City Sightseeing South Africa: the tourist attraction

03 June 2015 | Quathar Jacobs

City Sightseeing South Africa has gone from a local bus company to a tourist attraction itself

The red bus has become a familiar sight to Capetonians – just ask anyone from the CBD to Hout Bay, and they’ll tell you they know of or have seen the open double-decker bus.

This is one of many reasons why the CEO of City Sightseeing South Africa, Claus Tworeck, is set to present his story at the second annual Attractions Africaconference at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town this week. “I think it’s a form of recognition that we must be doing something right and it was with that in mind that I accepted the invitation,” he explains.

More and more tourists and locals are also starting to explore Johannesburg on the red bus, while many hop onto City Sightseeing’s red minibus taxis for a tour through Soweto too.

The tour through Soweto is very popular

Claus is going to share the valuable lessons he’s learnt since 2002 when he set out to create a bus company. “Buses are just a component of what we do,” he says. “I want to share the highlights of the journey we went through – that took us from being a bus company to what we now believe is a tourist attraction, which happens to use buses as part of what it does.”

One lesson that Clause will elaborate on on Thursday 4 June is the importance of the customer and the people who make up one’s team. He believes that with this in mind, “the rest will follow”. Attendees will take away a number of valuable pointers from someone who says people are 100% his business and who has been in the business of people for several years.

“You can get on a bus, other than our bus, anywhere in the world – that’s not what makes the difference. The difference is the people we have on our buses and the interaction you have with them when you get on and when you get off.  That is what people take home with them – the interaction. The spirit of ubuntu.”

Travellers will experience the spirit of ubuntu when they hop on and off the red bus

Apart from the company’s people and attitude, Claus attributes a large part of City Sightseeing’s success and its transition from a bus company to a tourist attraction to the country. He enthusiastically adds, “South Africa is an amazing place, with amazing stuff to offer and amazing people to make sure it happens.”

That said, Claus drives the City Sightseeing busses often “as there is no better way of understanding what goes into your business than to get into the nitty gritty of it.”

He also hops on and hops off at least once a month on each route. Claus quietly sits at the back of the red bus, watching the reactions of passengers to a piece of music being played or looking at what’s happening at the bus stops. “You’ll be amazed by what you learn when you drive or sit in a bus, and that’s what makes the business – it’s the details.”

Claus Tworeck describes the view between Llandudno and Camps Bay as “one of a kind”

He once hopped on and off the buses 20 times in one day when he was testing a particular track of commentary between Cape Town’s City Hall and Strand Street. While a tourist wouldn’t ordinarily do that, his record can be beaten, especially during the festive season when buses run every 8 to 10 minutes.

Claus’s favourite route is the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour. “Its lovely to get out and experience the spectacular drive between Kirstenbosch and Constantia Nek, and the strip between Llandudno and Camps Bay is just one of a kind.”