In playing travel agent and planning our trips to Cape Town for next week (!!!) and March I came across hundreds of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and backpackers available to stay at while you’re in Cape Town. To be honest, as much as it was exciting, it was a little overwhelming at first!
Last week, I listed the top five things I’d like to do while in Cape Town, but what I didn’t mention was where you should stay while in Cape Town. I thought I’d save you a little trouble and give you a break down of how we decided where to stay in Cape Town, how I went about booking, and where I would stay if money and availability wasn’t an issue!
Step #1: Decide when you will be traveling
If you are planning to visit Cape Town in peak season (Dec-March) you have to be prepared to book and pay. South Africans know the summer season is the best time to visit Cape Town and crowds flock there for the warm and dry weather during the holidays. I’d strongly suggest to international visitors NOT to go during this time. Unless battling crowds and traffic is your thing. Instead look into visiting in February or March, when the weather is still great, and the beaches are less crowded.
If February or March isn’t an option for your visit, consider August to mid-October when whale watching season and Spring collide. Spring in Cape Town is argued by many to be best season because of the mild temperatures and the beautiful flowers that bloom country-wide. The vineyards will be in top form and you can also spot whales off the coast that have migrated from Antarctica! Crowds will be lower and so will the prices. Be prepared for the occasional Cape Town rain and wind though!
Step #2: Decide if you want to stay in an apartment, guest house, hotel or hostel.
Each of these types of accommodation have their advantages.
– If you have a group of three people or more, consider an apartment. You’ll have multiple bedrooms so you can all stay together, and for the domestic types, you can save money by cooking meals in the kitchen.
– Guest houses or B&Bs are great for couples wanting a romantic type of getaway. Guest houses tend to be very charming and will give you an authentic Cape Town vibe. They often include a delicious breakfast to get your day started.
– A hotel is a luxurious option for those wanting all the modern amenities. Most have restaurants and pools. It is also perfect for couples (most rooms only have occupancy for 2) or you could get a block of rooms for a group.
– And finally a hostel is great for younger visitors looking for a low-cost place to lay their head at night.
[Insider tip] One thing to know about accommodation in South Africa is that most places charge per person, not per room. So if the max occupancy says two, and you try to sneak in three, you are technically stealing. It may be tempting to try to sneak more people in your hotel rooms, but maids have a way of knowing the number of people in a room and if you are caught you’ll pay the price or be asked to leave. If you are unsure about occupancies check in with the hotel you are staying in.
Step #3: Location, Location, Location!
After you decide what type of accommodation you are looking for, you’ll need to decide what location to look for it in. This honestly depends on what types of activities and experiences you are looking to have in Cape Town. At the same time remember this is only your “home base” and just because you stay in one neighborhood doesn’t mean you can’t organize a day trip to another spot in Cape Town. Just make sure to research the distance between each location you are interested in and plan transportation accordingly.
Here is a great detailed description of all of the neighborhoods in Cape Town and below is my basic breakdown of the neighborhoods and core activities at each spot + my accommodation recommendations! [disclaimer: I am not a travel agent! These are my recommendations based solely on internet research and user reviews!]
Beach + Nightlife
If you are interested in a beach/mountain view and a party at night, trying looking in Sea Point, Camps Bay or Green Point. You are walking distance to the beach and also close to the V&A waterfront where there are lots of restaurants, shops and tours. Also not far is Table Mountain and plenty of bars.
The BIG backpackers – Rooms are minimalist African style and hostel has free wi-fi and contental breakfast. The location in Green Point is walking distance to bars and restaurants. If you stay in a dorm it’s super cheap (R170-235), but you’ll pay a bit more than an average backpackers if you want a room for two (R670-R800)
The Glen Boutique Hotel – Beautiful pool and outdoor bar, stunning views of the sea, reasonable rates and excellent service. What more could you ask for?
Cape Town Central is where it all happens. The waterfront is filled with wonderful restaurants, things to do and people watching. These properties offer incredible views of Table Mountain. Many of the most luxury hotels are in Cape Town Central, but you’ll also find a few hostels and apartments thrown in the mix.
2 Inn1 Kensington – This boutique hotel constantly ranks in the best of lists for Cape Town. It’s service is ranked top notch by countless visitors and the view of Table Mountain (in the luxury room) is priceless.
If you are interested in touring Cape Town’s beautiful vineyards and sampling lots of incredible wines, look at Stellenbosch, Franshoek or Paal. These towns also happen to be super cute and not too far from Cape Town central.
Aaldering Estate & Vineyard – A quaint estate just outside of Stellenbosch. Stay in one of their lodges and receive 3 bottles of wine, hot breakfast & a complimentary wine tasting.
Delaire Graff Estate – A gorgeous, upper class estate with an onsite spa, winery and vineyards, gardens & art. Looks like a lovely place to stay, or stop by for lunch and a tasting.
Rustic Charm + Nature
For something a little more rustic, quieter and off the beaten path, check out Lowrys Pass, Betty’s Bay or Gordon’s Bay. These places are close to activities like whale watching and cage diving with the Great Whites. Simon’s Town is close to the penguins at boulders beach. These spots are still close enough to Cape Town central to spend a day there.
Berg en Zee Guesthouse: A charming guest house located in Gordon’s Bay area. Many of the rooms offer a sea view. Nearby you will find nature reserves, whale routes, wine estates and even a gold course.
Step #4: Booking Online
When you are first searching for your accommodation, using one of these sites could be helpful. I like it because you can filter hotels by location, budget and type of location. Easy peasy.
Once I find hotels I am interested in, I will check their website for photos and any specials/promotions. Then I head over to trip advisor to look at reviews, and narrow it down from there. Whatever you decide, do yourself a favor and start looking and booking asap! Don’t dilly-dally like we did 🙂
Here’s where we are staying next week!
We are splitting our five-day stay between two places; both are a little bit off the beaten path and not quite central. We decided this was okay because my husband and I were looking for a romantic get-away, not a hustle and bustle touristy stay (although, I know…I’m totally a tourist!). Also because we are driving down to Cape Town we will have our own transportation and it’s not an issue to drive into Cape Town central for a day!
Accommodation #1: Kronendal Hertiage Guest House – Hout Bay
This cute little guest house is located near Hout Bay and is perfectly situated between Cape Town Central for our day trip to Table Mountain and the waterfront, and close to Boulder’s Beach and Chapman’s Peak!
Website: http://www.kronendal-heritage.com/indexenglish.html Rate: Varies by season and chosen suite. Includes breakfast. Check website for current prices.
Accommodation #2: Lalapanzi Lodge – Cape Winelands/Sir Lowry’s Pass
For the last two nights of our trip we wanted to focus on the vineyards and visit a winery or two. Lalapanzi offers B&B and self-catering (apartment style) accommodation in an absolutely breathtaking setting. We decided to stay in a B&B here based on the amazing reviews (basically all 5-stars), the reasonable price, the location, and the view of False Bay and the Cape. They have vineyards on site and are not too far from other wineries.
We can’t wait for our trip! I just checked the weather and we are looking at warm temperatures during the day and cool, comfortable nights! We’re looking at no rain and a little wind 🙂
some links I found helpful in my planning that you may be interested in