When compared to other top destinations, Cape Town offers some of the most wallet-friendly holidays in the world. Whilst the province does have some pricey, five star accommodation and travel options, you can easily take advantage of the more affordable, but still awesome, attractions.
Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain
1. Save money with affordable backpacker hostels and transport
Backpacking is designed for a tight budget, but gives you the chance to explore and meet new people more easily than you would in standard accommodation. You can enjoy a laid-back, friendly atmosphere for a fraction of the cost, get involved in communal braais and learn about secret spots from the locals. Check out the BazBus website, or grab a copy of the Coast to Coast backpackers guide booklet to find the best places to stay and ways to get there.
99% of backpacker hostels will help to arrange exciting adventure tours, activities and safaris for you to experience in the area.
2. Use inner city public transport
Most transport options aimed at tourists are expensive. If you want to save the smart way, it’s better to travel the way locals do. Make use of the public train system (Metrorail) for the cheapest way of getting around the peninsula. Alternatively, the local taxis usually charge between R5 and R10 along the main roads. You can also call or find taxi cabs which are slightly more expensive but still less than transport organised by hotels or tour operators. The MyCiTi bus is also a safe, clean and cost-effective way to get around the city centre and to and from the airport.
3. Eat out on a budget
Cape Town Food Trucks - A mobile dining innovation, the food truck is cheaper than most restaurants. The old-fashioned Limoncelo truck makes its stops at predictable hotspots including the Ouderkraal, Neighbourgoods and Blaauwklipen markets, with an authentic Italian selection that includes Calzone al Forno, Parmigiana, Risotto and Spaghetti Vera.
Eastern Food bazaar - Food-lovers don’t have to shell out tons of money for delicious eastern and oriental cuisine. This bazaar specialises in creating delectable foods for all tastes, including Chinese, Indian, Cape Malay, Turkish and Arabic dishes.
Java Cafe - Surrounded by students, this eatery is both affordable and accommodating. Here, a trendy atmosphere, goes hand-in-hand with big portions, a varied menu and cool, umbrella-shaded tables.
4. Self catering
Eating out every night isn't an option for most people. It's expensive, and let’s be honest, sometimes you’d rather just stay in wearing your pyjamas. Cape Town has a lot of grocery stores where you can get ready made food, as well as what some refer to as “huis winkels” which are shops run from houses in suburban areas that sell basic takeaways and convenience items. You can try:
Food Lover's Market - You'll get great deals and fresh produce at this Veg City chain, dotted all over the map. Offering convenience foods, fire-baked pizzas, hot sandwiches, sushi, baked goods both sweet and savoury, a wide selection of ice-creams and salads, smoothies and local cuisine; you can grab a quick meal (or treat) and shop at the same time.
Woolworths - Woolworths offers imported food and drinks, health foods and specialty meals difficult to find anywhere else. You may have to pay a little more, but freshness and variety is guaranteed.
Pick ‘n Pay – This grocery retailer is your best bet if you’re looking for grocery items at a great price. Plus, they tend to stay open later than most other grocery franchises and are the most wide-spread in the province.
5. Peak times
If you want to save on travel costs, why not visit Cape Town in the off-season between April and October? It’s just as magical and offers an abundance of local indoor activities, as well as much cheaper rates on almost everything. Plus, the weather isn’t always rainy, still offering you the chance to get out and enjoy the natural scenery.
All told, it’s easy to save when visiting Cape Town. Simply keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to paying far less for your epic holiday!
Kerry Beetge is a travel and copy writer from Cape Town who loves reading, adventuring and bargain shopping in her spare time.