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The Southern Line Train Route – Cape Town to Simon’s Town

September 2, 2011

There’s something about taking a trip by train that surpasses travelling by bus, taxi or plane. The landscape plays out like a never-ending movie through the carriage windows and the gentle ride can soothe even the most travel-weary. No traffic, no getting lost on unfamiliar roads, no lengthy check-in process – just the simple pleasure of enjoying the journey.

Visitors to Cape Town have a chance to rediscover the joys of travelling by train with a hop-on-hop-off rail pass that takes you all the way from the city centre and along the scenic Southern Line Train Route that meanders right next to the coastline.

Besides the opportunity to take in the splendour of the coast, the rail pass also allows easy accessibility to many major tourist attractions. This train route winds its way past miles of pristine sandy beaches as well as historical, environmental and cultural sites of significance. If you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Southern Right whales that visit annually between July and November to calve close to the shores.

Special MetroPlus train tickets or tourist rail passes are R30 for one day or R50 for two days. They allow unlimited train trips between Cape Town and Simon’s Town, are valid between 08h30 -16h00 and can be purchased at any of the participating stations.

If you travel directly from Cape Town to Simon’s Town without alighting it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. However, there’s lots to see and do along the way:

Start your day in central Cape Town with a visit to the District Six Museum or a stroll around the Company Gardens to feed the squirrels before departing from historical Cape Town Station.

Hop off at Observatory Station and take a short walk to the South African Astronomical Observatory or the Heart Transplant Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital, where the first heart transplant was performed.

Continue your journey to Newlands Station and you’ll be at the foot of beautiful Table Mountain as well as a stone’s throw away from Newlands Rugby and Cricket Stadium.

Further along the route, you’ll know you’re approaching Muizenberg Station as the salt air tickles your nose as you alight right alongside the beach. Stop off here for some coffee and a delicious bite to eat and take in the endless views over one of the most popular surfing beaches in the area.

The stretch from Muizenberg Station is undoubtedly the most picturesque part of this journey. The views from your seat will take your breath away and you’ll be amazed by how close the waves are to your window as you snake along the False Bay coast with Table Mountain rising up on the other side of the train. Jump off at Kalk Bay Station to soak up the bohemian vibe and do some shopping at the eclectic mix of antique stores, fashion boutiques, book shops and second-hand stores.

Carry on to Fish Hoek Station and amble on the beach or take a dip in the sea.

Finally, the last stop is Simon’s Town Station. No visit to this end of the peninsula is complete without a trip to see the quirky creatures of Boulders Beach, home to one of the world’s unique mainland penguin breeding colonies.

 Simon’s Town is also home to the SA naval base as well as the South African Naval Musuem. If you have time, there are boat trips, sea kayaking, nine holes of golf or delicious fresh seafood to enjoy – but you might just want to save that for another day…

Useful contacts:

No. 1 Adderley Street, Propnet Building, 5thFloor, Room 521
Tel: (021) 449-2366

The Pinnacle Building, Cnr Burg & Castle Streets, Cape Town, 8000
Tel: (021) 487-6800

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