Living here in Cape Town, South-Africa, we are quite spoiled for things to do and places to see so its sometimes hard to make up ones mind of what you are going to do that day. Not letting a lovely sunny day go to waste, my friend Lara and I decided to take the Metrorail train from Cape Town to Simons Town. This was going to be my first train ride in South-Africa so I couldn’t contain my excitement.
I walk past the train station here in Cape Town on my way to work every day and I was finally going to be a passenger on one! While the railway system in Cape Town is mainly focused on commuter transport, The Southern Line Rail Route, which stretches from Cape Town to Simon’s Town, is highly recommended for visitors.
Recently Cape Town Tourism, the City of Cape Town, and Metrorail have collaborated to promote the Southern Line as a tourist route, focusing on tourist attractions near Cape Town, Observatory, Newlands, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town stations. This includes a “hop-on, hop-off” ticket allowing unlimited travel on the line during off-peak hours.
The train stops at several beautiful suburbs and coastal villages along the way and as the tracks run along the coast most of the way it offers some of the most beautiful views ever. The train itself was clean although there was a lot of signs of wear and tear and just plain vandalism onboard.
The trains are made up in an eight-car configuration, shorter than on the other Metrorail routes in Cape Town, because many of the platforms on the Southern Line are too short to handle longer trains. I can just imagine how crowded these trains must be in the summer when people use them to get to and from the many beautiful beaches along this line.
The line has a single service route, which begins at Cape Town station, with trains travelling east through Woodstock Newlands, Claremont, Harfield Road and Kenilworth to Wynberg.
We stayed on the train and continued south through stations at Lakeside and False Bay before reaching Muizenberg, where the railway line meets the False Bay coast. We got off at Muizenberg to search for the famous coloured huts that we had a small peak of from the train. There are few experiences in the world that rival the thrill of traveling by train along a rugged coast line while inhaling the freshest sea air and soaking in the sights.
From Muizenberg the line runs south-west, immediately beside the coast, with only a thin strip of rocks and beach separating the tracks from the sea. The stations at St. James and Kalk Bay are popular with beachgoers, as is Fish Hoek. The double track ends at Fish Hoek, and so do many trains on the line. Those that continue wind along the coastline on single tracks through Sunny Cove and Glencairn to the terminus at Simon’s Town. We got off at Kalk Bay for lunch however and never made it all the way to Simon’s Town.
We got off at Cosmopolitan Kalk Bay where the Main Road offers a wonderfully bohemian cosmopolitan vibe with antique stores, bric-a-brac shops, the Kalk Bay Modern Art Gallery, African curios and food ranging from Cuban, seafood to ‘boerekos’ to add to its old world charm.
After walking through the art filled town, Kalk Bay and enjoying some wine next to the ocean we hopped on a train back to cape Town before the weather had a chance to turn bad as the rain clouds were already creeping in. Had an amazing day and cant wait to do it again!
Have you explored your local area by train yet?