As a solo female traveler, and one who travels to second and third world countries often, deciding where to stay when backpacking is an important. I look at safety as my number one factor and then following that of course everything else: WiFi access, cleanliness, social atmosphere, location, well the list goes on! While I occasionally splurge on a hotel or Airbnb, I had heard the backpacking crowd in South Africa was one to get to know and of course the best way to make friends is to stay at hostels!
Some of my friends gasp at the thought of staying in a hostel! There are various types of hostels, there are dirty and unsafe ones (sure!) and there are also clean and safe ones too. If you’ve had a bad experience, I would encourage you to be open because there are so many amazing ones around the world with a lot to offer! Generally speaking, hostels offer a more affordable means to travel, they open opportunities for you to make new friends, and there are comfortable, safe, and clean options.
I spent a solid 3 weeks in Cape Town alone and stayed in multiple hostels. My top three picks for Best Hostels in Cape Town are based on prior research, friend’s recommendations, ratings and reviews on various booking sites, and my own personal experience. In no particular order, the below hostels rank the highest on my list. All three are situated in the Green Point neighborhood in Cape Town and are literally blocks away from one another. Therefore, if you find one is full during your dates, check out one of the others! Green Point is a safe neighborhood, and very close to the V&A Waterfront. In my mind it was situated perfectly given whenever I wanted to Uber to downtown Cape Town or to Camps Bay, I wasn’t too far from either. Check out my recommendations below.
Never@Home was the first hostel I stayed in when I arrived in Cape Town! It is perfectly located on the Main Road. It’s steps away from the local grocery store, KWIKSPAR, and right next door to multiple bars, restaurants and shops. Highlights:
- Atmosphere – I was able to easily make a tons of friends the first week I stayed at this hostel, likely due to the fact that there is a social bar and restaurant in the back that everyone hangs at.
- Location – The best location, safe and nearby all the action.
- Give Back – This hostel supports an after school program for children called iKhaya Le Themba. iKhaya offers the children a cooked meal and the teachers help with homework. It is a great initiative they are proud to support and thus they encourage their guests to visit during their stay.
- Travel Desk – An in-house travel desk is next to reception with an agent ready to answer any questions you may have. I found this to be very helpful during my stay, especially my first week as I was just getting to know Cape Town.
- Bar – The Randy Warthog, Bar and Restaurant offers affordable meals and snacks, including a full bar with happy hour deals and specials.
- Price: $25 USD for 4 Bed Mixed Dorm (slightly lower on weekdays, higher on weekends)
Atlantic Point Backpackers was the second hostel I stayed in during my stay in Cape Town. Rated a 9.5 on HostelWorld, they have received numerous awards and it’s easy to see why. I felt very welcomed when I arrived at Atlantic Point, everyone working there is very friendly and wants to get to know you personally. They make your entire stay seamless. I walked away with many friends here and enjoyed a relaxing stay. Highlights:
- Welcoming Staff – They’re a believer that more hands-on interactions will win guests over, which is very true. From around the world, young travelers come to work here (most through Workaway) and are there to explore Cape Town and make new friends. I felt right at home as soon as I walked in!
- Activities via Imagine Travel – Imagine Travel is a company that hosts tours in and around Cape Town, including an all day wine tour in Stellenbosch that I went on which was fantastic! They also offer tours through the Cape Peninsula and all include transportation to/from. You can book directly through Atlantic Point at the front desk.
- Going Green – Atlantic Point has been going green since they started! They have efficient water heating, low energy light bulbs, reclaimed wood for furniture, and they recycle all waste among other initiatives to be green.
- Food – One of the best parts of staying here is the breakfast! There were mornings I would wake up to the smell of freshly baked chocolate muffins and they are to die for. They also host a delicious Braii (barbecue) with all traditional South African foods to try.
- Social – There are so many common areas set up here that it’s clear their goal is to create a social atmosphere whereby you can easily interact with others while at the same time offer space where you can relax and do your own thing if you wish. They have a relaxing TV room, computer area, mini golf in the back, pool deck, outdoor seating areas, dining room, bar, and kitchen to hang out in.
- Price: $33.48 USD for 4 Bed Mixed Dorm
When I returned from my trip down the Garden Route, I ended my stay in Cape Town at The B.I.G: Backpackers in Green Point, a luxury hostel! Rated a 9.8 on HostelWorld, The B.I.G hostel is a boutique backpackers hostel that is VERY nicely designed. Outlets are next to each bed, no matter what dorm you’re in, you don’t even need to think twice! It’s clear they thought through all the details here and it’s one you can certainly make yourself at home in. Highlights:
- Gorgeous Spaces – This is an absolutely beautiful hostel! One of few luxury hostels I’ve had the pleasure of staying in, it certainly makes sense why everyone writes glowing reviews on the decor alone.
- Common Areas – Even though the rooms are probably my favorite part of this hostel, the common areas are just as amazing. The TV room is the best because they have an area just filled with pillows on top of pillows for you to hang out on!
- Pool Deck Area – Each of the hostels featured in here have pools but this one I saw people actually hang out at to sunbathe. Situated in the back of the hostel, it’s a private area you can relax in.
- Breakfast Included – Yummy! Multiple juice options, toasts and jams, eggs to cook anyway you want, and cereal options galore, they aren’t messing around here with variety! I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast every morning here 🙂
- Social Activities – When you check in to the hostel, they walk you through numerous boards of sign up sheets for activities and adventures to participate in with others at the hostel. I participated in a wine tour with the hostel and there were over 20 of us that went! They encourage you to participate in as many activities as possible, I highly recommend signing up for as much as your schedule permits when you get there.
- Price: $26.20 USD for 4 Bed Mixed Dorm