There is no doubt about it, Cape Town is a beautiful city. Situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean with a massive mountain watching over the city and many famous attractions within the surrounding area, this city is a place you need to have on your bucket list. It was for us.
Cape Town had always been on our list of places to travel and we made it the first stop on our month long trip to make sure we crossed it off of our list early. The city is filled with something for every type of traveler and we loved every minute we were in the city, even when we did not get our luggage for a couple of days after landing.
Our biggest question when planning our trip to Cape Town was not what to do, but where to stay. Our biggest concern was safety as it is known that Johannesburg is not the safest city in the world to visit, but Cape Town being across the country from the capital it is much safer. Still, whenever you travel we always recommend that you know your surroundings and keep an eye on your personal belongings. Just because we felt safe in the city does not mean that we were not aware of our environment and kept our hands tightly on our phones when we had them out.
We want to take this post to talk about what the best area to stay in Cape Town is, as well as the different areas you should stay when you are in the city and why.
Where to Stay in Cape Town
Considering where to stay in any city is important. We always tell people to consider three things when booking accommodation. Safety, proximity, and what it offers.
What is the Safest Place to Stay in Cape Town
What Area Should I Stay in Cape Town
What it Offers
This is priority number one when you are traveling. You do not want to step outside your hotel in the morning and be fearful of what you will be presented with. You also do not want to return to your accommodation late at night and be scared to walk outside. Knowing the area that you are staying in and what to expect from it is extremely important when traveling. Staying in Cape Town is no different. This is why the areas we discuss in this post have taken into consideration the general safety of that area.
Being close to certain attractions in certain areas is important when you are traveling as well. You do not want to be way outside the city just because the accommodation was cheap. This will waste a lot of your time and money just getting into the city. This is why we did not consider locations outside of Cape Town like in the winery areas or towards Simon’s Town where the penguins are. Yes. That is right. Penguins in South Africa.
You want to be in the city and close to certain attractions or more interesting places. This has been taken into consideration when choosing the areas you should stay in Cape Town as well. However, Uber was great in the city and fairly inexpensive. Even though we rented a car while we were in Cape Town to complete our road trip, we still traveled around the city using Uber because it was cost effective and we did not want to worry about parking.
Knowing what your accommodation offers is important as well. Hotels offer a more comfortable stay and are likely to offer more to you as a guest. If this is important to you then this is the way you want to go. If you need parking or anything special with your accommodation, make sure you are booking appropriately.
Last, but not least, view is important. Though not necessarily a deal breaker when booking accommodation, we always take it into consideration and see if we will be treated to a lovely view of the city so that we can get some beautiful sunrise or sunset photos right outside our hotel.
Best Places to Stay in Cape Town
Accommodation in Bo Kaap
Hotels in Cape Town City Centre
Cape Town Waterfront Hotels
Accommodation in Cape Town Near the Beach
Cheap Accommodation in Cape Town
Bo Kaap, formerly the Malay Quarter, is a historical area in Cape Town that is set at the foot of Signal Hill in Cape Town. It is a beautiful area of Cape Town with cobble streets and vibrantly colored houses. It climbs up the bottom portion of Signal Hill and provides a great view of the city looking towards Table Mountain.
This makes it the perfect area to stay when you are in Cape Town. It is where we stayed during our four days in the city and it made for some beautiful sunrises. It was the perfect picturesque place to stay while in the city. Another convenient aspect of Bo Kaap is that it is also set close to the city center.
We stayed in Bo-Kaap at a beautiful place which is unfortunately no longer listed. It was not the most fancy accommodation as it was a shared house, but the view of the city was incredible and something that we would be willing to pay more for. With this area of the city being situated at the foot of Signal Hill, it is slightly higher than the rest of the city and it provides amazing sunrise views with Table Mountain directly across from it.
If we went back to Cape Town, we would likely stay at the hotel in Bo-Kaap to get more of those views. It is slightly more expensive, but worth every penny with the views of the city that it offers.
Our Bo-Kaap Recommendation
Cape Town is a great city with a lively night life as well. The city centre has some great entertainment to offer from live music to great food. We took advantage of this one night by going to Mama Africa and it was one of the highlights of our time in Cape Town. We also walked around the city centre during the day and had a great time seeing more of the big city life outside of the waterfront area.
Sometimes it is better to stay closer to the action, and looking for hotels in central Cape Town can provide you with a better location to the big city life. If this is what interests you when traveling and you see yourself going out each night you are in Cape Town, then perhaps booking a hotel in the city centre is the right choice for you.
It is likely the least safe area on this list. Nonetheless, during the day we felt completely safe and were in some fairly crowded spaces at times in the city centre. Like we mentioned before, keep aware of your surroundings and your belongings as you always should when traveling. At night, it was a little bit more sketchy, but we managed. Still, if you are used to this type of travel then it will not come as a shock to you. Look for a place near Bree Street, this is the main street of the city centre.
Our City Centre Recommendation
The V&A Waterfront is an exceptionally beautiful place to stay around when you are in Cape Town. It is the perfect place to stay during sunset or to catch a ride on the Cape Wheel, the massive ferris wheel in the area. It has a lovely mall that you can wander around and it is really a nice area of the city. This makes staying here the perfect choice if you are looking for a more quiet and calm area that is still central to all of the action.
We spent quite a bit of time here as we really enjoyed the mall and had to make a couple of trips back for essentials since our luggage was lost and we did not get it until a couple days into our trip. We did not mind though. It gave us an excuse to come back to this beautiful area of the city a couple of times and enjoy the beautiful sunset.
This is a sought after area, so make sure you book your accommodation well in advance and expect to pay slightly higher than other places in the city. On the plus side, it is likely the safest area on our list.
Cape Town has a couple beautiful beaches within the city. Though you are likely heading further outside of the city to get to some more beaches. Fortunately if you want accommodation next to the beach in Cape Town, then Clifton Beach is within the city and the place you want to be.
We never had a chance to visit this part of the city. Beaches are not necessarily at the top of our priority list when traveling. If we have some spare time, we may visit a beach. But unless there is something that really stands out to us in the area, we are not going to make it to one. In this area, the beach is the main attraction. However, if you are willing to stay further out of the city to be near a beach and also want more things to do around that area, then visit the map on this page and zoom out. Scroll further south for more beaches and to Simon’s Town if you want to visit a beach and swim with penguins at the same time!
Budget accommodation in Cape Town is not necessarily the worst thing to consider. There are still some places that will fit any budget, you just need to look for them and make sure that they are in a safe area and offer what you are looking for.
Unfortunately, most of these places will be a shared place like a room in a house or a shared room in a hostel. Still, it will save you a little bit of money and will be worthwhile if you are staying in the city for a longer amount of time and want to save some money.
Fortunately, we compiled a small list of places you can consider to book based on a couple of different areas we suggested above. Make sure to read about what you are booking and what is offered in these places because they are shared.
Our Budget Central Recommendations
Our Budget Beachfront Recommendation
We hope that the areas that we discussed in this post provide you with some insight into booking your Cape Town accommodation. These are the areas that we feel are the safest, closest to popular attractions within the city, and offer the most to you as a guest. The recommended hotels are our choices based on what we found online, but you may wish to look further into some more options by viewing the map attached in this post.
If one of these areas do not interest you, perhaps you would prefer to stay in a smaller city like Simon’s Town (zoom out of the map and head south towards Cape Point Nature Reserve). If tasting Cape Town’s famous wines is a top priority for you, then stay close to some of the world famous wineries surrounding the city (zoom out and find the hotels surrounding the winery regions).
Though there are more options to choose from when visiting Cape Town, if we were to return to the city we would definitely stay within the city and likely back in the Bo-Kaap area. It has the best combination of the three things we look for whenever we are booking a hotel. Safety, proximity, and it depends on what the hotel has to offer.
Have you ever been to Cape Town? Where did you stay? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below.