Cape Town is one of the most affordable destinations for American citizens. With an exchange rate that favors the dollar, you can stretch your money a lot in Mother City.
A good cup of coffee will cost you about $ 2, and most mornings and lunches at Cape Town's top restaurants will only return you $ 4 to $ 6. When it comes to activities, there is an endless list of things to do in Cape Town Town, which will cost you little.
Here is my guide on how to travel Cape Town with a budget!
Once the Hostel
Where to Stay in Cape Town
The hostels in Cape Town will cost about R 120-150 per night for a bed in a dormitory with ten other people. For a 4-8 bed dorm, you are looking to pay around R 200-R250 and a private room costs an average R 300-400 per night.
Once the Hostel is my favorite stay in Cape Town. The property has three restaurants, enjoys a great location near the city's nightlife, restaurants and other attractions and there are many room options.
Alternatively, the 91 Loop Boutique Hostel is also an excellent choice!
I would also like to recommend booking an Airbnb apartment. I like to be able to stay around the locals and live a more authentic side of a destination.
It's also a better budget option if you are traveling to a group.
Cape Town has a huge Airbnb community and you can expect to pay around the R 300 for a shared room or R 1000+ for the entire room or apartment per night. If you are traveling to Cape Town in the summer, the Airbnb options will be booked much earlier and you will have fewer options to choose from if you leave it until the last minute.
For more mid-range to luxury options, check out the ultimate Cape Town travel guide!
Read more: Using Airbnb for apartment rentals around the world
Around Cape Town
Uber: The Uber is the best way to get to Cape Town with a budget. It is the most reliable, safer and affordable option to transport the city. With most of the top sights close by, a trip trail will only cost a few dollars. I will avoid normally taxis if possible. The Uber of South Africa checks all drivers and you have all the details in case something happens.
My CitiBus: While My CitiBus is a cheap way to get out of town, it's not the best option. Buses are often unreliable and will take a long time to get to destinations. If you are not in a hurry, you can buy a transfer card from one of the stations and use the free app to get the latest information on timetables, fares and routes.
Scooter Rental: If you are a sure (and defensive) driver, rent a scooter and explore Cape Town at your own pace. I personally drive a Vespa because it is the easiest and fastest way to get away from town. In addition, it costs only the R 70 to fill it up every week, making it an extremely budget-friendly option.
Depending on when you visit Cape Town, you can expect to pay about R 300 a day or R 3,000 per month for a scooter. Keep in mind that Cape Town is well-known for its strong winds. Even my friend 6 & 5 was hit by the wind when he was driving his scooter through the city!
Rent a Car: For road trips along the Cape Peninsula, I recommend you rent a car for the day. You do not have to have one for your entire trip, making it an affordable choice for day trips outside the city. Prices will vary depending on the type of vehicle you have, but they can be as low as R 260 per day. Ask for an automatic transmission if you do not know how to drive a manual.
Read more: Driving the Cape Peninsula in one day
Cheap things to do in Cape Town
Boulders Beach: Boulders Beach is famous for the colony of African penguins. Situated along the Simons coast, the natural park resembles the Seychelles with its granite granite boulders, turquoise waters and soft white sand. The entrance is R 152,00 for international visitors and R 39,00 for the locals.
Go to wine test: Just outside Cape Town is the award winning Winelands of South Africa. Stellenbosch, Franschoek and the Elgin valley have a huge number of wines to explore. The best part is that most tests will only cost between R 25 to R 100 in each farm. I would also highly recommend the Franschhoek Wine Tram. You can choose from a number of routes and start and unlock at the various wineries. Tickets are R 240 per person and do not include wine tasting fees in each property.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: Kirstenbosch is one of the best things to do in Cape Town. If you visit the city during the summer months, you can watch one of the sunset concerts. During the day, you can wander along the many hiking trails, take a bird-eye from the gardens from the top of the Boomslang route or have a picnic. The entrance is R 70 per person.
Labia Theater: The Labia Theater is the oldest independent art-repertoire theater in South Africa. Shows independent movies, foreign movies, and movie history. In addition, tickets cost only the R 40!
Sea Point Pool: The Sea Point Pool is a beautiful public swimming pool just a few minutes from my apartment in Cape Town. It will only cost R 23 per person for the whole day and you will have access to a 50m swimming pool, a fun pool and a children's pool.
Visit the food markets: Cape Town hosts delicious food markets that sell everything from gourmet avo to toast until fresh produce. My favorite is the Oranjezicht City Farm Market (closely followed by the Woodstock neighborhood market), the Mojo Sea Point Market and V & A Waterfront Food Market.
Read more: The last travel guide of Cape Town
Free things to do in Cape Town
Bo Kaap: Bo Kaap is a colorful neighborhood in the heart of the city. He is free to walk around the houses, but please respect the inhabitants.
Hiking: One of the best places to live and travel to Cape Town is the outdoors way of life in the city. There are dozens of free hiking trails that zigzag around the city. You can easily pass all your holidays by facing a route every day. Some of my favorites are the Lion's head, Pipe Track, Kloof Nek, and the hiking trails at the top of Table Mountain.
I'm on the beach: While the ocean around Cape Town freezes, the beaches of the city are beautiful. My trip along the Atlantic Sea is Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno. If you are traveling to the Cape Peninsula, do not miss the Noordhoek Beach, Dias Beach in Cape Point and the colorful beaches of Muizenberg Beach.
Table Mountain: If you are an avid hiker, you can walk to the top of Table Mountain for free. The most direct route is the Platteklip Gorge and will take about 2-3 hours. However, it is a steep climb. If you are looking for an easier way at the top, you can take the Aerial Cableway. A return ticket costs between R 290.00 – R 330.00 or, if you pass, you can get a one way ticket for R 145.00-R 165.00.
First Thursday: The First Thursdays are an institution in Cape Town. The event takes place on the first Thursday of each month and the city center becomes a huge road after hours. All art galleries, bars and restaurants are open late and there is plenty of free wine, drinks and other events to take place.
Read more: Top things to do in Cape Town in the summer
Suggested daily budget
Overall, I recommend a budget for R 460-600 ($ 35-35) per day for Cape Town. If you do not stay in hostels, cook your own food or do mostly free activities, you will need to hit your daily budget slightly more.
Do you have any tips on traveling to Cape Town with a budget? Please let us know the comments below!