Unique and unusual rides abound at the Cape Town Big 6 destinations, including funiculars, cable cars and ferries. Here’s our pick of the best for the holiday season.
State of the art cableway up a natural wonder
The Cableway, which stretches from Tafelberg Road right up to the top of Table Mountain, at well over 1000 metres, is probably the most dramatic and unusual of all rides in the city. Each car whisks up to 65 passengers at a time, and the rotating floor ensures that all have spectacular views of Cape Town city, the sheer mountain rock face, Lion’s Head, and even Robben Island and the Atlantic seaboard. The cars are imported from Switzerland, and include a number of high-tech features to ensure that the ride is both safe and stable, even as the notorious Cape Town south-easter picks up pace during the summer months.
Ferry to the world’s most notorious political prison
Departing from the heart of the V&A Waterfront, is the ferry ride to Robben Island. The ticket price includes the return ferry trip, which lasts approximately 30 minutes each way, a visit to the maximum security prison, a 45 minute bus ride with commentary from a guide and the chance to explore Murray Bay harbour’s precinct attractions. Being out on the open water offers a truly unique view of the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, and the city in general, and serves as the perfect moment to reflect on this iconic South African landmark.
Golf cart around Africa’s most beautiful gardens
Kirstenbosch Gardens are massive, and it’s simply impossible to explore each corner of them in an hour or two, which is why a ride on the Kirstenbosch Golf Cart is a great idea – not only will you get to see the far reaches of the gardens, but you’ll also be accompanied by a passionate volunteer or staff member who will share fascinating information on the fauna and flora of this national treasure. Golf cart tours at Kirstenbosch are on offer from 9am to 3pm on fair-weather days, and cost R55 per person.
Luxury yachts, dramatic helicopter flips and the Cape’s best Wheel
A few minutes at the V&A Waterfront will reveal that there are dozens of unique rides to choose from. As a working harbour, there are a number of amazing yachts and unusual boats, including a famous pirate ship, that will take you out along the picturesque Atlantic Seaboard; a helipad on the V&A Waterfront grounds also provides easy access to some of the most spectacular views you will have of the Cape, including 2 Big 6 attractions, Robben Island and the Table Mountain Cableway. But if you prefer to keep things closer to the ground, the ever-popular Cape Wheel offers a unique ride that will take you up a few metres in the air, serving up exciting views of the V&A Waterfront and surrounds in just a few minutes.
Enjoy a fully guided bicycle tour of the heart of the CBD with Awol Tours. Departing from the Information Centre, this fun and educational tour is suitable for all ages and no matter what your fitness level, so the whole family can take part. If you would rather be chauffeured around Cape Town, why not try Cape Sidecar Adventures? Sit alongside a professional driver and relax as you get the unique opportunity to see the city from the seat of a World War 2 sidecar.
Africa’s only funicular
The legend of the famous Flying Dutchman – a wandering sailor said to haunt the waters around Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope – lives on in the Cape Point funicular of the same name. The two funicular cars make the steep 586-meter slope towards the Old Lighthouse look easy, and the dramatic views of the rugged coastline are a fantastic reward. The quick access to this spectacular viewpoint saves visitors from the short steep walk, and serves up a truly unusual ride: at present it’s believed to be the only remaining funicular of its kind in Africa, which means not only will you be transported into the legend of the ghostly galleon, but you’ll also be stepping into one of the world’s most unique rides.