published: 5/12/2023 | May 12, 2023
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With its stunning beaches, towering mountains, and vibrant culture, it should come as no surprise that it’s a popular hub for… well, everyone. It is a place that attracts visitors. I have a lot of friends who have been there and ended up staying for months.
And while it’s a fairly inexpensive destination (I’m talking about $2 cocktails), I always love giving people tips and tricks on how to save money to get those extra savings.
To help you save money on your visit, here’s how to visit Cape Town on a budget (there are just a few things you need to know because the city is really quite affordable for visitors):
1. Visit during the off-season
The peak tourist season in Cape Town runs from December to February, when the city fills with hordes of tourists seeking the cold of the Northern Hemisphere winter. Prices for everything from activities to accommodation are significantly higher during these months. If you can, plan your trip for the shoulder season (March through May or September through November) when prices are more reasonable. This alone will save you a fortune!
2. Consider staying in a hostel
Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when traveling, and Cape Town is no exception. Fortunately, there is a wide range of accommodation styles to choose from – from guesthouses to hotels to short-term rentals. If you’re on a tight budget, hostels are the cheapest option. However, if you’re looking for something better, you can still find great deals on Airbnb or Booking.com if you book at least three months in advance.
Once things run out and there are fewer options, hotel rates skyrocket, so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute.
3. Use ridesharing apps
The MyCiti bus system is a popular and inexpensive way to get around, but it’s not always the safest, especially at night. Instead, use ridesharing apps like Uber or Bolt. It’s safer, faster, and still very cheap by Western standards.
The average cost for a short ride is ZAR 30-50 ($1.65 to $2.75 USD), and if you plan to use the rideshare frequently, it might be worth getting an Uber Pass for ZAR 100 ($5 USD), which makes It gives you 10% off every ride.
If you’re staying for a month or longer, renting a car for around $300-500 USD per month might be a good option – but be aware that gas and parking fees can more than cost using transportation. program. For the best car rental rates, use Discover Cars.
4. Opt for do-it-yourself excursions
If you want to save some cash, rent a car and split the cost of visiting places with friends or other travelers. One of the most popular excursions is the Cape Peninsula Tour, which starts in Cape Town and stops at various tourist destinations, such as the famous penguin colony at Boulders Beach before ending at Cape Point. These tours cost anywhere from 545 to 860 ZAR per person, excluding park entrances.
Alternatively, you can get a cheap car rental for ZAR 450 per day and cut the cost significantly by splitting it between people. Not only is it cheaper to plan excursions on your own, it also gives you the flexibility of making the trip at your leisure and stopping off wherever you like, without feeling rushed.
Other popular excursions, such as visiting wine country and whale watching in Hermanus, are easily accessible on your own.
For a list of popular activities and excursions, check out Get Your Guide.
5. Take a free walking tour
One of the first things I do upon arriving in a new destination is to take a free walking tour. It’s the best way to get on the ground, see the main highlights, and connect with a local guide who can share insider tips and advice.
Free Walking Tour Cape Town offers free daily tours in English – no advance booking required. (Just be sure to tip your tip at the end!)
6. Look for cheap meals
Eating out can be very affordable all over Cape Town. Most restaurants, even in the more tourist-centric areas, have food for $5-$10 per serving (and even cheaper in some places).
Vagabond Kitchens is great for inexpensive wraps and quick bites, and Giovanni’s has a delicatessen counter with delicious, home-style meals that are usually under $5. Eastern Food Bazaar and Mojo Market (at Sea Point) are two other cheap options, too.
Additionally, food delivery apps often have deals that make it cheaper than in-person ones. If you get an Uber Pass, you get a discount on Uber Eats too, and combined with buy-one-get-one-free deals and other meal deals constantly advertised at many restaurants, this can be cheaper than cooking for yourself.
7. Use discount websites
In addition to food delivery discounts, websites such as Hyperli and Wikideals are popular in South Africa for discounted food, drinks and activities.
If you’re traveling in a pair, the Entertainer app is also a great way to get buy one, get one free offers on food and drinks around town.
Before booking excursions or going out to eat, I recommend checking out these sites to see if there are any deals you can get – there are some great deals out there!
8. Find Free (or Cheap) Activities
Cape Town is home to a number of free (or cheap) activities and attractions. Here is a list to help you enjoy on a budget:
- Hike up Table Mountain
- Visit the Sixth District Museum
- hit the beach
- Raising the lion’s head
- Visit Slave Lodge
- Watch the sunset from Signal Hill
For more suggestions, check out my guide to Cape Town. She has so many budget-friendly suggestions!
By timing your trip wisely, finding affordable lodging, taking advantage of safe and cheap transportation options, planning your excursions, and being picky about your activities, you can enjoy all the wonders of this amazing city without breaking the bank.
Book your flight: logistics tips and tricks
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight with Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you’ll always know that no stone is left unturned.
Reserve your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it constantly shows the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It is comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Want to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations – all without any additional spending. Check out my guide to choosing the right card, current favorites to get started, and see the latest best deals.
Ready to book your flight?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when traveling. I list everything I use when I travel. It’s the best in class and you can’t go wrong with it on your trip.