Traffic in Cape Town is a reality. Being officially ranked as the most congested city in South Africa, there is no escaping it. But, by being crafty about it, there are ways and mean to alleviate the traffic blues.

This isn’t a cheap shot at how to make your two-hour journey home just a little more bearable. Listening to that killer playlist and looking at views of Table Mountain while you wait in traffic is not the answer to beating traffic woes.

Instead, this is a high-level view about Cape Town’s traffic and how to beat it. We cannot wave a magic wand and make the traffic disappear, but we can look at the statistics and work our way through them to shorten our commute time.


Cape Town traffic
Information provided by TomTom Traffic Index
Cape Town traffic (CBD)
Information provided by TomTom Traffic Index


First, let’s look at where the traffic is most congested – the charts above display this in numerical order. At the top of the list, we have the N1 outbound-Buitengracht route in central Cape Town as well as Nelson Mandela Boulevard. The other major route out of Cape Town is De Waal Drive, which weighs in as the twelfth-most congested route when eventually feeding into Settler’s Way. This effectively makes De Waal Drive the most efficient route out of the city. Then, it’s a case of planning your route to avoid high-traffic areas. Less-known backroads may help greatly from here on out.


Cape Town traffic times
Information provided by TomTom Traffic Index

The City of Cape Town recommends employees to make use of flexible working hours and working from remote locations, but truthfully, not all of us have that luxury. If you’re able to slightly adjust your working hours to swing in your favour to avoid the dreaded congestion, that option is highly recommended. Between 2015-2016 alone, the average travel time for Capetonians increased by 35%. The data has yet to be published for 2017, but we can expect another exponential leap once the results are out.

Morning traffic in Cape Town has been shown to be busier than evening traffic, with the busiest period occuring between 06:30 – 8am. A working day between the hours of 10am – 6pm would ultimately be the ideal way to cut your daily commute time.

Cape Town traffic times
Information provided by Lightstone



Fortunately, navigation systems factor real-time traffic into the equation and may suggest an alternate route you may have never considered before. Google Maps and Apple Maps may lead you through new suburbs, but in the end you’ll be saving valuable time. The resource iTraffic provides frequently-updated snapshots of routes in & around Cape Town.


Try alternate routes. Is there a secret way to get to your destination? Often enough, a secondary route may add several extra kilometres on the clock, but you could be saving up to 30 minutes travel-time in some instances. Owning a vehicle like the Suzuki Celerio is built with fuel economy in mind. Study the major, most congested routes on a map and plan your workaround.

Are you able to shift working hours in your favour? Arriving to work 1-2 hours later and then leaving later may save valuable time. In the same breathe, leaving work just 1-2 hours earlier will help. Leaving home at, or after, 9am will ensure a relatively smooth commute to work.

Use technology to your advantage. Follow the major local traffic apps on Twitter and stay updated with how traffic is faring on a daily basis.


Photography Courtesy

Article written by


We love this place! Cape Town Etc features news, reviews, entertainment and lifestyle in the Mother City.