View overlooking the city of Cape Town, South Africa on a clear, sunny day with mountains in the distance

posted: 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's no surprise that it's a popular hub for….well, everyone. It is a place that sucks in visitors. I have many friends who go there and end up staying for months.

And, even though it's a pretty cheap destination (I'm talking $2 USD cocktails), I'm always keen to give 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 should know since the city is already very affordable for visitors):

1. Visit during low season

Cape Town's peak tourist season is December to February, when the city fills with hordes of tourists looking to escape the cold of the Northern Hemisphere winter. Prices for everything from activities to accommodation are sky high during these months. If you can, plan your trip for shoulder season (March to May or September to November) when prices are more reasonable. That alone will save you a ton of money!

2. Consider living in a hostel

Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when traveling, and Cape Town is no exception. Luckily, there are a variety of accommodation styles to choose from — from inns to hotels to short-term rentals. If you are on a tight budget, hostels are the cheapest option. However, if you're looking for something a little better, you can still find great deals on Airbnb or if you book at least three months in advance.

Once items sell out and there are fewer choices, hotel prices skyrocket, so be sure not to leave it until the last minute.

3. Take advantage of 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 a ridesharing app like Uber or Bolt. It's safer, faster, and still very cheap by Western standards.

The average cost for a short trip is 30-50 ZAR ($1.65–2.75 USD), and if you plan to use ridesharing services a lot, it might be worth buying an Uber Pass for 100 ZAR ($5 USD), which gives you 10% discount for each trip.

If you stay for a month or more, rent a car around $300–500 USD per month is a good option — but be aware that gas and parking fees may be more than what it costs to use a ridesharing app. For the best car rental rates, go for it Find Car.

4. Choose a do-it-yourself outing

Penguins relax on Boulder Beach near Cape Town, South Africa

If you want to save money, rent a car and share 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 in Cape Point. The cost of this tour ranges from 545 to 860 ZAR per person, excluding the park entrance.

Alternatively, you can get a cheap car rental for 450 ZAR per day and cut costs substantially by dividing it among people. Not only is it cheaper to plan your own excursions, but it gives you the flexibility to travel at your leisure and stop wherever you want, without feeling rushed.

Other popular trips, such as visiting wine country and whale watching on Hermanus, are also easily accessible on your own.

For a list of popular activities and outings, see Get Your Guide.

5. Take a free walking tour

One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new destination is take a free walking tour. It's a great way to get to know the ground, see the highlights, and connect with local guides who can share tips and insider advice.

Cape Town Free Walking Tour run free tours daily in English — no advance booking required. (Be sure to tip your guide at the end!)

6. Look for cheap eats

Eating out can be very affordable around Cape Town. Most restaurants, even in more tourist-centric areas, have meals ranging from $5 to $10 USD per meal (and even cheaper in some places).

Vagabond Kitchens is a great place for cheap takeout and fast food, and Giovanni's has a deli counter with delicious, home-style meals that are usually under $5 USD. Eastern Food Bazaar and Mojo Market (at Sea Point) are also two other inexpensive options.

Plus, food delivery apps often have offers that make them cheaper than in person. If you get an Uber Pass, you'll also get discounts on Uber Eats, and paired with the buy one get one deals and other dining deals consistently advertised at restaurants, it can even be cheaper than cooking for yourself.

7. Use discount sites

In addition to food delivery discounts, websites like Hyperli And Wikideal popular in South Africa for food, drinks and discounted activities.

If you are traveling in pairs, Entertainer App also a great way to get buy one get one free deals on food and drink around town.

Before booking an outing or going out to eat, I recommend checking these sites to see if there are any deals you can get—they are some great ones!

8. Look for free (or inexpensive) activities.

People hike Lions Head in Cape Town, South Africa on a sunny, sunny day

Cape Town is home to a number of free (or cheap) activities and attractions. Here's a list to help you have fun on a budget:

  • Climb Table Mountain
  • Visit the District Six Museum
  • Hit the beach
  • Climb Lion's Head
  • Visit the Slave Hut
  • Watch the sunset from Signal Hill

For more suggestions, see my guide to Cape Town. It has lots of budget-friendly suggestions!


By timing your travel wisely, finding affordable accommodations, making use of safe and inexpensive transportation options, planning your own itinerary, and being selective in your activities, you can enjoy all the wonders of this amazing city without breaking the bank.

Book Your Trip: Logistics Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find cheap flights using Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you always know there's no stone unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, go for it because it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guest houses and hotels.

Don't Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It's comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never travel 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 Free Travel?
A travel credit card lets you earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations — all at no extra cost. Check out my guide to choosing the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to work with when you're on the move. I list everything that I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can't go wrong with them on your travels.