before moving on to Hout Bay Harbour for a late lunch at the famous Mariner’s Wharf and a boat trip to Seal Island.  On our way back to town, we made a very important ice-cream-on-the-beach stop in Camps Bay.

Imizamo Yethu Township. Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Imizamo Yethu Township.

We had a very busy and fun-filled day, and still there was so much more left to see! If it’s your first time in Cape Town, you will be relieved to hear that you can also opt for a 2-day bus ticket which will allow you more time to take in all the wonderful sights.

Hout Bay Harbour. Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Hout Bay Harbour.

On our special sightseeing day, we were thrilled to discover all the other extras on offer to Cape Town visitors: a cool Harbour Cruise at the Waterfront, a sunset bus that takes you to Signal Hill for Cape Town’s signature sunset, free walking tours in the city and a minibus taxi tour to Gugulethu and Langa.

Atlantic Seaboard. Red bus city sightseeing tour Cape Town (Credit:
Driving along the beautiful Atlantic Seaboard, just after Hout Bay. (You can see Lion’s Head in the distance.)

If you want to splash out, there’s also an exciting 25-minute helicopter experience that will take you 2000ft above sea level and a vintage sidecar experience all the way to Cape Point. More than enough inspiration for our next sightseeing date with Cape Town!

Visit City Sightseeing Cape Town for more info and remember to book your tickets online for a discounted price. 

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If you're looking for something fun to do over the weekend, why not play tourist in your own town? A while ago we did just that - we took a day tour on Cape Town's famous red City Sightseeing bus. Click the pin to read the post from

(All photos by Birgit@Groove Is In The Heart)

4 thoughts on “Red bus tour: playing tourist in Cape Town

  • Apr 8, 2016 at 9:27 am

    It is great fun to do the red bus tour in one’s own city. We did it in Sydney a few years back and it is very enlightening to hear what the tourists are told

    • Apr 8, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Absolutely! We visited your Sydney a few years ago and did exactly that – the red bus. It was so interesting and a great way to learn more about your beautiful city 🙂

  • Mar 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    I love exploring a city with these red buses! Wherever I go, it’s the first thing I do. Cape Town looks beautiful by the way 🙂

    • Mar 30, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Me too, Eleanna. It’s such a great way to orientate oneself in a new city and good value for money. PS: Yes, you should definitely add Cape Town to your travel bucket list 🙂


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