View of Cape Town from Lion's Head one of the places to include in the 3-day itinerary
Africa South Africa

The best Cape Town 3-day itinerary written by locals

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town and want to get the most out of staying here this city guide is what you need, it’s written by locals for tourists. It contains the best recommendations, itineraries suitable for every traveler, insider tips like places to eat and where to park your car, safety tips and more. Let us help you to make the best out of your Cape Town visit!

If you ask what makes Cape Town special, we’ll say the mountain and the sea – the combination of these two will convert any city in an awesome place for living and visiting. We’re not saying it because we live here but because it’s 100% truth! If you still have some doubts they will be gone by the time you finish reading this post.

Best time to visit Cape Town

For sightseeing – any time is good, though winter months; June – August can be quite chilly and rainy.

For beach holiday – January – April, hot and sunny. November – December are quite hot months as well, but it can get extremely windy. If you’re coming in December make sure to book your accommodation and some activities (that require joining a tour) well in advance. December is a summer holiday time in South Africa it gets very busy in and around Cape Town.

For diving – the water around Cape Town is always cold, but can be dived all year round, inside False Bay in winter and The Atlantic side in summer.

For surfing – winter months May-August are the best for surfing around Cape Town, summer can be ok e.g. though the wind is an issue. For kitesurfing and windsurfing, it’s right the opposite, November – February are the best months.

For hiking – September – November, and March-May, winter is rainy and cold, summer is too hot.

The best areas to stay for the suggested itinerary

I’d definitely suggest staying in the city, not in a suburbial area otherwise you’ll spend half of a day driving to and back. 

City Bowl (Downtown)

The best area to stay for backpackers, solo travelers, party lovers and those who come to the city for business. Bree and Long streets are the main places to go out in Cape Town with many bars and clubs, if you’re up for pub crawl or party it’s the place to be. 

Green Point/V&A Waterfront

The best area to stay for families with children, older travelers, and couples. For me, it’s the best area to stay in the city, the main reason it just feels safer here than in City Bowl, you can walk in the evening along the promenade, there are many people, it always has the festive vibe. For travelers with children. Proximity to the mall, Oceanarium and a couple of playgrounds/parks (the Blue Train Park, Green Park Labyrinth) will be an extra bonus of staying at Sea Point. 

V&A Waterfront a perfect area to stay for a 3-day itinerary
V&A Waterfront one of the best and safest areas to stay in Cape Town

Camps Bay

The fanciest area of Cape Town and a perfect place for a luxury stay or a honeymoon couple. The area is safe with many restaurants and bars, beautiful white-sand beaches and some surfing spots, just remember the water here is ice-cold, it’s nice to walk around in bikini but to do anything in the water you’ll need a wetsuit. 

There is no budget accommodation in Camps Bay the prices start at 80US$.

Camps Bay beach, Cape Town
Camp Bay the fanciest neighborhood of Cape Town

What car to rent to drive around Cape Town

To drive in and around the city you don’t need a big 4×4 car, a normal sedan car will be more than enough unless you’re more than 5 people than a minivan is a better option. The smaller your car the easier it’ll be to park in on the streets of Cape Town. The best and the easiest is to rent a car at the airport on arrival and drop it off there on the way back.

Renting a car at Cape Town airport for 3 days

ModelPrice (3 days)SeatsGearbox*
Nissan MicraUS$355manual
Renault ClioUS$435manual
Toyota CorollaUS$555manual
Nissan AlmeraUS$665automatic
Audi A3US$905automatic
Volkswagen TransporterUS$1608manual

*it’s more expensive to rent a car with automatic gear.

The standard Cape Town 3-day itinerary

This is the standard itinerary for people who’re planning to rent a car (if you’re not, below we have a separate 3-day itinerary for exploring the city by bus/joining tours). This itinerary allows you to visit the main sights and attractions in Cape Town. You can switch days around depending on weather conditions, days of the week, your own priorities, etc. Below every attraction, you can find a table with the opening and closing times that will help you to adjust the itinerary to your needs. 

Stormy sky, turquoise blue water, white sand beach and Table Mountain on the background

Day 1. Green Cape Town

  • Morning. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.
  • Afternoon. Constantia Wine Route. Bo Kaap Neighborhood.
  • Evening. Table Mountain (cable car). Sunset.

Day 2. Historical Cape Town

  • Morning. V&A Waterfront. Robben Island.
  • Afternoon. Woodstock Neighborhood. The Castel of Good Hope.
  • Evening. Lion’s Head, sunset.

Day 3. The scenic drive

  • Morning. Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay, Hout Bay. Chapman’s Peak Drive.
  • Afternoon. Cape Point National Park. Boulders Beach, Muizenberg.
  • Evening. V&A Waterfront. Sunset cruise.

Day 1. Green Cape Town

Morning

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is a perfect place to start the morning. There are a couple of places inside the garden where you can have breakfast. One can spend the whole day or just a couple of hours here. There are several walking routes including the Smuts Track, a challenging route that goes from the Garden all the way up to Table Mountain following Skeleton Gorge. If you want to walk this route rather do it over the weekend when there are more people it might be dangerous to walk it alone. 

The Sky Bridge is a not to miss attraction in Kirstenbosch, from here you can get a nice view of the Garden and the surrounding area.

In the summer season from November to April every Sunday evening, there is an open-air concert in the Garden. If you want to attend it, it’s better to buy tickets in advance online. In this case, you can switch activities and in the morning take a cable car or hiking up Table Mountain and in the evening come to Kirstenbosch.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Week daysTimeEntrance fee (all year)
September – March, every day8.00am – 7.00pmAdults – ZAR75/US$5
Children (6+yo) – ZAR20/US$1,4
April – August, every day8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Drive time from City Bowl to Kirstenbosch – 15-25 min. depending on traffic. 
  • Parking – there is a parking lot on the territory, in case of a concert or an event it gets full quite quickly, you’ll have to park your car outside the Garden. 
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden one of the highlights of Cape Town
One of the walking trails in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Day 1 of the 3-day itinerary

Afternoon

Visiting a couple of wine estates in Constantia is a nice way to continue your day. Constantia is a nice alternative to the more famous wine areas like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek if you don’t have time to visit any of these two (though we, personally, prefer Stellenbosch and Franschhoek over Constantia). Constantia is located just outside Cape Town, it’s just a short drive from Downtown when to visit Stellenbosch you’ll need at least a half of a day.

The most famous wine estate in Constantia is Groot Constantia, it has a tasting room, a museum and two restaurants on its territory. The area is beautiful but on weekends and holidays, it gets very busy tasting feel more of a rush. Tasting is ZAR 100/US$7 for 5 wines including a wine glass that you can take with as a souvenir. We usually pay for one person they pour enough wine to taste and someone always has to drive. Wine tasting and lunch can take between 2 and 3 hours depending on how many estates you want to visit.

Groot Constantia Wine Estate

Week daysTimeTasting cost
Every day (except Good Friday and Christmas)9.00am – 4.00pm
Tickets sold 9.00am – 2.30pm
Wine tasting – ZAR100/US$7
Wine+chocolate – ZAR165/US$11
  • Drive time from Kirstenbosch to Groot Constantia – 12-20 min. 
  • Parking there are a couple of parking lots on the territory.

To continue the day head to the colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood – one of Cape Town’s postcard images and probably one of the most photographed areas of the city. It’s fun to walk around the houses painted in green, red, blue, yellow, etc. and to take photos, you won’t need more than 1h-1.30min. for that.

  • Drive time from Groot Constantia to Bo Kaap – 30 min. 
Colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood, Cape Town
Bright and colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood – a must include in your 3-day itinerary

Afternoon, alternative option for travelers with children

If you decide not to do the Cape Peninsula drive on the third day and visit a game reserve instead I’d recommend skipping Constantia and going to Boulders Beach (Simons Town) to see cute African penguins (I’m sure kids will love it). From Boulders drive to Muizenberg to take a couple of photos with colorful beach houses.

Evening

It’s time to visit Table Mountain – the most iconic sight in Cape Town. You can see it pretty much from anywhere in the city but going up Table Mountain is a must-do. If you’re planning to take a cable car, the evening is a better time, the mountain is often in thick mist in the morning you might have no views at all, it usually clears up by midday. 

As I mentioned before if you want to hike up Table Mountain following Platteklip gorge route it’s better to do it in the morning when there are more people, the evening is not the best time for it. You can join a morning tour and do the hike with a guide, the whole activity takes about 4 hours.

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, season 2019/2020

DailyTimeTicket (all year)
16th December – 15th January8.00am first car up
8.30pm last car up
9.30pm last car down
Adults – ZAR300-360/US$20-25 return (depending on time)
16th January – 31st January8.00am first car up
7.30pm last car up
8.30pm last car down
Children – ZAR150-180/US$10-12 return (depending on time)
1st February – 31st March8.00am first car up
7.00pm last car up
8.00pm last car down
1st April – 30th April8.00am first car up
6.30pm last car up
7.30pm last car down
1st May – 31st August8.30am first car up
5.00pm last car up
6.00pm last car down
  • Drive time from Bo Kaap to Table Mountain cable car station – 10-15 min.
  • Parking – there is a parking lot at the bottom but it’s quite a walk up from there, most people park their cars along the road before or after the station. 

You can stay at the top a bit longer and watch the sunset from the top, it’s stunning.

Day 2. Historical Cape Town

Morning

Head to V&A Waterfront there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to go for breakfast with the view. 

9.00 am – visiting Robben Island is a must-do in Cape Town. The Island is famous for the prison where Nelson Mandella spent the last years of his -year sentence. To get to the Island you’ll have to take a ferry that departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island in V&A Waterfront. It takes 30-45min. to get to the Island. The entire tour (including the return boat ride) takes 4 hours.

In summer (December – February) it’s highly recommended to book your ticket in advance, 9am tours are often sold out. If for some reason you couldn’t get on a morning tour there are four daily departures at 9.00am, 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm you can swap the activities and visit the Island in the afternoon instead.

If you have some time before or after visiting Robben Island you can do a 30-minute boat cruise to find out more about the history of the Waterfront and to spot some seals. 

Another option to continue the day (if your budget allows) is to do a helicopter flight over Cape Town, the best views of the city and the peninsula and great memories are guaranteed. The helicopter leaves from V&A Waterfront Helipad.

Drive time from City Bowl to V&A Waterfront – 10-15 min.

Parking – there is no free parking lot at Waterfront, you’ll have to park your car at one of the paid parking, it’s quite expensive to park here, for 4-hour parking expect to pay between ZAR40-50/US$2,5-3,5. If your hotel is not far away it might be easier and definitely cheaper just to walk here.

Afternoon

Woodstock used to be a dodgy neighborhood of Cape Town but in the last couple of years, it turned to a hipsters’ hub with many small young businesses opening in the area it became one of the most popular places in the city where you can find small art galleries, conceptual coffee shops, organic food markets, and breweries.

The most famous and busiest place in Woodstock is The Old Biscuit Mill market. There are many different food stalls, organic farm products, and hand-made souvenirs and crafts, etc. The Mill is one of the favorite Capetonians’ places to meet up with friends and family. It’s a very popular place to come on Saturday morning, every Saturday there is a big Neighborhood Market here make sure to come hungry it’s difficult to resist the temptation to try and taste everything.

Old Biscuit Mill Market

Week daysTimeEntrance
Mon – Fri10.00am – 4.00pmFree
Sat9.00am – 2.00pm
SunClosed
  • Drive time from V&A Waterfront to Woodstock – 10-15min.
  • Parking – from Mon to Fri you can park within the Mill. On Saturdays, there is paid parking (ZAR10/US$1) at the College of Cape Town (in front of the market).

To continue with the history of Cape Town do a quick visit to the Castle of Good Hope the birthplace of Cape Town. It was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company as a bastion fort. The visit will take between 1-1.5 hours. The Castle is on the way from Woodstock to Lion’s Head no need to do any extra driving to get there.  You can buy entrance tickets online.

The Castle of Good Hope

Week daysTimeEntrance
Every day9.00am – 5.00pmAdults – ZAR50/US$3,5
Children – ZAR25/US$1,7
  • Drive time from the Old Biscuit Mill to the Castle – 5-10 min.

Afternoon, alternative option for travelers with children

If you travel with children instead of visiting the Castle and Woodstock I’d suggest going to the Two Oceans Aquarium kids will definitely enjoy it. You can spend pretty much the whole afternoon here, adults will find it very interesting as well. Here you can see marine life endemic to both the warm Indian Ocean and the cold Atlantic; corals, tropical fish, predators including sharks, tiny seahorses, penguins, octopuses and a lot more.

One of the highlights in the Aquarium is feeding (sea turtles, rays and penguins) both kids and adults love it, make sure not to miss it. There is a children’s play center with jungle gym, puppet show, sandpit, and craft classes if you kids get a bit tired of walking around they can play and run around while you having a cup of coffee or lunch.

If you’re planning to visit the Aquarium during weekends, December holiday or any other public holiday I’d recommend buying skip the line tickets online.

The Two Oceans Aquarium

Week daysTimeEntrance
Mon – Fri9.30am – 6.00pmAdults – ZAR185/US$13
Children (14-17) – ZAR140/US$10
Sat, Sun9.00am – 6.00pmChildren (4-13) – ZAR90/US$7
Penguin feedingDaily, 11.30am, 2.30pm
Turtles/rays feedingDaily, 12.00pm, 2.00pm
Sharks feedingSun, 3.00pm

Parking – no free parking nearby, you can park in Portwood Square or at one of the covered parking inside the mall.

Evening

Time to visit another famous Cape Town’s mountain – Lion’s Head. It’s a very popular spot for watching the sunset, it’s better to arrive earlier to find a parking spot. To get to the top you’ll have to hike up the mountain including some rope and ladder climbing at the end, if it’s too much for you you don’t have to go all the way to the top just find a good spot at a lower level. You can do a guided sunset hike up Lion’s Head if you don’t feel confident enough or just don’t want to walk alone.

Another option is to go to Signal Hill (the neighboring mountain) instead of Lion’s Head. It might be a better option if you travel with children as well. You can drive pretty much all the way to the top. Parking again might be a problem, make sure to arrive early enough. If you’re up for an adventure you can do paragliding from Signal Hill or Lion’s Head, the last evening session is at 6.00pm.

Paragliding from Signal Hill, Cape Town day 2
Paragliding from Signal Hill with landing at Sea Point a great end of the day in Cape Town
  • Drive time to Lion’s Head/Signal Hill from the Castle of Good Hope – 15-20 min., from the Aquarium – 17-25 min.
  • Parking – on the slopes (along the road) of Lion’s Head or Signal Hill, it might be difficult to find a spot if you arrive too late.

Day 3 (option 1). Scenic drive 

Morning

Personally, it’s my favorite day. The drive around the Cape Peninsula is truly spectacular, the road waving along the rugged coast offering some of the best views in the whole country; unspoiled white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, cozy towns, and diverse marine life. Renting a car is definitely the best way of exploring the area. It’s possible to join a small group 8-hour tour that follows the suggested route (in case you don’t feel like driving).

As I already mentioned before you can easily swap the days in the itinerary for the drive you definitely want to have good weather and not too much wind. 

Depending on where in Cape Town you staying I’d recommend starting the coastal drive at Green Point, drive past Cliffton, Camps Bay (where you can stop for breakfast) to Hout Bay. Stop at Haut Bay harbor there you have a good chance of seeing Cape Fur seals scavenging on fishermen’s leftovers. If you want a closer encounter you can go snorkeling with the seals from the Hout Bay Harbor. These guys are very curious and playful snorkeling or diving with them is a lot of fun, we really enjoyed it.

  • Drive time from City Bowl to Hout Bay (through Clifton) – 40-50 min.
  • Parking – you can park at the harbor for free.

The famous Chapman’s Peak drive starts at Hout Bay, it’s not a very long but absolutely stunning drive with several lookouts and viewpoints. There are a couple of hiking trails that go up the mountain but I’d strongly recommend not to venture up there, the area is not safe, in the last couple of years there were several attacks on hikers there. If you want to do some hiking/walking do it in Cape Point National Park that it the next stop on the way. I’d suggest driving to Cape Point through Kommetjie (there are some nice beaches there), not through Simons Town, you’ll drive through Simons Town on the way back anyway.

Afternoon 

Cape Point National park with its breathtaking scenery and the famous Cape of Good Hope. Some people think it’s the southernmost point of the African continent but it’s not right, it’s just a very beautiful cape. The southernmost point of the continent and the meeting point of two ocean is Cape Agulhas it’s 250km up the east coast in a small town Struissbai. We have a detailed road trip guide on driving from Cape Point to Cape Agulhas along the coast. You’ll need two days to do it but it’s well worth the time, there are many spectacular places on the route. As an option, you can do a day tour from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas

Not to miss in Cape Point National park

  • Dias Beach – a fantastic white sand beach surrounded by rugged cliffs it’s just a pity that the water is very cold. 
  • Cape of Good Hope – the famous point where you’ll probably have to line up to take a photo with. By the way, at Cape Agulhas (the actual southernmost point of Africa) there are usually very few people.
  • The Old Lighthouse – it’s a short hike from the parking spot as an option you can take a funicular almost all the way to the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is quite nice but the views from there are breathtaking. 

There are several short hiking routes in the park and it’s safe to walk there, I’d say it’s the best area in Cape Town for hiking. 

Cape Point Nationa Park

DailyTimeEntrance fee (all year)
October – March6.00am – 6.00pm (entrance)
9.00am – 5.30pm (funicular)
Adults – ZAR320/US$22
Children – ZAR160/US$11
April – September7.00am – 5.00pm (entrance)
9.00am – 5.00pm (funicular)
SA citizens – ZAR80/US$5,5
Children (SA) – ZAR40/US$2,8
  • Drive time from Haut Bay to the Cape Point entrance gate (through Kommetjie) – 1h-1h10min.
  • Parking – there are several parking areas inside the park, the main one is at Lower Funicular Station.

After spending some time at Cape Point head to Boulders Beach in Simons Town, a small and beautiful white sand beach with huge boulders and many African penguins walking around. Those guys are very small and cute, watching them is a lot of fun. I’d recommend stopping here for lunch there is a place with a balcony from where you can see the penguins and the beach while enjoying your meal. 

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

DailyTimeEntrance fee (all year)
December – January7.00am – 7.30pmAdults – ZAR160/US$11
Children – ZAR80/US$5,5
February – March8.00am – 6.30pmSA citizens – ZAR40/US$2,8
Children (SA) – ZAR20/US$1,4
April – September8.00am – 5.00pm
October – November8.00am – 6.30pm
  • Drive time from the Cape Point entrance gate to Boulders Beach – 15-20 min.

From Simons Town continue driving along the coast to Muizenberg, this town is famous as a good spot to learn surfing as well as for its colorful wooden beach cabins. It’s just a short stop to take photos after that you can start heading back to Cape Town. 

  • Drive time from Boulders Beach to Muizenberg – 35-45 min., there is always a traffic jam at Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay.

Evening 

Go out for dinner or drinks at V&A Waterfront or Camp Bay you might be in time for another beautiful sunset in Cape Town. For a really special end of your Cape Town trip, instead of having drinks or dinner on land you can join a sunset Champagne cruise.

  • Drive time from Muizenberg to V&A Waterfront – 45min.-1h.
  • Parking – one of the paid outside or inside parking lots.

Day 3 (option 2). Safari drive

It might be a better option for people with children and for those who are not planning to visit any Nature Reserves or Game parks before or after exploring Cape Town. You can do a day visit to one of the nearby safari parks to see the famous Big Five; lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard. The nearest to Cape Town game lodge where you can see all of them is Aquila Private Game Reserve, about 2 hours drive from the city.

If you have an extra day you can stay at the game reserve for the night and drive back to the city the next day this way you’ll have time to do a day and a night safari drive and see more animals. You can drive there yourself and join a safari tour there or book a tour from Cape Town that includes driving to and back and safari drives inside the park.

If you drive that way you can visit a couple of wine estates on the Breedekloof wine route it’s not as famous as Konstantia or Stellenbosch which means it’s less touristy and wine tasting at most estates is free. 

Cape Town is a perfect starting point for the Garden Route road trip you can do it on your own with a rental car that you can rent in Cape Town and drop off in Port Elisabeth. It’s possible to join a group tour along the Garden Route.

The alternative Cape Town 3-day itinerary (without a car)

If you want to explore Cape Town without renting a car the best way in our opinion is to combine the hop-on-hop-off bus and a Cape Peninsula mini-bus tour.

If you want to spend more time in Cape Town, explore the surrounding area like Stellenbosch and meet new friends (especially if you’re traveling alone) there is a great 5-day tour with Intrepid Travel that offers a perfect combination of cultural, adventure and nature experience.

Days 1 & 2. The highlights of Cape Town

Buy a 2-day Cape Town City Pass with it you get unlimited access to the hop-on-hop-off buses for two days, a free single entrance to over 70 city attractions including the aerial cablecar up Table Mountain, wine tasting at Groot Constantia, Two Oceans Aquarium, Seal colony cruise, Sunset cruise, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, free cocktails and snacks at several places along the bus routes and more. The City Pass will keep you busy for the entire 2 days in the city. The passes are available for 2, 3 and 5 consecutive days.

If you don’t want to commit to buying the City Pass for two days you can buy a cheaper 1 or 2 days hop-on-hop-off bus ticket (that doesn’t include free entrances and activities).

Depending on the weather and days of the week you can switch around the attractions and days making sure you get a nice day when you go up Table Mountain or do the scenic drive.

Day 3. The scenic drive or the safari

If before or after visiting Cape Town you’re going to travel more around South Africa and to visit big National Parks like Kroeger or Addo then I’d recommend choosing the scenic drive. Otherwise doing a game drive or two in the game reserve is a great option to end your 3 days in Cape Town.

The scenic drive around the Cape Peninsula

If for whatever reasons you don’t want to rent a car it’s not a problem you can join a small group tour that will take you through the main highlights of the Cape Peninsula including Camps Bay, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach penguin colony and more.

More tours to explore the Cape Peninsula

The safari drive in a game reserve

If you want to see African animals including the famous Big 5 (lion, rhino, elephant, leopard, and buffalo) you can visit one of the nearby game reserves. The closest one to Cape Town is Aquila Private Game Reserve, about 180km, 2-hour drive. There are day tours from Cape Town that include a round trip to the reserve, entrance fee, 2-3-hour game drive, and lunch. The activity will take the whole day, expect to be back in Cape Town after 6pm. If you have an extra day you can do a 2-day tour that includes one night stay at the reserve, 2 safari drives, transportation from and to Cape Town, lunch, dinner and breakfast.

Suggested Cape Town 3-day itinerary with the hop-on-hop-off city bus

Open top red city bus in Cape Town

Day 1. Cape Town highlights

  • Morning. Robben Island tour.
  • Afternoon. Long Street. Bo Kaap. Table Mountain. Camps Bay.
  • Evening. Green Point. V&A Waterfront. Sunset cruise.

Day 2. Green Cape Town

  • Morning. The Castle of Good Hope. District 9 Museum.
  • Afternoon. Constantia wine tasting. Township tour.
  • Evening. Lion’s Head sunset.

Day 3. The scenic drive

  • Morning. Clifton, Camps Bay, Hout Bay.
  • Afternoon. Cape Point National Park. Boulders Beach. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.
  • Evening. Going out at Bree Street, Long Street or Waterfront.

Cape Town travel cost

  • Backpacking (staying in a hostel, using public buses, renting a cheap car, making own food) – ZAR500/US$35 per person/day.
  • Middle budget (staying in a private room in a hotel or B&B, renting a car, eating out 1 time a day) – from ZAR850/US$60 per person/day.
  • Luxury (staying in a fancy hotel, renting a car, eating out 2 times a day) – from ZAR1700/US$120 per person/day.

Different budgets for 3 days in Cape Town, prices per person per day

BudgetAccom.FoodTransport
BackpackingUS$15-17US$10 (shopping)using MyCiti bus
US$12 for 3 days with
unlimited 3-day pass
Middle rangeUS$30-40US$20 (shopping +
eating out once)
renting a car
from US$35 for 3 days
Luxuryfrom US$75US$30-40 (eating out)renting a car
from US$50 for 3 days

Accommodation prices

The most budget option is Couchsurfing there are many hosts in Cape Town important to check the location of your future couch and how easy it’s to get there by public transport, since you’re on a budget and probably not planning to rent a car or uber around a lot.

Hostels (budget) – there are many, some are really awesome, some not that great but cheaper. Avg price for a bed in a hostel from ZAR200/US$15.

Budget hotels, B&Bs and Air B&B, there are some places starting from ZAR700/US$50 for a twin/double room.

Fancy hotels – these are the easiest to find usually thy located in prime spots like V&A Waterfront or Camps Bay. There are big chain hotels like Hilton or Radisson and small boutique hotels if the price is not an issue you’ll be able to find the one that meets all your requirements.

Cooking vs Dining out

The cheapest option is to cook for yourself, but you need a kitchen, most hostels and B&B have it. Depending on your preferences you can get away with about ZAR100/US$7 per meal for two. Tip! The best places to do food shopping are big supermarkets, there are a couple of them in the city center; Pick and Pay, Checkers, Super SPAR.

Street food and fast food – fish & chips kind of meal will cost you about ZAR40-50/US$3-4. Breakfast with coffee depending on a place will cost between ZAR60-100/US$4-7 per person.

Restaurants – there are plenty of restaurants and food places in the city; steak houses, bakeries, seafood, vegetarian and vegan restaurants, Italian pizzerias, Thai and Indian cuisine, etc. An average price for a meal without drinks will be from ZAR100-150/US$7-10 and up.

Moving around the city

Walking will be the most budget option, but many attractions are located quite far from each other, plus it’s not always safe to walk in the city.

Public buses – they work pretty well in the city, you can get by MyCiti bus to many attractions (not to all of them), buses are new and comfortable. If you’re planning to use MiCiti buses for a couple of days it’s better and cheaper to buy an unlimited pass for three or seven days.

Hop-on-hop-off city bus – probably one of the best ways to explore Cape Town without a car. There are four routes that go to 80% of the attractions in and around the city. You can buy a simple 1 or 2-day sightseeing bus ticket or get the City Pass for 2, 3 or 5 days that includes free entrance to over 70 city attractions and activities.

Renting a car – Having a car when travel in South Africa makes things a lot easier! There are different options from renting a small car like Kia Picanto or Nissan Micra to Audi and a minivan. Renting a car might work out more expensive than using public buses/tours and Uber and paying for parking but if you’re a couple of people together it won’t cost more than buses and it’s definitely more convenient especially if you travel with children.

Uber – it’s not as budget as buses but cheaper than taxis, to uber around Cape Town city center (5km) will cost you from ZAR40/US$2,5. Many people use it, it works fine in the city.

Taxis – if you are willing to pay for it then rather get a reliable taxi from your hostel/hostel, for an average taxi ride (5km) within the city you pay ZAR50/US$3,5.

Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain
Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain

Cape Town safety tips

  • Don’t walk at night in the city if you go out, take a taxi back to your hotel and try to stick to a crowd of 4 or more.
  • If you rent a car don’t leave anything inside when parking, not even a book or an old jacket, otherwise you risk finding your car with broken windows.
  • When driving, make sure your doors a locked and windows are not wide-opened.
  • Keep your valuable stuff with you all the time, don’t put it on a seat next to you, it’ll disappear before you notice it.
  • If you venture to hike up Table Mountain do it at the right time of the day when there are other people walking it, not late evening on your own carrying an expensive camera with.
  • Don’t take your passport and all the valuable stuff with rather lock it in a hotel safe or locker.
  • Use reliable taxi service, not any random guy that stops on the street.
  • To draw money use ATM in a bank office, mall or supermarket. You can pay by card in most hotels, restaurants, ticket offices.

It may sound too much and a bit scary it’s not meant to discourage you from enjoying Cape Town more to prevent an unpleasant experience in our city. W live here and have never had any bad experience.

Cape Town from Signal Hill
View on Cape Town from Signal Hill.

Recommended books and guidebooks

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5 Comments

  1. Hi. I read your blog and it’s very informative. Just wanted to check with you that Incase I decide to drive down the garden route then I would be staying at Diffrent locations. I intend to stay for 3 nights. We will be having 4 bags with us as we are a family of 4. You mentioned not to even leave a jacket in the car then how safe is it to travel with bags and stopping on the garden route to do my adventures or sightseeing. Can you advice what can we do. I have 2 children aged 11 and 6 with me.

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Sonam! Thank you for reading our blog! What I meant is not to leave anything on the car seats because it can be seen through the windows and encourage people to break into your car. You can leave you bags in the boot when you do activities, usually companies that arrange them have parking lots where you can leave your car.
      Enjoy South Africa and safe travels!

  2. Ines Croatia

    Very good website. Keep up the good work. All the best from Croatia

  3. Really great guide! But sad to see that Lions head didn’t make it into the top places to visit in cape Town! 😀 Watching the sunrise from there is one of my favourite things to do in Cape Town! Again, really good guide, and lots of useful info 🙂

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hi, Niclas! Thank you for your comment! If you read the entire post you’ll see that Lion’s Head is included in our three day itinerary, on a first day, as a great spot for watching sunset.
      Cheers!

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