A Guide to the Constantia Wine Bus 

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Hannah Stephenson

The leafy green suburb of Constantia is one of the best places to go wine tasting Cape Town, and better yet, there’s even a hop-on, hop-off bus that you can take to explore some of the prettiest wine farms around

If you’re staying in central Cape Town, then it’s super easy to get to Constantia and back in a day, and the bus means that you don’t need to worry about appointing a designated driver. This is a great tourist activity, but it’s also just a really fun day out if you live in the city. 

Constantia is known for its cool climate wines and its even home to South Africa’s oldest winery. You just can’t help but be wowed by the beautiful buildings, rolling hills, and gorgeous vineyards here! I love wine tasting in the sunshine but it’s a year-round activity, so this is something that you can just as easily enjoy during the winter (but make sure to bring a jacket).

Where is Constantia?

Constantia is a wealthy suburb of Cape Town that’s about 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) away from the city centre. It’s very leafy and green, and many affluent families live out here because it’s a lot more peaceful than the heart of the city, but still close enough to all of the fun stuff. 

To be honest, I’ve only ever gone to Constantia to drink wine. It’s what draws most tourists over this side of the mountain!

Who operates the wine bus?

The wine bus is run by Cape Town City Sightseeing, who operate tours all around the city. You’ve probably seen the same kind of red buses in lots of other cities before. You get some commentary along the way and there will be a QR code on your ticket that will allow you to see live bus times, which is super handy.

What kind of ticket do I need to buy?

City Sightseeing runs a ton of different tours in Cape Town, so it’s important to make sure you buy the right ticket. To get the Constantia wine bus, you can buy a classic single day ticket.

This ticket grants you access to three different routes: red, blue, and purple. The ticket is the same price regardless of the route you take. A single day ticket costs R295, or you can book a two-day ticket with a cruise for R395 and see even more of the city.

All of the buses are red in colour, but the neon sign at the front of the bus will tell you which route each vehicle is following – and if in doubt, you can always ask your driver. For the Constantia wine valley bus, you will use the blue and purple routes. You take the blue route to Constantia Nek. You can head to two of the wine farms on foot from there, and catch the single-decker purple route bus to another wine farm. More on that in a moment, though!

Where do you get the wine bus from?

You can get on the blue route wine bus to Constantia from a few different stops around the city, and they leave every 20 minutes. 

The route starts at the City Sightseeing office at the V&A Waterfront. This is where I usually catch the bus from, usually after grabbing a coffee from the Bootlegger’s inside the Aquarium. You can also catch the bus from outside Hotel Sky at the foreshore, the City Sightseeing office on Long Street, or the famous pink Mount Nelson hotel in Gardens. 

What time does the wine bus leave?

The first bus leaves from out the front of the Aquarium at 9 am each day, and then buses depart every 20 minutes until 5:15 pm. We usually try to catch the first bus of the day, as it gives you plenty of time to visit all three wineries on the route – and maybe even a cheeky bonus one! It’s nice to spend at least an hour at each winery and not have to rush, and you can get lunch at one of the wine farms. 

The last bus back to the city leaves from Constantia Nek at 5:25 pm, so you’ll have to leave the wine farms just before that. It’s best to finish the day at Beau Constantia, because the bus can pick you up right outside! Plus, it’s the prettiest wine farm in Constantia, so it’s nice to save the best views for last. 

I should also add that the Constantia wine valley bus offers extended hours from 16 December – 8 January, which is the busiest time of year in Cape Town. The first bus leaves from the Aquarium at 8 am, so that you can get started even earlier!

How long does it take to get to Constantia?

If you leave from the Aquarium, it will take you about 50 minutes to get to Constantia Nek. Then, I recommend that you change to the “purple” bus and head to Groot Constantia, which takes another 10 minutes. So about an hour in total!

Which wine farms does the bus take you to?

The wine bus stops at three wine farms:

  • Groot Constantia
  • Beau Constantia
  • Silvermist – summer only

You can reach both Beau Constantia and Silvermist on foot from the Constantia Nek bus stop. However, to get to and from Groot Constantia, you’ll need to change to the single decker “purple route” bus. It takes about 10 minutes each way. We always go to Groot Constantia first, because it makes the most logistical sense, due to both open times and locations.

Silvermist doesn’t offer tastings during the winter, but what you can do is walk up to Constantia Glen instead. I’ll discuss possible routes in more depth below!

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia is the oldest winery in South Africa. It’s housed in a beautiful colonial building, and I really like the wines here. 

It was founded by Simon van der Stel, the Governor of the Dutch Cape Colony, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of South African wine – in fact, he even has two towns and a mountain named after him! 

A tasting at Groot Constantia costs R130 (£5.60/$7) and you get to keep your wine glass afterwards. You get to try five different wines rather than following a set tasting menu, which is quite unusual, and there’s a pretty big selection to choose from. I really like this because you can tailor the tasting to your preferences. 

Silvermist

Silvermist is the only certified organic wine farm in Constantia. It’s only open during the summer for tastings, so take advantage! The tasting room here has a lovely view but does feel a bit like a gift shop.

As well as offering wine tastings, during the summer months, Silvermist also hosts the Drumstruck show at 11 am from Wednesday to Sunday. This is an awesome African drumming show and you can enjoy it alongside a wine tasting for R450 per person. You’ll need to book in advance!

The Drumstruck show lasts for 2 hours, ending at 1 pm, so it’s possible to enjoy the show and still have time to visit Groot Constantia and Beau Constantia. However, you won’t have a ton of time to dawdle!

Also bear in mind that Silvermist is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays! If you’re doing the wine bus on these days, or during the winter, I recommend replacing it with Constantia Glen, as long as you don’t mind a bit of a hike.

Beau Constantia 

Beau Constantia will wow you with its insane views of Constantia’s rolling hills and lush vineyards. In fact, there’s even a “loo with a view” that has mirrored glass, so you can enjoy the amazing scenery as you relieve yourself. I was honestly blown away the first time I visited Beau Constantia, and I absolutely love coming here for a tasting.

There are a couple of different tasting options available here, and it ranges between R130 – R160, depending on how fancy you decide to go. This place is super beautiful and very popular, so it’s best to book in advance.

In which order should I visit the wine farms?

Summer

During the summertime, I recommend getting off at Constantia Nek and changing to the purple route bus to Groot Constantia. I would recommend getting a cheeseboard here, as the food at Silvermist isn’t your typical wine-tasting fare (think sandwiches and muffins rather than charcuterie). Then, catch the bus back to Constantia Nek and head to Silvermist, as it only opens at 11 am. Of course, could you always switch this up if you’re starting later in the day, but we always head out early.

Once you’ve enjoyed a tasting at Silvermist, head to Beau Constantia for your final tasting of the day. It’s a 5-10 minute walk (depending on how hard that wine is hitting you!) If you catch the 9 am bus from the Aquarium, you’ll probably get to Beau at around 2:30 or 3 pm, so you have over two glorious hours to soak up the magnificent views here, and enjoy another cheeseboard.

Then, when you’re ready to head back to the city, the bus can pick you up from right outside Beau Constantia. The last one of the day leaves at 5:23 pm. You can also track the live bus times online, which makes everything really easy.

Winter, or Mondays + Tuesdays

The tasting room at Silvermist is usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and during the winter months, so you’ll need to adjust your route slightly at this time of year. I mean, you could just visit the two wine farms, but with a little bit of creativity you can still tick off three!

I’d still recommend catching the purple route bus to Groot Constantia first, and then coming back to Constantia Nek. From here, you can walk up to the beautiful Constantia Glen. This will take you about half an hour, so wear comfortable shoes, but Constantia Glen is really pretty and I think it’s worth the walk. Then, enjoy some lunch here, because the food is really good (especially the sliders) and walk it off with a 25-minute stroll to Beau Constantia.

If you do Constantia this way, start out early. Try to catch the 9 am bus if you can! If you keep an eye on the time during your tastings, you shouldn’t have any problems, although I think you’d be better off booking Beau Constantia for 3:30 pm.

Do you need to go to all of the wine farms?

Nope, if you’d rather not consume too much wine or want to do something else with your day besides drinking, you can choose to just visit one or two of the wineries. It’s totally up to you – that’s what I like about hop-on hop-off tours. But we usually do them all because, well, when in Constantia…

Do I need to book the wine bus in advance?

You don’t usually need to book your bus tickets far in advance, but I would recommend doing so if you’re going in late December or early January, which is when Cape Town gets insanely busy because everyone is on holiday. 

If you buy them online, you can redeem them at either:

If you want to watch the Drumstuck Show be sure to book in advance as it’s popular. However, if you only want to do a tasting at Silvermist, then there’s no need to book. It’s also wise to make a reservation at Beau Constantia at any time of year, especially if you’re going on a weekend, because that place is super popular. You can book via their website.

How much does the wine bus cost in total?

A bus ticket costs 295 rand per person, which I think is pretty good for transport all the way to Constantia and back. Your tastings aren’t included in your ticket and you will need to pay for these once you arrive at the wine farm. Prices are as follows:

  • Groot Constantia: R130 for 5 wines
  • Silvermist: R150
  • Beau Constantia: R130 – R160 for 3-4 wines 

So in total, we’re looking at between R705 – R735, or R1,085 if you book Drumstruck!

You will also probably want to buy lunch somewhere along the way.  You can get cheese and charcuterie boards at all of the wine warms, so no worries there. You also might want to buy an extra glass of wine or two, or go home with a case. The last time I did the wine bus, I spent R810, which covered three tastings, plenty of food, my bus ticket, and an extra glass or two of wine.

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4 thoughts on “A Guide to the Constantia Wine Bus ”

  1. Good info, thank you! How do you get to Constantia Glen from Constantia Nek? Do you walk on the road or is there a secret cut-through somewhere? The road seems to be rather busy with no shoulder for pedestrians

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