You probably won’t be surprised if I tell you that Cape Town is one of my all time favourite travel destinations. Since I have been getting a lot of questions about where we stayed whilst we were in South Africa, I have decided to write this blog post to share with you my top tips on how to find cheap accommodation in Cape Town and how to get around.
Cape Town is definitely an affordable travel destination, especially when the rand is as low is it currently is. Eating out, grocery shopping, going to Yoga classes etc. will cost you very little. The only thing that is comparably expensive in Cape Town is the accommodation.
Which area should you stay in Cape Town?
I stayed in Sea Point every time I was in Cape Town and I am absolutely in love with the area!! It only takes around 10 minutes to get to town and 10 minutes to the beaches Clifton and Camps Bay. Furthermore, there is a beautiful promenade in Sea Point, which is ideal for going running and has a fun little outdoor gym. However, Sea Point is definitely more expensive than town. So, if you’ve really got to look after your cash I would recommend staying in the city.
Of course, Clifton and Camps Bay are beautiful as well, but they will most probably be too costly if you are travelling on a budget.
Another great alternative if you have got a car would be the sunset beach/Table view area, which is around 20 minutes from town. A lot of Surfers and Kite surfers stay there and it is absolutely beautiful to watch them do their tricks whilst enjoying the best view over Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.
Accomodation Sea Point
So if you decide to stay in Sea Point here are my go-to places for accommodation:
Whilst we were in Cape Town we stayed at two different places. Both of them we found over AirBnB. However, if you don’t book half a year in advance the flats are likely to be very costly. Thus, here my (probably illegal) life hack: just write to the Air BnB owner beforehand and ask them if you can have a look at the flat so that you can meet them in person and convince them to give you a better price thanks to your charm. Also, always mention if you are planning to stay for a longer period of time , since that will increase their incentive to give you a better price.
Furthermore, suggest to them to do the rental without AirBnB, that way both of you don’t have to pay any additional Air BnB charges. If you are not able to meet up with them before your stay you could just write to them on AirBnB and ask if they would be happy to give you a good price (since you are a student, travelling on a budget etc. etc.)
If you do want to be on the safe side and book over AirBnB make sure to check in advance, since rentals will be a lot cheaper and you will have a much greater choice!
PLS Holiday Rentals
This was the second place Julia and I stayed at, since the first apartment we found over AirBnB was only available for a month. We also found this Holiday Rental over AirBnB. They have mainly two bedroom apartments with a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom. We chose this place, since we had two of our friends visiting from Germany for two weeks, so we needed two bedrooms.
It is located super close to the best shops in Sea Point (3 minutes from Checkers) and it is very secure to stay at. The price is also all right if you split it between a 3-4 people.
This is a relatively new Hostel/budget accommodation. Like the other place it is also located in the end of Sea Point really close to all the shops and MyCitiBus stops. They have dorm
rooms, cheap double rooms (without a window) and bigger, really nice studio rooms. Julia and I didn’t stay there, but we had a look at the rooms, which were all modern and clean. If you are looking for the cheapest option in Sea Point this might be your pick.
Getting around in Cape Town
Unlike with most European cities, there are basically no public transport options except for the MyCitiBus. So here is how we got around in Cape Town:
Uber in Cape Town is the best! It is so cheap and convenient. If you take an Uber from Sea Point to the city centre (15 minute ride) it will only cost you 50 rand which is around 3 euros.
Even the ride from Sea Point to Table View beach (around 30 minutes) will only cost you around 9 euros. If you do however want to do a longer trip, for example to the Cape of Good Hope or to Boulder’s Beach penguin colony I recommend you rent a car.
As previously mentioned this is the only real public transport in Cape Town. In order to use it, you have to buy yourself a MyCitiBus card (you will need to show your passport), which you will then top up with money. I honestly don’t really get how they calculate the fare of a ride- all I know is that it is super cheap. If you take a MyCitiBus from Sea Point to Clifton beach you don’t even have to pay anything at all.
Black taxis are white mini buses that take the local people around. They are not the safest mean of transport, however Julia and I did occasionally use them during the day (never use them at night!) to get to the beach or to the city centre. If you have mixed feelings about taking them, I suggest you just go with the Uber or MyCitit Bus instead. I personally took them when I wanted to safe money on an Uber or didn’t want to wait for the MyCitiBus to turn up.
Rent a car
If you are going to explore the Cape Area (which I definitely recommend you do!) you should rent a car, because there is nothing like a road trip along the breath-taking, winding roads of the Cape. Take my advice though: Most people in Cape Town drive like crazy lunatics, so I highly recommend you get a full coverage insurance when you rent the car! Julia for example, wanted to do a U-turn once and the driver behind her ignored the indicator and drove past, which lead to a minor accident. Fortunately for us our mom had convinced us to get a full insurance, which meant we didn’t have to pay for any of the damage. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that cars drive on the opposite side of the road in Cape Town, so before you rent a car you should check in with yourself if you feel confident driving on the left side.
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful spots on this planet and I can only recommend anyone to travel there sometime. I hope my tips helped those of you who are considering a trip to Cape Town. If you have any more questions, just let me know in the comments and I would be happy to help out where I can!