I love the Big Red Bus. It has been a sure shot way to explore a new city and understand the lay of the land for me. Cities where I have thoroughly enjoyed the Big Red Bus tour have been Philadelphia, Shanghai and most recently Cape Town. We stayed at the Protea Hotel North Wharf Waterfront and had the Table Mountain and the bay defining Cape Town for us. It was only after looking at the routes on the Big Red Bus we got a better definition of Cape Town and its expanse.
Since the Red Bus has multiple stops you can start your journey from any point on the route. The Red Bus in Cape Town and Jo’burg is called City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off. The bus has three routes to choose from but I always prefer to choose the city route first and then if we have time to continue on the other routes. The tickets can be bought online as well as at their various offices, counters and ticket sellers.
The buses typically have open tops and riding on the top is great fun on a good sunny day. Cape Town is known to experience all four seasons in one day and is also known as the windy city. As a tourist the weather did throw me off a bit as I did not know how best to dress on a given day, we found ourselves cold on the first day as our jacket was not thick enough and hot the next day as we ended up wearing stockings and thermals.
Some of the must see points on the Red bus route are Table Mountain Cableway, Two Oceans Aquarium and Camps Bay. If you are riding the bus in the evening it would be a great idea to hop off near Camps Bay and have dinner at the cafes or enjoy the sun and surf during the day. Usually we cover the entire route on the bus during the first half of the day and decide on the places we would want to explore and the schedule the rest of the trip accordingly.
The commentary on the bus which is coordinated according to the stops can be very entertaining, it ranges from historical, to folk lore to celebrity gossip such as Johnny Deep’s favorite hangout place in Cape Town. The commentary is available in various languages for the tourists from across the world. The City Sightseeing office is also a great place to purchase souvenirs. Some of the places like Cape Point, Robben Island, etc are not part of the tour and need advance planning to reach there.
The Hop on Hop off tour in any city I have found to be very useful especially if we are new to the city and need a proper perspective on the city and need insights on places we want to explore. Next time you travel to a city do consider the Hop on Hop off buses which seem to ply in all major cities in the world.
Featured Image credit City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off and Razor Rasu.