The Southern Line Rail Route
Did you know?
On the Southern Line rail route, you sometimes travel so close to the ocean that you can almost feel the sea spray.
Among the best day trips you can do in South Africa is to take a ride on the Southern Line rail route. For a hop-on/hop-off ticket costing around R30, you take the Metrorail from Cape Town to five other stops around the city and on the Peninsula: Observatory, Newlands, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Simon's Town.
The Southern Line rail route is a partnership between the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism and Metrorail, and at each of the listed stations there is a map of the rail routes, which indicates tourist attractions.
Your only problem with this tour is being spoilt for choice. Do you make a day of it in Kalk Bay with the fishermen, lunch at one of the many upmarket eateries, pop in at all the galleries or shop for crafts?
Or do you combine the outing with a visit to Simon's Town, just up the tracks, for a good few hours in the Naval Museum and Heritage Museum or spend an afternoon out in the sun with the African penguins of Boulders Beach?
Throw in nine holes of golf, a harbour trip and a seafood lunch at the Simon's Town Waterfront, and you'll wonder where the day went.
On another day, you could take the Southern Line tourism route and visit the South African Astronomical Observatory, walk the Liesbeek River Trail and choose between sushi and Mexican for lunch. If you're a rugby fan, then the SA Rugby Museum awaits you.
But the Peninsula calls once more, and this time it's Muizenberg, which offers a range of museums and theatres as well as a popular surfing beach.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 21 449 6181 / 0800 65 64 63
How to get here
Head for the main station in central Cape Town to take the Southern Line rail route. If you're already staying on the Peninsula, catch the train from any of the stations there – Kalk Bay, Muizenberg or Simon's Town.
Best time to visit
Summer is the most popular time of year, but winter is called Cape Town's secret season – everything is very green but also very wet.
Around the area
Don't forget that Boulders Beach in Simon's Town has a large colony of African penguins. You can even swim with them, or tan on the beach as they waddle about.
Hop-on, hop-off wherever you feel like it, but note that this only applies between 10h00 and 16h00.
What will it cost
R30 will buy you a day pass.
What to pack
Bring your camera but bear in mind that this is an urban area: take the usual precautions and don't flash your camera around needlessly.
What to eat
Stop off in Kalk Bay for fresh fish or great pastries and fresh bread at the Olympia Café. Simon's Town has great quayside restaurants too.