Cruising with City Sightseeing Part 2
We did the second trip and alighted at the CTICC stop, No. 5. I noticed that someone had chained a fold up bicycle to a post close by, and wondered where the owner had gone. We walked through the entrance to the CTICC, where there is a City Sightseeing bus stop, and crossed the road to The Diamond Works. We decided to go and have a look, and were welcomed with a glass of bubbly [or orange juice if you prefer]. There were some really beautiful pieces of African pottery in a show case, the sort of thing that you would really like as a souvenir of your visit. Beautifully coloured teapots, mugs and other containers, all decorated with African animals and flowers in relief.
Our guide, a girl called, most appropriately, Kimberly, first took us to watch the diamond polishers at work. This was quite fascinating as they sit at what looks like a record turntable, complete with record needle arm. Even when the polishers are not polishing a diamond, this turntable is revolving really fast, but it is only when they finish inspecting a diamond, in the process of having the facets cut in into it, and put it back into its holder in the arm, place this point down on the turntable and you see the bright sparks jump out, that you realise how fast the table is turning as the facets are cut. I asked how the polishers know when to lift the arm. Kimberley told us that as polishers they train for a minimum of five years and become adept at what they do. Kimberly continued the tour telling us about the different cuts, a bit of history regarding the diamond mines and some of the famous diamonds and we saw a jeweller making a ring. I can highly recommend popping in here when you do the trip, even if you live locally, as it is quite fascinating, and the staff are really nice and helpful – even if you are only there to check out the diamonds and Tanzanite’s that you will buy when you win the lottery.
Afterwards we decided to go for coffee at the Westin, the hotel situated by the entrance to the CTICC and close to Stop 5 on the canal cruise, as well as close to Stop 3 on the City Sightseeing bus red and blue bus tours. There are several restaurants at the Westin, so you can enjoy a meal as well. Feeling refreshed we waited a few minutes for the boat to appear, and were ferried back to the Two Oceans Aquarium at a leisurely pace, picking up people en route. If you decide to get off at the City Lodge stop there is a Chinese restaurant close to hand and you can walk into town or Greenpoint from there, or wander up Buitengracht Street and look at the historical and colourful Bo-Kaap or visit the most fascinating street in Cape Town – Long Street.
It started to rain on the way back, but the boat has a lid over it to protect one from the sun and rain so we remained dry. The boat also has a quiet engine, and goes along at walking speed, so this adds to the feeling of cruising. I can highly recommend it. The overriding feeling that one gets by using the City Sightseeing tours is of being able to unwind. It is something that is in short supply in our modern world and to be enjoyed and treasured when available. We are so lucky to have all this in Cape Town. No worrying about parking, no jousting with the traffic, nothing but to be able to go and see our wonderful city and beautiful surrounds in a leisurely and stress free way.
You can purchase your ticket from the kiosk at Stop 1, City Sightseeing, right in front of the Two Oceans Aquarium Cape Town or you can buy it from the ‘captain’ on the boat. It is very cheap. R20 per adult, R10 for children and children under five are free. As with the Hop-on/Hop-off bus trips, you can get on and off the boat during the course of the day once you have purchased your ticket. If you purchase a 2-day ticket for the Red and Blue bus tours, the canal trip is free. If you wish to buy tickets beforehand you can go to the website (and get a discount on your main bus tickets).
Don’t forget to take something warm along and also sun block – you can burn quite easily when you are on the water.
There is covered parking directly across the road from the kiosk in the Portswood Square parking.
Buy your tickets here:
• Online at www.citysightseeing.co.za
Adults R110 (offline price R140), Kids (5-15 years) R70, Kids under 5 free.
Canal Cruise: Adults R20, Kids (5-15 years) R10, Kids under 5 free
• On the bus
• At out Ticket Office, outside the Two Oceans Aquarium: Bus Stop 1
Hi, I’m Corinna Turner. Cape Town and environs are so beautiful and varied, and have so much to offer. By going places and writing about them I feel I can share a little bit with those who are not fortunate enough to live here. More importantly I feel that there is a lot that local people don’t know about their city and environs. Cape Town City Sightseeing tours are one of the things that many Capetonians have not thought to try out, and I would like to change that. I am also known as Cape Winds Virtual Services you can find out more at www.capewindsvirtual.weebly.com