Budget Cape Town

There are loads of hikes and walks you can do in Cape Town for free. Photo courtesy flowcomm

Cape Town’s prices compare favourably with those of other top international destinations. Accommodation in the city centre can cost as little as R120 per night, while you can get a sit-down breakfast from R20 and a beer or soft drink for even less.

That's not to say every attraction or establishment in Cape Town is inexpensive. Of course, there are the five-star establishments to stay that will cost much more, though overall Cape Town can be considered a good value-for-money destination.

Below, you'll find some tips on doing Cape Town on a budget.

At most backpacker establishments in and around the city centre, a twin or double room will cost around R340 for a night, while seaside apartments can be rented from R500 per night.

Cape Town Tourism’s accommodation database is searchable by price, giving budget travellers plenty of options.

Long Street Backpackers is a popular budget venue that is centrally situated. Photo © Cape Town Tourism

The bus between Cape Town International Airport and the city centre costs R50 per person and travel between most parts of the city centre costs less than R10 per person travelling by bus or mini-bus. Metered taxis generally charge R20 plus R10 per kilometre, but rates should be agreed upon upfront.

Cape Town has a "secret season" in winter, between May and October, when there are countless special offers on accommodation, restaurants and tours. A visit during this time of year could be 30% to 50% cheaper than one in the peak summer months, if planned carefully.

Below is a rough example of how two people travelling on a budget could comfortably spend a day and night in Cape Town for less than R600 each:

Double/twin room at a backpacker establishment: R170pp

Breakfast at the famous Arnold’s in Kloof Street: from R20pp

City Sightseeing bus tour of Cape Town: R120pp

Burger and chips combo lunch at Steers fast food outlets: R40pp

Dinner and drinks at the V&A Waterfront: Around R120pp

Many of Cape Town's attractions are very inexpensive, including the Iziko Museums' South African Museum and the South African National Art Gallery (both R20 for adults; free for children 18 and under).

There are also lots of things you can do for free in Cape Town, including:

  • hiking. You can hike on Table Mountain, Chapman's Peak, Signal Hill and many other beautiful areas at no charge.
  • enjoying time at the beach. There is no charge for Cape Town's beautiful beaches, including Clifton, Camps Bay, Llandudno, Muizenberg, Hout Bay and Noordhoek.
  • window shopping and browsing. One of the best places to do this is at the V&A Waterfront, South Africa's most popular tourist destination. You can browse through hundreds of shops, watch buskers at work or the sun setting over beautiful Table Mountain, all for free.
  • walking or running. Take a stroll along the beautiful Sea Point promenade, where you can walk or run for kilometres beside the sea. Another lovely walk in the city centre is through the historic and tree-lined Company's Garden. Look out for the squirrels and Egyptian geese, which live here.