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Top backpackers in Cape Town

On a shoestring: cheap accommodation options in the Mother City and surrounds

Last Update 5 July 2017

Taking chances and ‘going with the flow’ are cornerstones of a backpacking culture held dear by anyone with a big sense of adventure and a small supporting budget. Though, gambling on your choice of hostel isn’t necessarily a risk worth taking, especially in a South Africa that claims more than a few backpackers holding fast to the cheap-and-nasty philosophy. Luckily, in the Mother City and surrounds, there are a handful of hostels razing such poor standards to the ground.

What follows is our overview of these backpackers in Cape Town: budget accommodation options going out of their way to give travellers a clean, comfortable, stylish and vibey place to stay for a great price. All of the hostels included below are affordable, excellently located for one reason or another and well reviewed on trusted sites like Tripadvisor.com and Hostelworld.com. So, you can rest assured (quite literally) and look forward to exercising spontaneity elsewhere.

The Backpack in Cape Town
As the very first backpackers in South Africa, and with a city centre location that couldn’t be more ideal, this multi award-winning hostel has cemented itself in the minds of travellers as one of the city’s hottest, most social spots to stay. Spread out over four old Victorian houses, the hip and happening backpackers claims an uber-cool ambience, multiple communal areas for mingling, a swimming pool, an on-site bar, a travel centre, a high standard of service and a wide array of room types (anything from mixed dorms to four-bed family lofts) that are both well appointed and stylishly decorated. What’s more, with a deeply entrenched commitment to making a positive difference in surrounding communities, the fair trade-accredited hostel is also a particularly responsible accommodation choice.


74 New Church Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 423 4530

Once in Cape Town 
Any seasoned traveller knows that there is nothing quite like the feeling of arriving in a new place and getting that buzz of anticipation for all the good things that there are to come. Once in Cape Town backpackers is where this feeling officially starts, as the Kloof Street hostel offers up the perfect springboard from which to begin a Mother City adventure. Guests can opt to stay in one of the four-man dorms, which each have their own bathroom and come furnished with custom beds suitable for the extra tall, or in a pimped out private room, and they’ll have a fully equipped kitchen (there’s a Checkers supermarket about two minutes away) or Kloof’s ultra-hip eateries at their disposal. The friendly staff are like travel fairy godmothers who will help visitors have the holiday of their dreams, whether it involves a free walking tour, a Sunday visit to Mzoli’s, or just a tidbit on Cape Town’s lesser known gems. With Wi-Fi available throughout the property and a breakfast at the on-site eatery, Yours Truly, included with your stay, world wanderers and local nomads may have found their ‘happily ever after’.


73 Kloof Street | Cape Town | (+27) 21 424 6169

Atlantic Point Backpackers in Green Point
Chic, central and just a stone’s throw from Cape Town’s scenic promenade, it’s no wonder that Hostelworld named this upmarket backpackers as 2015’s best hostel in Africa. Atlantic Point is kitted out with spacious rooms and top-class facilities such as free Wi-Fi, a bar and braai and ample parking. Guests can even unwind with a plunge in the pool or a round of mini golf. Perfectly located for city explorers, the safe, sea–fronting neighbourhood of Green Point offers guests a variety of options on its bustling bar and restaurant strip. The backpacker’s staff are always on hand to offer local advice on Cape Town adventures- they’re passionate about the Mother City, and are eager to help travellers get the most out of their stay. Double, family and twin rooms are available for those after a private and peaceful stay, with beds in four-, six- and eight-person dorms for travellers who enjoy the social scene and traditional backpackers’ sense of community. With a very reasonable pricelist, Atlantic Point balances the fun and friendly buzz of a hostel with the comfort and quality of a hotel.


2 Cavalcade Rd | Green Point | Cape Town | (+27) 21 433 1663

African Soul Surfer Backpackers
Claimed to be the closest backpackers to the beach in Cape Town, this double-storey lodging gazes over Muizenberg’s main stretch of coastline. Beautiful views can be seen from almost every room, including both the crashing waves, as well as the suburb’s iconic colourful bathing huts too. As the location is prime for surfing, the vibrant hostel integrates wave riding culture into its look and feel, while offering surf lessons for newbies and the hiring out of boards and wetsuits. Those who aren’t keen on getting wet can spend their time hiking or walking the area, taking a yoga class in the backpackers’ on-site studio, visit nearby sightseeing attractions (like Cape Point and Boulders Beach) or simply relax in African Soul Surfer’s extensive chill-areas. The room selection caters to a wide variety of people and includes four- and six-bed dorms for those on a budget (only R190pp), double quarters for couples and even family chambers for big groups. See their rates here. Ultimately, it’s a great base for travellers who don’t want to be too far from the CBD (it’s just 25 minutes away) but who still prefer the beach to the hustle and bustle of the city centre.


Surfer’s Circle | Muizenberg | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 788 1771

BIG Backpackers in Green Point
Contrary to what its name might imply, this relatively new addition to the Cape Town backpackers scene (September 2012) is more an intimate guest house than a hulking high-rise of dorm rooms. With a focus on providing travellers with the comfort and convenience often yearned for while on the road, the boutique hotel-style backpackers prides itself on giving guests a stylish place to stay for a fraction of the price normally associated with such accommodation. Not to mention, as a quick glance on TripAdvisor.com can verify, the backpackers is quickly climbing the rankings thanks to its exceptional service and thoughtful extras (swimming pool, excellent coffee, free Wi-fi, beds bedecked in white linen, etc.). The hostel also offers up a simple continental breakfast and houses an on-site tourism booking centre.


18 Thornhill Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 434 0688

Hout Bay Backpackers
Perched on towering sand dunes in an oceanside suburb just 20 minutes from Cape Town CBD, Hout Bay Backpackers offers budget travellers the chance to holiday by the sea and momentarily escape the bustle of the city for a pittance. A sea shell’s throw from the shoreline and with panoramic views of the charming Cape scenery, the hostel is the perfect place to relax, unwind and simply allow yourself to be whisked back to the days when your biggest concerns were sticky ice creams and sandy feet.  The three-storey converted home boasts hotel-standard accommodation, braai facilities and a staff willing to travel to any length for guests. Not to mention, as it’s connected to All Out Africa, a combined non-profit and travel company that specialises in responsible tourism, those keen on doing volunteer work in South Africa can explore links to a handful of altruistic endeavours.


8 Edward Road | Hout Bay | +27 21 790 0427

African Heart Backpackers in Cape Town
Based in the bohemian multi-cultural suburb of Observatory, this homely, small-scale hostel – it claims only seven rooms in a century-old Victorian house – is as arty, colourful and full of spirit as the lively region it rests in (there are numerous bars, clubs, restaurants and shops a short walk away). Aside from uber affordable rates, the vibrantly decorated backpackers offers travellers free Wi-fi, a complimentary breakfast (there’s a self-catering kitchen for other meals), and the option of staying in either private or dorm rooms that come complete with quality bedding. Not to mention, the travel centre that runs out of reception is committed to giving guests a taste of the real Cape Town by introducing them to the city’s hidden gems and sending them on tours and day trips that differ from the standard touristy options. In essence, this comfy well-rated hostel is a top spot to stay for some insight into what really makes the Mother City tick.


27 Station Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 447 3125

Hermanus Backpackers
Hands down one of the best budget-friendly overnight options from which to explore the Overberg region (roughly one hour from Cape Town), Hermanus Backpackers is as well known for its small-town hospitality as it is for its killer braais (barbeques). Situated just a five-minute walk from the village’s centre, the colourful hostel is also but a hop, skip and jump away from many of the Western Cape’s most famous activities: shark cage diving, whale watching, wine tasting, sand boarding and more.  Though, even if you’d rather just chill out and enjoy Hermanus’s laidback pace of life, the home-away-from-home’s sparkling swimming pool, funked-up bar, comfy couches, free Wi-fi and complimentary breakfasts lend themselves to heaps of rest and relaxation. Not to mention, for those eager to escape the communal backpacker atmosphere, the property has two self-catering cottages ideal for travellers looking for cheap B&B-style accommodation.


26 Flower Street | Hermanus | +27 (0) 28 312 4293

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Keen to splurge on one mind-blowing overnight? Check out our overview of unusual accommodation options in Cape Town and surrounds.

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