Top 7 places to visit by train in Cape Town

Posted on 29 March 2017

Whatever your views on the train system in Cape Town, there is no denying how integral it is to how people move around the city. Locals use it to travel to work, visitors use it as a means of transport for exploring the city and both locals and visitors hop on for a trip to the beach trip.

Before we get into the top spots to visit, let’s first establish why it’s beneficial to travel by train:

It’s cost effective. Local train rides in Cape Town costs R7.50 for trips that would cost over R100 with cab services, so if you plan your trips ahead of time you will definitely save a lot of money by taking the train.

Save the environment. The more cars there are on the road the more carbon emissions are produced. Taking a train ride is not only good for your pocket, it’s also good for the environment.

No traffic. You don’t have to worry about parking or driving back into town during peak times for traffic.

Make the most of your time by reading, looking outside the window to enjoy views and contemplate. Remember that J.K Rowling came up with the Harry Potter series while she was on a train ride. So take a train ride, you never know what will come your way.

Visit these 7 top places around Cape Town by train and take advantage of this widely accessible resource.

1. Muizenberg Beach

The famous coloured shacks on Muizenberg beach. Image by Teagan Cunniffe.

Pretty colourful houses, warm Indian Ocean water, one of the best surfing spots in the world; there are endless reasons why Muizenberg is worth visiting and the train will drop you off just by the beach. Unlike the pretty and icy-cold Clifton and Camps Bay beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, Muizenberg beach offers warmer water which makes for a pleasant swim. You could also come out to watch surfers riding waves or sign up for a surfing class with Surf Emporium.
Duration: From Cape Town Station this train ride should take 48 minutes.
Cost: R7.50 for third class and R10.50 for first class for a single trip.


2. Simons Town Beach, Long beach

Out to enjoy the warm weather on Simon’s Town beach 🏊🏾 #HumanRightsDay #SimonsTown #Beach

A post shared by Welcome Lishivha (@welcomelishivha) on

This small town is home to the South African navy and has one of the calmest beaches. The train will drop you off right by Long beach, the beach which has dethroned Muizenberg from my list of favourite beaches. The surrounding ports mean that there are no waves on the beach which make it an ideal spot for swimming. The water here is unbelievably calm. Beyond Long Beach, this historical and vibrant little town is worth exploring on this scenic train ride.
Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes if taken from Cape Town Station.
Cost: R7.50 for third class and R10.50 for first class for a single trip.


3. Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay Harbour
Kalk Bay is a fishing village on the coast of False Bay and is one of the prettiest seaside villages in the country. Also along the Muizenberg and Simons Town train route, the route is scenic and offers nice ocean views. There are many restaurants, craft stores and a serenity that makes this fishing village a spot worth taking the train for. You will not be disappointed. The area is popular and ideal for Sunday cocktails so make sure to visit Cape to Cuba, a popular cocktail spot where you could enjoy a cocktail with sand under your feet. Visit Kalk Bay books for some second-hand book finds.
Duration: From Cape Town Station this ride should take 53 minutes.
Cost: R9.50 for third class and R15.50 for first class for a single trip.


4. Wellington

A place to rest or catch some fish. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka.

Wellington offers a picturesque environment and hosts over 30 local wine farms. The town is known as the base for one of the oldest mountain passes in the country, the Bains Kloof Pass. It is surrounded by fruit orchards, wine estates, buchu plantations and olive groves. Wellington boasts a brandy industry, it is home to Sedgwicks and hosts a dedicated artisanal pot-still brandy route. The train ride into this beautiful small town is scenic and will ease you into the beauty of Wellington.
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes from Cape Town Station.
Cost: R12.00 for third class and R18.50 for first class for a single trip.


5. Stellenbosch

This popular university town is surrounded by wine farms and makes for one of the most picturesque settings in the country. The beauty and the luscious greenery of Stellenbosch is accessible by train on a scenic route. You should take this scenic train ride and try out the Stellenbosch Wine Route. Stellenbosch offers cosmopolitan restaurants, coffee bistros, serious views of mountains, vineyards and orchards. You could do worse things than to take the train, try out a wine farm or stroll around the area.
Duration: 1 hour and 20 minutes from Cape Town Station.
Cost: R12.00 for third class and R18.50 for first class.


6. Observatory, Lower Main Road

Observatory is Cape Town’s official hippie town and Lower Main is where all the alternative cool kids congregate. The train station is two blocks away from Lower Main Road so use the train to make a stop at this trendy hippie little suburb. Make sure to visit That Place for second-hand books, Big Mommas for local home-cooked cuisine food and Obz Cafe or Cafe Ganesh for drinks. Go further down lower Main to treat yourself at Queen of Tarts, one of the finest bakeries around Cape Town.
Duration: 9 minutes from Cape Town Station.
Cost: R7.50 for third class and R10.50 for first class for a single trip.


7. Old Biscuit Mill, Albert Road

Often referred to as The Mill, this little village in the heart of Woodstock hosts a market every Saturday that brings locals, tourists and visitors together in a vibrant set-up. The weekly market and area hosts plenty of upcoming designers and local artists, crafts and cuisines. Although you can get here easily with other modes of transport, it’s one of those places I like knowing that I can get to by train regardless of where I am in Cape Town. Plus you don’t have to worry about parking because Albert Road can get quite busy on Saturdays. Take the train and get off at Salt River station. The Old Biscuit Mill is 800m away from the Salt River train station. The Mill is located in Woodstock on the trendy Albert Road which hosts various stores and restaurants that are worth exploring.
Duration: 6 minutes from Cape Town Station.
Cost: R7.50 for third class and R10.50 for first class for a single trip.


Tips for travelling by train in Cape Town

1. Don’t take out your phone or valuable possessions for display.
2. Always enter into a carriage with people in it. Don’t ride solo, it makes you too vulnerable. I wouldn’t advise getting in a carriage that’s empty even if it’s first class. Remember there is safety in numbers.
3. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. No need to be paranoid, just be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour.
4. If you have any questions about which train to take and which platform, it’s always best to ask officials by the entrance or the security guards.
5. Check the Cape Town Trains website for routes and times and follow Cape Town Trains on twitter, they always announce any delays or changes on their page.
6. Don’t travel at night or when it’s dark. Plan your trips accordingly and check the times on the website so that you know when to head back while there is still some daylight.


Over to you

What are the hidden gems that you’ve discovered using public transport? Please feel free to share any hacks for how you travel around Cape Town.

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