It’s crazy to think that so much of the Foreshore precinct used to be underwater. Even the office I’m typing this from, across the road from the CTICC, is built on reclaimed land.
No one can argue that the land-reclamation project wasn’t a good idea, but it does mean that the CBD has become somewhat severed from its identity as a seaside location – few city slickers ever find themselves on the canals that connect the CTICC to the Waterfront.
But you really should, and it’s pretty easy to do with the hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing Cape Town Canal Cruises that depart every 20 minutes from jetties at the CTICC, Harbour Bridge, City Lodge and One&Only Cape Town.
I boarded one of the brightly coloured boats on a sunny Cape Town afternoon, and sat back to see Cape Town from a new angle.
Whether it was the breeze off the water or that incomparable feeling of being a tourist in your own city, there’s something incredibly tranquil about cruising along beneath Oprah Winfrey’s (rumoured) R70 million penthouse.
You’ll be issued with a pair of earphones to plug into the on-board commentary should you be in the mood for a local history lesson.
The informative narrative covers the land reclamation project, the property developments beside the canal, and a few canal secrets (did you know there are underwater tunnels leading from the main building of the One&Only to its private island in the canal?).
Apart from a short and sweet pleasure cruise, the water taxis are a nifty way to get from A to B. Exploring Long Street and decide you’re in the mood for high tea at One&Only or some retail therapy at the V&A? Just hop on and hop off. It’s especially handy if you’re staying at any of the three hotels en route. Plus you can combine your Canal Cruise with a City Sightseeing bus ticket for a full day or two of city access.
City Sightseeing has discounted the online price of the cruise to just R35 per adult and R20 each for kids (under fives travel free). And on Tuesdays and Fridays South African pensioners can purchase tickets at half price.
We’re giving away SEVEN DOUBLE TICKETS for a City Sightseeing Canal Cruise. Click for details.
Where Jetties are located at One&Only Cape Town, City Lodge, Harbour Bridge and at the CTICC. Tickets can be purchased from the City Sightseeing office on Long Street or the office in front of the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront.
When 9 am – 5 pm daily
Cost R35 per adult when purchased online, R40 from the ticket offices
Contact +27 (21) 511 6000. www.citysightseeing.co.za
Photography Jade Taylor Cooke