Written by Lindsay Krause
Being based in the bustling City of Cape Town, you’d think the Ker & Downey® Africa marketing team had seen it all and so did we. Table Mountain, tick! Boulders Beach, tick! Bo Kaap, Zeitz Mocca, V&A Waterfront, tick! While zipping up our retro, red leather jackets, buckling up our helmets and climbing aboard vintage sidecars from World War 2, we had no idea how a chauffeured spin around Cape Town with Cape Sidecars Adventures would give us a whole new outlook on the city.
Started by world traveler Tim Clarke in 2005, Cape Sidecar Adventures has continued to grow from strength to strength. Having lived and worked in the heaving city of Shanghai, Tim quickly fell in love with his adopted 3-wheeler chariot and shipped 6 salvaged sidecars back to Cape Town. Now, with a fleet of over 30 CJ 750 motorbikes, the company offers a range of routes to experience the city and its surroundings.
If you’re short on time you can opt to ride out along the dazzling Atlantic seaboard, loop around Signal Hill, cruise down the Camps Bay Strip or venture up the West Coast on a 2 hour chauffeured excursion. Got more time on your hands? Choose between a half day tour taking you over Chapman’s Peak Drive to the the quaint seaside town of Simon’s Town and rebounding through the Constantia Winelands or a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula, roll through the estates dotted along the Cape Winelands or venture further from the city towards Betty’s Bay to see the whales* along the coast. Want to take the reins? Kick it up a gear on a 6 or 11 day overland self-drive tour up the Garden Route, West Coast or join your fellow bikers on the renowned Route 66, on a 12 day on a Desert and Coastal Tour.
*South Africa’s whale watching season is in full swing between the months of June and November. For more info on the whale watching season click here.
Beating out Cape Town’s bearded hipsters in secondhand threads, Tim’s fleet of vintage sidecars are real scene stealers. The decommissioned WW2 bikes were used by the Peoples Liberation Army of China between the early 1950s to mid-1970s and have all been refurbished to suit South African Road traffic requirements – ensuring your ride is comfortable, safe and incredibly stylish.
Starting at our offices in the heart of the CBD, we were welcomed by Cape Sidecar Adventure team members Tim, Bradley, their furry team mascot Brody and our valiant steeds Wanda and Lolita. After giving us the low-down on biking etiquette, we decided on our 2-hour route and geared up – helmet, goggles, leather jacket and all. With one passenger in the sidecar and one on the back seat of the CJ 750, our marketing team (turned biker gang), headed off towards Sea Point, passing the iconic Green Point Stadium with Table Mountain at our backs. With the wind in our hair, it was obvious that this tour of Cape Town was completely unique – from Bradley’s informative Cape Town facts to Brody resting his head on his sidecar partner’s shoulder. We continued on the coastal road towards Camps Bay Beach, stopping for an Instagram worthy photo. Time for the open road – we headed out along the scenic 12 Apostles drive with a quick cappuccino pitstop en route at the quirky Detour Espresso Bar perched on a lookout stop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. We headed over the mountain towards the Hout Bay harbour to catch a glimpse of the resident seals and fishing boats departing for their daily catch before heading back into town over the scenic Kloof Nek drive.
Having lived in Cape Town for over 5 years and having the privilege of experiencing Cape Town’s signature sights on my day-to-day movements – I did have my reserves on how different the city would be on the back of a motorbike. That being said, I was proven wrong the minute I jumped on the back of my driver, Tim’s bike. Kitted with leather jackets and the works – I felt pretty damn cool. Besides this, I was able to get a fresh take on Cape Town. At a much slower speed than a car, I was able to truly take in the people, architecture and culture of the city – something which is lost when speeding from one destination to another by car or bus. — Marike, Art Director.
The smells of the different scenes are what truly made me experience my home city anew. Cape Town has so many unique biospheres to explore. From the Cape Malay spices of the Bo-Kaap, the fresh ocean breeze along the Sea Point promenade to the local fish & chips in the Houtbay harbour! — Jeanne-Marie, UX Designer.
While touring Cape Town in a bus or car is all good and well, nothing quite compares to the freedom of seeing the city sites on the back of a motorbike or from the comfort of the sidecar. Contact one of our expert Adventurists if you’re interested in adding a 2 hour trip to your Cape Town itinerary, a half day tour over the iconic Chapman’s Peak, a full day tour to the Winelands or a self-drive multi-day overland tour.
Check out our Cape Town Summer ‘19 guide for more tips on what to do, where to eat and what to see in Cape Town this summer.