Cape Town Safety: Where To Stay for a Stress-Free Getaway

From secluded hillside neighbourhoods to friendly seaside towns, the Mother City offers a range of safe places to stay


Aerial view of Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town

So, you’re thinking of a vacation to Cape Town. Well, we’re here to tell you that you’ve made the right choice. Located on the southwestern coast of South Africa, the city is well-renowned for its remarkable natural beauty, rich culture and history, and thriving arts scene. The only question you may have is about Cape Town’s safety. Like many cities, it may have a reputation for being a risky holiday destination – but our travel experts at Plum Guide are here to give you the lowdown on the safest neighbourhoods to stay in so that you can let your hair down and enjoy a worry-free holiday.

General safety in Cape Town

Panorama shot of Cape Town city overlooking the canal and clouds covering table mountain, Cape Town

Panorama shot of Cape Town city overlooking the canal and clouds covering table mountain, Cape Town

Like any major city, Cape Town has its fair share of theft, crime and gang-related activity, but don't let that put you off a trip there. Tourist crime is relatively low, and as long as you exercise caution, use common sense, and stick to the tourist-approved neighbourhoods, you should have little problems with safety in Cape Town. Always keep alert for travel scams, avoid carrying large sums of cash, and come nightfall, don't walk alone or use public transport – all tips that seasoned travellers will know well. We also wouldn't suggest hiking by yourself or leaving things of value in a car, as carjacking can be quite common.

Areas to avoid

As a general rule, avoid Cape Town's township areas. These have high crime rates and aren't suitable for tourists. Some neighbourhoods to stay clear of include Cape Flats (southeast of the Central Business District), Langa and Nyanga (the oldest townships in the city) and Kraaifontein (a northern suburb). Before booking a stay, always do your research to decide what area best fits your needs and expectations.

The best neighbourhoods to stay in


Bakoven Beach on a sunny day with view of Twelve Apostles, Cape Town

Bakoven Beach on a sunny day with view of Twelve Apostles, Cape Town

When it comes to Cape Town safety, the exclusive neighbourhood of Bakoven is one of the best places to stay in the city. This small residential suburb is very secluded, making it ideal for couples and those seeking a little peace and quiet away from the crowds. Lying at the foot of the Twelve Apostles mountain range to the south of Camps Bay, staying here means you’ll wake up to extensive sea views every day. The sheltered Bakoven Beach is right on your doorstep, offering a lovely stretch of sand with calm waters and a laid-back atmosphere. You’ll also have easy access to the charming Beta Beach, hidden behind boulders next to Clifton.

When you’re not busy working on your tan, why not try out water-based activities like snorkelling, boating and fishing? With several trails leading up from Camps Bay and with Table Mountain nearby, there are plenty of opportunities for land adventures like hiking and mountain biking here, too.

City Bowl

Bright coloured houses in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Bright coloured houses in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

If you prefer to be at the heart of the action, the area of City Bowl is a great place to use as a base. Nestled between the harbour and the mountains, this has something for everyone and is close to the Central Business District (CBD) if you're in town for work reasons. Despite being the centre of Cape Town, City Bowl is a safe area, and you’ll often see public safety officers patrolling the streets.

Bree Street is a foodie haven, with fantastic shopping, trendy coffee shops, and a bevvy of delicious restaurants and bars. A stay in City Bowl also means you’re well-positioned for a day trip to Bo-Kaap. This brightly coloured neighbourhood has a rich culture and history, where you can discover more about the Cape Malay heritage. It offers an intriguing mix of cuisine, architecture, and traditions, and is well worth the visit.


Sitting on the slopes above City Bowl is the leafy suburb of Gardens. It’s close to all the city’s attractions, but tucked away enough so that you can find refuge at the end of a busy day of sightseeing. Having said that, Gardens has a handful of attractions of its own which are well worth exploring. Watch local and art films at the Labia Theater where you catch arthouse films on four screens, before eating and drinking your way through Kloof Street.

The neighbourhood is home to the historic Company Gardens, the oldest garden in South Africa. It dates back to the 1650s when it was used to grow fresh food for passing ships bound for the East. Today, it’s a peaceful oasis with colourful flowers, shaded trees, and manicured lawns. The garden is also home to some interesting cultural attractions, including the South African National Gallery and the South African Museum.

Camps Bay

Camps Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on a clear day in spring with tourists tanning and sunbathing, Cape Town

Camps Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on a clear day in spring with tourists tanning and sunbathing, Cape Town

Camps Bay is one of Cape Town’s most coveted neighbourhoods to stay in, and it’s not hard to see why. Its location between the Twelve Apostles and long, white stretches of sand means that you have unrivalled views all around you. If you’ve had enough of lounging on the beach or swimming in the clear blue waters (it’s a tough life), stretch your legs with a hike along the Pipe Track for stunning views of the coastline. For something a little more high adrenaline, try out paragliding to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city.

Back on terra firma, we can’t think of a better way to end the day than a big meal of fresh seafood by the ocean – we recommend Tindlovu for South African dishes with a contemporary twist. The fun continues after sundown, when you can catch a range of performances at the Theatre on the Bay, showcasing everything from cabarets and comedy to musicals and plays.

V&A Waterfront

Shopping centre at V&A Waterfront next to jetty and small tugboats, Cape Town

Shopping centre at V&A Waterfront next to jetty and small tugboats, Cape Town

Situated on the Atlantic Shores, the V&A Waterfront is an upscale, bustling area and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. This is a fantastic location for those who are looking for easy access to Cape Town’s best attractions. Admire the city from the top of the Ferris wheel, or take a boat to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was famously imprisoned for 18 years. If you’re after some retail therapy, you’re spoilt for choice here – from local artisanal shops and trendy galleries to international luxury brands, you can find over 450 stores to browse through.

Also contributing to the V&A’s lively atmosphere is the range of events and festivals held here throughout the year. From live music to art exhibitions and food festivals, it’s worth checking out what’s happening before you visit. Come evening, the waterfront is the best spot to admire the sunset. Also nearby is the chic enclave of De Waterkant, another great option.

Sea Point

View of Sea Point promenade, beach and coast, with Signal Hill in the distance, Cape Town

View of Sea Point promenade, beach and coast, with Signal Hill in the distance, Cape Town

The coastal suburb of Sea Point is an affluent, lively place. Stretching for several kilometres along the coast, Sea Point Promenade is a great spot for walking, cycling and admiring the magnificent coastal views. If you're travelling with the family, you'll find plenty of picnic areas, children's play areas, and recreational facilities like tennis courts and outdoor exercise areas. Seapoint Pavilion has a large, Olympic-sized public pool and two children's pools if you fancy a change from swimming at the beach – the beaches in Sea Point aren't as swimmer-friendly as some others along the coast.

Heading inland, lace up your boots and take on the nearby Signal Hill. One of the easiest routes starts from the car park near the Signal Hill Lower Cableway Station, leading you to the top in around forty-five minutes. The views at sunrise and sunset are particularly breathtaking.

Green Point

Sandwiched between Sea Point and the city centre is Green Point, the best destination for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Green Point Park is the neighbourhood’s main attraction, a 12-hectare sprawl of lawns, gardens, water features, walking paths, and recreational facilities. Football fans shouldn’t miss a tour of Cape Town stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. You’ll catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the different areas of the stadium, including the changing rooms and stadium jail. If you time your visit right, you may even catch a sports event, concert or cultural performance at the stadium.

Somerset Road is Green Point’s main thoroughfare, a vibrant street packed with an eclectic mix of cafes, delis, nightclubs, restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and more – you can easily spend the whole day here hopping from venue to venue.


Colourful beach shacks on Muizenberg Beach contrasted with white sand and blue ocean, mountains in the distance, Cape Town

Colourful beach shacks on Muizenberg Beach contrasted with white sand and blue ocean, mountains in the distance, Cape Town

Surfers looking for somewhere to stay in Cape Town should head to Muizenberg. This suburb on the False Bay coast was once an exclusive seaside destination for well-heeled members of society during Victorian times, which is evident from the resort’s grand architecture. Today, it’s more of a chilled-out surf town with independent art galleries, boutiques, and coffee shops. Muizenberg’s long expanse of sand is lined with colourful beach huts, an iconic symbol of the neighbourhood and a popular spot for photography. If you haven’t surfed before, don’t worry – there are plenty of rental shops and surf schools along the beach, including Gary’s Surf School, one of the oldest in the country.

When you’re not riding the waves, spend time browsing the stalls at the Muizenberg Flea Market, which has been going on for the past thirty-four years. There are over 300 stalls selling everything from knick-knacks and antiques to crafts, clothes, and food.

Bantry Bay

When thinking about Cape Town safety, one of the top neighbourhoods that comes to mind is Bantry Bay. This high-end suburb on the slopes of Lion’s Head is one of the best places to stay for peace of mind. You’re also not too far from the city’s attractions like Cape Town Botanical Gardens, Parliament Buildings, South African National Art Gallery, and Planetarium.

Bantry Bay is an attractive area for wine connoisseurs to stay in, as you’re just a short drive away from Stellenbosch and other Cape Wine routes. When you’re not sipping wine in the countryside, take it easy by shopping or dining in the excellent selection of shops and restaurants or unwinding on Saunders Beach. This is a peaceful spot which rarely gets busy, offering you uninterrupted views of the dramatic coastline.

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