Where to Stay In Cape Town For The Perfect Getaway
From easygoing surf towns to upscale areas, Cape Town has plenty of choice when it comes to places to stay
Thinking of heading out to Cape Town? Good choice. With epic views of the ocean and mountains, spectacular scenery is all around you. If you’re wondering where to stay in Cape Town, the answer depends on what you’re hoping to experience in the city. Whether you’re a culture vulture, an outdoor adventurer, or just hoping to relax with a sundowner on the beach, Cape Town has something for every kind of traveller. For some expert inside knowledge on the city, the travel gurus at Plum Guide have curated this list of the best neighbourhoods to stay in the Mother City. Thank us when you get back.
Cape Town city overlooking the canal
If you’re the type of traveller who likes to be in the heart of the action, the central district of City Bowl is the best place to stay. This thriving metropolitan area has plenty to offer visitors, including numerous bars and restaurants (head to vibrant Bree Street), great shopping, lively nightlife and exciting attractions. As well as the city centre, you can also explore surrounding suburbs like the trendy, up-and-coming Woodstock and the highly sought-after Higgovale, with its wonderful views of the city. The main train station is located in City Bowl, so you’ll have easy access to other parts of Cape Town.
Just up the hill from City Bowl is Bo-Kaap. This is one of the city’s oldest surviving neighbourhoods, dating back to the 18th century when Malaysian slaves lived in this formerly racially-segregated area. Many of those who live there today are direct descendants, and Bo-Kaap is an important part of Cape Town’s cultural heritage. Today, colourful houses line cobbled streets – a symbol of freedom celebrating the abolishment of the old regime. Learn more about Bo-Kaap’s fascinating heritage through its mosques, craft markets and the Bo-Kaap Museum, or for foodies, indulge in delicious Cape Malay food – think samosas, daltjies (chilli bites) and curries.
Piano Bar in De Waterkant district, Cape Town
To the north of Bo-Kaap is the stylish neighbourhood of De Waterkant. It has a modern, village-like feel to it, perfect for those looking to spend their time discovering artisan shops, eateries and bars. De Waterkant is a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ travellers with its range of gay-friendly bars, restaurants and other businesses. Football fans shouldn’t miss the FIFA World Cup Fan Walk, which passes through De Waterkant. If you happen to be visiting in March, be sure to join the lively Cape Town Carnival, when floats and performers take over the streets.
Often called the Heart of the Cape, Hout Bay is a unique harbour town just a twenty-minute drive from the city centre. Although already popular with local tourists, Hout Bay has started to appear on the radar of international visitors. There’s much to love about Hout Bay, from its myriad of eateries to fantastic live entertainment. Bay Harbour Market is one of the town’s must-visits, where adults can pick up bargains from local traders and kids can hang out in the play areas. Another attraction promising fun for the whole family is World of Birds, the largest bird park in Africa, with over 400 species in a tropical garden setting.
Sea Point walkway in Cape Town
The Sea Point neighbourhood is the best place to stay if you’re after somewhere quiet but with easy access to the city’s attractions. Most visitors will find themselves on the Sea Point Promenade at some point, where you can take in the many art installations and picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re travelling with the little ones, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a large public pool and two children’s pools if you want a change from swimming at the beach. But it’s not just water activities here – lace up your boots and take on the nearby Signal Hill’s Lion’s Head hiking trail.
Sports and outdoor enthusiasts searching for where to stay in Cape Town should make Green Point their base. Situated between Sea Point and the city centre, those staying here have easy access to all the attractions and activities on offer. In addition to a large urban park where you can make use of an outdoor gym and adventure park, those looking for spectacular views of the city can hike the Promenade up to Green Point Lighthouse. Football fans shouldn’t miss a tour of Cape Town Stadium, whereas culture vultures may be more interested in a trip to the Theatre at the Rockwell.
Elevated Panoramic view of V&A Waterfront Harbor in Cape Town South Africa
In search of a more luxurious experience? The V&A Waterfront is an upscale area which is ideally positioned to explore Cape Town’s most popular attractions. Spend your days visiting historic monuments and museums, catching the views from a family-friendly Ferris wheel or taking a tour of Robben Island, the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. Head to Mouille Point, known for its seafood restaurants and trendy shops. Come evening, admire the sunset with one of the cruises which leave from the waterfront, before strolling along the cafe-lined streets for a wide range of international cuisine.
With its superb location between Table Mountain National Park and the long stretches of beach, it’s no surprise that Camps Bay is one of Cape Town’s favourite neighbourhoods to stay in. It has something for everyone, whether you’re into outdoor activities, the arts or food and drink. A typical day here might include taking a morning stroll along the Pipe Track for views of the coastline, soaking up the sun at Camps Bay Beach, indulging in a seafood meal at Blues Restaurant & Bar and shopping at the Camps Bay African Craft Market. The fun continues after sundown when you can enjoy fine dining at The Roundhouse before catching a show at the Theatre on the Bay.
A low-angle view of two cable cars on a zip-line connected to Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
At the foot of the Twelve Apostles mountain range to the south of Camps Bay is Bakoven, an exclusive suburb which is a great choice for couples and those seeking a little peace and quiet away from the crowds. With its enviable position in the hills, a stay here guarantees unparalleled views of the sea and easy access to some of Cape Town’s dreamiest beaches, including the charming Beta Beach. When you’re not busy working on your tan, other water-based activities include snorkelling, boating and fishing. Meanwhile, with Table Mountain just a stone’s throw away and several trails which lead up from Camps Bay, there are plenty of opportunities for land adventures like hiking and mountain biking.
For a local experience, staying in Gardens is your best bet. Located right beneath Lion’s Head and Table Mountain, this leafy suburb is a lovely spot to find refuge at the end of a busy day of sightseeing. Just south of the city centre, it’s quick and easy to travel into town, but Gardens’ local attractions are worth exploring too. Watch local and art films at the Labia Theater, which features arthouse cinema on four screens, eat and drink your way through Kloof Street and burn off the calories with a stroll through the historic Company Gardens, dating back to the 1650s when it was used to grow fresh food for passing ships bound for the East.
The coloured beach huts at Muizenberg beach, Cape Town, South Africa
When it comes to where to stay in Cape Town for surfing and other watersports, Muizenberg is the place to be. Its beach-hut-lined coast, gnarly waves, and laid-back vibe attract surfers from far and wide. Spend your time at Surfer’s Corner, which offers right and left-hand breaks. If you’re a beginner, take a lesson at Gary’s Surf School, one of the oldest in the country. When you’re not riding the waves, spend time relaxing on the long stretch of white sand, browsing the farmers’ markets, visiting independent art galleries and boutiques or hanging out at the many local coffee shops.
A high-end suburb on the slopes of Lion's Head and within close distance to Table Mountain, Bantry Bay is an ideal base for exploring Cape Town. Staying here means you’ll be within easy reach of the city’s cultural attractions like the Cape Town Botanical Gardens, Parliament Buildings, SA National Art Gallery and Planetarium. Meanwhile, oenophiles are just a leisurely drive away from Stellenbosch and other Cape Wine routes. Activities in Bantry Bay itself are more of the relaxing kind – think shopping, eating out (there’s a great selection of restaurants, bars and coffee shops to be found) and unwinding on Saunders Beach, which comes complete with a tidal pool.
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