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Looking for the best backpackers in Cape Town? Backpackers have come a long way since I backpacked years ago, where I managed to get bed bugs in Rome and tried not to pay attention to the shower floor in Paris! Nowadays there’s fancy linen, delicious food and all the modern amenities you could ask for – including WiFi.

Backpackers Cape Town

 
Having said that, I am also a lot older now, and whilst I love the vibe of a backpackers, sleeping in a dorm room is not high on my list of overnight accommodation. Most of these are more like a boutique hotel than a backpackers (sometimes, this applies to the prices too – but you can’t beat the atmosphere of a backpackers!) The only difference is that you can leave the bar, go to your own room and enjoy your own shower and there’s no snoring or smelly feet from the bed above…

Here are 16 backpackers that I can definitely recommend in Cape Town – listed in no particular order.

 

1. 33 South Boutique Backpackers, Observatory

33 South Backpackers Observatory
 
Contact: www.33southbackpackers.com
Camping: R100 pppn
Dorms: From R140 pppn
Private Rooms: From R480 per room
Breakfast: Included
Parking: No (on-street)
Wifi: Yes (but slow)
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: The Gypsy Bar sells beer and wine
Other meals available: No
Braai: Fridays, R80pp including meat, salads, pap, chakalaka and dessert (R60 vegetarians)
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R50
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: In-house ATM machine and a bathroom for disabled persons

 
The guys at 33 South make you feel at home from the minute you arrive, with a welcome pack containing brochures, a list of the tours they offer, and the WiFi code. On top of that, they offer free “orientation” tours of Observatory so you can find your way around the neighbourhood. There’s an afro-chic feel to the place with a groovy Africa clock in the reception, a brightly painted bench in the garden, old vinyl records on the walls and hearts on doors. There’s also a chalkboard telling you what’s happening nearby (I found out about a Comedy Night happening the night I was there). In-house entertainment includes movie night on a Thursday and a braai on Friday. They also organise free hikes for guests up Lions Head at full moon. You can make your own pancakes for breakfast (the batter is left next to the stove with instructions) and help yourself to cereals and toast. The outside areas consist of a garden out front and a courtyard with a huge table at the back. It’s also very quiet – the only thing you’ll hear in the morning is the twittering of birds and the quiet hum of suburbia starting the day. I stayed in the rather plush Bo-Kaap Room off the courtyard and enjoyed the luxury of my own bathroom, towels, tea and coffee and a flat-screen TV with selected DSTV channels.

 

2. African Heart Backpackers, Observatory

African Heart Backpackers Observatory
 
Contact: www.backpackersincapetown.co.za
Camping: No
Dorms: From R140 pppn
Private Rooms: From R400 pppn
Breakfast: Included
Parking: No (on-street)
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes (but no Shark Cage Diving as the owner does not support this activity)
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: No
Other meals available: No
Braai: No, but facilities available
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R100
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes

 
Found in a typical Observatory home along Station Road, African Heart Backpackers is so very “Obs”, right down to the mosaics everywhere, wall art and the faint whiff of incense that drifts down the passageway and creeps under your door in the morning! Mostly filled with volunteers, you’ll find it’s quiet in the mornings as everyone is up early and off to work. In the evenings you’ll find the long-term guests relaxing on the well-used and comfortable couches by the fireplace, or chatting in the small garden outside. A basic breakfast of cereals, toast, tea and coffee is laid out on the table in the large kitchen upstairs. There’s also a Nespresso machine and you can buy the pods for R10 each (I got two complimentary pods in my room). Max, the resident feline, always welcomes a tickle under the chin – you’ll find him in the garden in the late afternoon, basking in the last rays of the sun. I stayed in the cosy Mamma Room (hopefully not chosen because of my age!) which had its own quirky touches (like Lucky Star tins, Omo boxes and paper animals on the shelf) and an en-suite bathroom (need to bring your own towel). It feels like a cluttered, well-loved home where you know you can relax and put your feet up on the couch.

 

3. African Soul Surfer, Muizenberg

African Soul Surfer Muizenberg
 
Contact: www.africansoulsurfer.co.za
Camping: No (but rooftop camping is being planned)
Dorms: From R150 pppn
Private Rooms: From R450 per room
Breakfast included: No (but there’s a breakfast menu)
Parking: No (on-street)
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes (but no Shark Cage Diving as the owner does not support this activity)
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Yes (different meal available each night)
Braai: Bring & Braai on Fridays (weather dependent)
Credit Card payments: No (EFT and cash)
Key Deposit: R100
Checkout: 11:00
Do they recycle? In the process.
Other: Host the occasional art gallery night with live music – keep an eye on their Facebook page for these events.

 
African Soul Surfer is right on Surfers’ Corner: you couldn’t get closer to the ocean if you tried! If you fancy falling asleep to the soothing sound of the sea and waking up to the best view of the brightly coloured changing rooms and surfers taking on the morning waves, then I suggest you stay in the False Bay room like I did. At R450 for the room for the night (sleeps three) it’s a complete steal. You’ll have to share a (clean) bathroom, and bring your own towels. There’s also a room with a Rapunzel-style balcony. You’ll find instagram-prints on the walls, skulls on cushions, cool wall art and of course plenty of surfing photographs. Look out for the “board room”, which is very unlike the corporate kind! Grab a drink from the bar and watch the world below from the balcony. Within minutes you’ll feel like a surfer, even if you aren’t one. If you fancy changing that, look out for Mandla who sometimes mans the reception. He’s been surfing for 14 years, is a surfing instructor and surf competition judge, so you couldn’t be in better hands! You can order breakfast (the full-house breakfast is huge) and dinner, or use the airy kitchen with a gas stove to cook your own meals. I was quite impressed with their use of “fingerprint technology” for getting in and out of the front door, which means no worrying about losing keys or trying to remember a gate code. Certainly one of my favourite finds and at that price for a room with that view, I will definitely go back!

 

4. Ashanti Lodge, Gardens

Ashanti Lodge Gardens
 
Contact: www.ashanti.co.za
Camping: R110 pppn (capacity for 5 tents)
Dorms: From R190 pppn
Private Rooms: From R650 per room
Breakfast included: No (from R18)
Parking: No (on-street)
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Yes
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Yes (pizzas from R35, burgers from R50 and various snacks)
Braai: Bring & Braai on Sundays
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R100
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes.

 
This backpackers may be one of the oldest in town, but Ashanti is definitely one of the youngest at heart. The bar area (with a great view of Table Mountain) is the central focus with happy hours, pool competitions, beer pong and various light meals available. Another popular spot is the swimming pool, flanked with pretty arches and dotted with tables, umbrellas and sun loungers. In the morning, the pool table is covered with a cloth and turned into a breakfast buffet table, where you’ll find an incredible spread, including cereals, fruit, fruit juices, toast and bacon and eggs, for a mere R55. If you don’t have the budget for buying meals, the large communal kitchen has everything you need to cook up a meal.

My room was in the front of the property, far removed from the party zone, and I even had blackout curtains. Despite being on a fairly busy road, I didn’t hear much traffic in the morning either. The room was definitely on par with most hotel rooms – I had soap and body cream in dispensers (attached to the wall so no running away with them in your backpack!) as well as towels, tea and coffee, wine glasses and a flat-screen TV with a good selection of DSTV channels.

 

5. Atlantic Point Backpackers, Green Point

Atlantic Point, Green Point
 
Contact: www.atlanticpoint.co.za
Camping: No
Dorms: From R195 pppn
Private Rooms: From R720 per room
Breakfast included: Yes
Parking: Yes, limited availability
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Yes
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: No
Braai: Wednesdays – R80 (worth every cent!)
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: None – key coded
Towel deposit: R50
Checkout: 11:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: Lockers in dorms have charging facilities for your phone.

 
If you book a stay at Atlantic Point Backpackers, make sure it includes a Wednesday night. When I arrived in the late afternoon, the kitchen was abuzz with people preparing for the Wednesday night Famous Braai, which included no less than 42 toasted cheese, tomato and onion braaibroodjies, pasta salads, potato salads, green salads, a pot of chakalaka and a mountain of meat. The final spread (served on the ping-pong table) was beyond impressive! Juma of Juma Tours is the braai-master at this weekly event (it’s worth doing his Woodstock Graffiti Tour if you have a chance). To add to the festivities, during happy hour you can get two beers for R20 at the bar.

Other in-house activities include a 5-hole putt-putt course, a pool table, ping pong and a chill out lounge with a giant TV. There’s also a small plunge pool if you need cooling off on hot days. Breakfast consists of pancakes (including lemon and cinnamon sugar), giant muffins, toast, cereals, fruit juice and tea and coffee. My comfortable private room had an en-suite bathroom, with towels provided and TV with a small bouquet of channels (mostly sport). There’s plenty to keep you entertained here if you don’t feel like going out, but it’s well-situated for all that Green Point has to offer.

 

6. The Backpack, Cape Town

The Backpack, Cape Town
 
Contact: www.backpackers.co.za
Camping: No, but there’s a tent you can stay in
Dorms: From R200 pppn
Private Rooms: From R710 per room
Breakfast included: Yes
Parking: Yes, limited availability
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Yes
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Sandwiches and smoothies
Braai: Tuesdays – Bring and braai, salads provided
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R100
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: Pet-friendly (by arrangement), in-house ATM and a vending machine that also has cigarettes and beers

 
If a backpacker could be a hipster, The Backpack would be it: right down to the craft beers at the bar and the bearded barman/chef serving them! It also happens to be the only pet-friendly backpacker I found, which is a huge plus in my books. Don’t let the outside fool you, this place is huge and filled with interesting little nooks and crannies, so even when it’s full you are likely to find a quiet spot to read, or catch up on your emails. There are mosaiced mirrors and tables, loads of plants (I loved the Hand of Fatima plant holders), things to buy, books to read, couches and poufs to sit on, a pool table and a bar with a great craft beer selection. The rooms are named after famous South Africans (Madiba to Koos Kombuis to Natalie du Toit) and all are bright and cheerful with matching wallpaper and duvet covers and with some creature comforts included – I had my own fridge, sachets of hot chocolate and the biggest bathroom I have ever seen. Breakfast is a snazzy continental buffet affair, including croissants, rolls, cheeses, jams, Nutella, fruit, fruit juice, tea, coffee and real butter (not often found in backpackers!)

If it’s a hot day, spend it by the the swimming pool – towels and sunblock are provided and it has the best view of Table Mountain. The Backpack are also big into social upliftment, which includes many projects and you are encouraged to knit a square which will become a blanket or scarf and donate your key deposit which goes towards a bursary for their staff members to improve their education. Having been around for 25 years, it may be the oldest backpacker (and the first one in South Africa), but it’s been so lovingly refurbished and modernised over the years that you would never know. Simply put, it’s beautiful.

 

7. BIG Backpackers, Green Point

BIG Backpackers, Green Point
 
Contact: bigbackpackers.co.za
Camping: No
Dorms: From R260 pppn
Private Rooms: From R880 per night per room
Breakfast included: Yes (plus eggs that you can cook up yourself)
Parking: On-street and tricky if you come in late at night
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Yes
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Small tuckshop and themed food nights
Braai: Once a week, R120 all in
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R100
Checkout: 11:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: Ivor occasionally takes people into town for a night out and hiking up Lions Head.

 
BIG Backpackers was the only one I visited that encouraged everyone to eat breakfast together at one big table, which is how I always remembered backpackers to be! They go out of their way to make things easier and more comfortable: from SIM cards to MyCity Bus tickets to a small tuckshop where you can buy snacks and the basics that you may have left somewhere on your travels (like toothpaste). There’s an honesty bar with wine and beers and it’s the only backpackers I came across that also supplies milk for tea and coffee. The rooms are beautifully decorated and some of the dorm rooms have their own courtyard/balcony area.The swimming pool has beds instead of loungers (good for naps), the lounge has a section filled with cushions, and you can make your own pizzas in the pizza oven by the swimming pool area. They have braai nights, themed food nights (like Bunny Chow in winter) and Amy’s husband occasionally bakes a delicious loaf of bread. Parking can be tricky, but it’s a funky fun spot where you are likely to meet fellow travellers over your cereal and eggs in the morning.

 

8. Never@Home, Green Point

Never At Home, Green Point
 
Contact: www.neverathomeworld.com
Camping: No
Dorms: From R160 pppn
Private Rooms: From R875 per room
Breakfast included: No – R25 for buffet
Parking: R35 a night or on-street
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Yes
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Yes
Braai: Wednesdays, R60
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R50
Checkout: 11:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: In-house ATM

 
There was something about Never@Home that reminded me of a motel (probably the many rows of orange doors), but definitely not the Bates kind! It’s modern and bright with simply decorated rooms that come with tea- and coffee-making facilities (but not the tea and coffee itself.) They provide towels, liquid soap and a TV with selected DSTV channels. The communal kitchen is huge, with everything you need to cook up a meal (the Kwik-Spar is conveniently right next door to make life really easy).

The most fun part is The Randy Warthog, a bar and restaurant that’s inside the backpackers, but is open to the general public. You can have a swim in the pool and then enjoy a beer or glass of wine on a sun-lounger or at one of the tables (that was once a door). They serve very reasonably priced light meals and on Wednesday evenings you can tuck into a plate of braai fare for R60. Breakfast (R25) is served under a beautiful skylight and consists of a buffet with cereals, yoghurt, fruit, toast, jams, Marmite and they also have real butter! A fun, modern spot that’s well situated for activities in and around Green Point.

 

9. Off The Wall Backpackers, Claremont

Off The Wall, Claremont
 
Contact: www.offthewallbackpackers.com
Camping: No
Dorms: From 175pppn
Private Rooms: From R605 per night per room
Breakfast included: No
Parking: 2 spots available or on-street
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: No (can book tickets)
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: No
Other meals available: No
Braai: Facilities available
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R50
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? No

 
Turning down a small side-street off the busy Claremont Main Road, you’ll find Off The Wall Backpackers: a very bright and cheerful backpackers with the most impressive harlequin floors and an exquisite mural on the wall by the stairs. It’s all shiny and new and whilst it says “backpackers”, it’s more like upmarket motel-style accommodation that would suit people in Cape Town for business. Everything is bright orange, green, purple or blue, right down to the bedroom doors, the towels and the crockery. The rooms are small, but all that one would need if you are just sleeping there. It’s within walking distance to taxis and buses and the nightlife in Claremont Main Road, but if you have a car they do have two parking spots available behind gates. The kitchen is the main hub with tours listed on the wall and there’s a deck with a Weber if you fancy having a braai. It’s clean and modern, but in my mind more of a place to rest your head than a backpackers.

 

10. Once In Cape Town, Cape Town

Once In Cape Town
 
Contact: www.stayatonce.com
Camping: No
Dorms: From R210 pppn
Private Rooms: From R715 per night per room
Breakfast included: Yes
Parking: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Yes
Braai: Once a week
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R140 and R150 for parking remote
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: There’s an in-house ATM and a vending machine with snacks, drinks and cigarettes. You can also leave your books in a Book Hoek so others can enjoy them too.

 
Once in Cape Town is perfectly situated in vibey Kloof Street, right next door to Yours Truly, a trendy coffee spot by day and popular bar by night. In addition, they also have their own beautiful terrace bar that’s open daily from 15:00 to 23:00 with free drinks every Tuesday. There are three floors of accommodation, with the first floor being dorm rooms, the second floor having private rooms and the third floor for long-term stays. My room with an en-suite shower had a superb view of Lions Head. Towels and soap (made by Hope Soap, a local community project) are provided and there is a TV with selected DSTV channels. If you are a light sleeper and like a morning lie-in, then opt for the odd-number rooms as the even-numbered ones face Kloof Street and there’s rush hour traffic.

While Yours Truly provides meals (from gourmet sandwiches to pizza), if you want to prepare your own food, the communal kitchen has everything you need (including free tea and coffee) and the map of Cape Town on the floor is delightful! A light breakfast at Yours Truly is included in the tariff, including a choice of hot and cold beverages, fruit and a croissant with cheese or yohurt with muesli. Once In Cape Town also host a bring-and braai or a potjie on Fridays and can also organise meals for groups. The backpackers is perfectly situated to walk into the city centre and for public transport, but if you have a vehicle there’s free parking available.

To get locals to get to know Cape Town like a tourist, they’ve launched a Staycation package (R650 for two people) which includes  accommodation, an activity in the city and dinner. Currently the Staycation has you watching a movie at The Labia Cinema (the oldest and quaintest movie house in the city), followed by pizza and wine at Mitico (a cosy Italian restaurant next door to Once). This local took up the offer and I loved it. So if you are heading to Once in Cape Town (or you already live here) I suggest you take a Staycation at Once and make sure your stay also includes a Tuesday night!

 

11. Saltycrax, Table View

SaltyCrax, Table View
 
Contact: www.saltycrax.com
Camping: No
Dorms: From R160 pppn
Private Rooms: From R335 per night per room
Breakfast included: No (only first day)
Parking: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: No, but can buy tickets
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Jacuzzi
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Yes
Braai: Twice a week, R50
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R50
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes

 
When you stay at Saltycrax you feel like you’ve arrived at relative’s house, complete with a large garden, a Koi pond and four dogs. My room was a family room (Craig’s Room) and it was huge with an even bigger bathroom (bath and shower). The other rooms are slightly smaller, but just as nice and all of them come with their own bar fridge. Towels, soap and handwash are also supplied. They have a large thatched bar (which is also the reception) where you are likely to spend most of your time with fellow travellers. Tours are listed on a surfboard and a set menu for dinner for the week is also on display: you can expect meals like cottage pie or chicken a la king, for R40. They braai twice a week (R50) and there’s a jacuzzi to add to the fun. I had a TV in my room, but there is a TV and a selection of videos in the communal lounge. The kitchen has all you need to cook your own meals and they provide your first breakfast in case you haven’t managed to get to the shops before you arrive. I loved Whisky, Fred, Mango and Litchi, but if you are not fond of canine company then you should probably skip this one as they are always around (they sleep on the couches at night too).

 

12. Simon’s Town Boutique Backpackers, Simon’s Town

Simons Town Backpackers
 
Contact: www.capepax.co.za
Camping: No
Dorms: No
Private Rooms: From R530 per night per room
Breakfast included: No
Parking: On-street
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: No, but do organise shuttles to airport and Cape Point
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: No
Braai: Facilities available
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R20
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? No
Other: This is the perfect place to book a room for a night during the Navy Festival.

 
There are no dorms at Simon’s Town Boutique Backpackers, so it’s more like a B&B without the breakfast. The rooms are huge and because it’s in a old and historical building (look out for photos from yesteryear), it has lovely wooden floors and staircase. Some of the rooms go out onto the long balcony that catches the morning sun and is a great spot to watch all the uniformed navy personnel going to work in the mornings. There’s also a comfortable futon-style couch on the balcony which is perfect for spotting ships out at sea. The kitchen has everything you need to cook up a meal, but takeaway menus are available and there are plenty of spots within walking distance to grab a bite to eat.

The rooms all have beautiful duvet covers and towels are provided. You can get a drink at their bar (which also has a TV), but as things were fairly quiet, I opted to go out to one of the local pubs. The train schedule is up on the wall (most useful), along with any upcoming events in the area. If you are one of the front rooms during the week, you can expect to hear traffic in the morning. Otherwise a quiet and central place to stay and explore historical Simon’s Town.

 

13. Stoked Backpackers, Muizenberg

Stoked Backpackers, Muizenberg
 
Contact: www.stokedbackpackers.com
Camping: No
Dorms: From R155 pppn
Private Rooms: From R550 per night per room
Breakfast included: No
Parking: On-street
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: No, but tickets available
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: No
Bar: No
Other meals available: Yes
Braai: Yes
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R50
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes

 
The deck (complete with sun loungers) overlooking the ocean is the central focus at Stoked Backpackers and if you’re up early enough in the morning you can enjoy a cuppa while watching silhouetted surfers getting ready to take on the waves. The deck is naturally a great spot for sundowners too, and while they don’t have a bar, the Bluebottle Store is just next door if you need any bevvies to accompany the sunset. The communal kitchen goes out onto the deck it’s a popular place to be – when I was there a group of travellers was preparing a communal dinner which was nice to see. If you don’t fancy cooking, there’s a café at the entrance which provides breakfast and light meals from 07h00 to 20h00 every day. On certain nights you can enjoy a “themed” meal, like pizza, curry or a braai (there’s also a Weber on the deck if you want to have your own). Stoked is next door to Muizenberg station, which is very convenient if you travel there by train, but if you’re a light sleeper you will also hear the trains early in the morning as it is right next to the tracks. The rooms are fairly spacious with lovely linen and towels and soap provided, along with tea and coffee. Some of the dorms have loft-like sleeping areas which looked rather nice! It’s a friendly, vibey place where you can choose to spend your day in the sea, exploring the town or simply relax with a book in the lounge or have a braai with new friends on the deck.

 

14. Sunflower Stop, Green Point

Sunflower Stop, GreenPoint
 
Contact: www.sunflowerstop.co.za
Camping: No
Dorms: From R195 pppn
Private Rooms: From R610 per night per room
Breakfast included: No
Parking: On-street
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: Yes
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: No
Braai: Saturdays – Bring and braai, salads provided
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R100
Checkout: 10:00
Do they recycle? Yes

 
I stayed at Sunflower Stop many years ago and while they still have their thatched bar and brightly painted sunflower-filled wall on the main road in Green Point, they’ve certainly upped their game when it comes to their private rooms which are kitted out with pretty linen, towels and an en-suite bathroom with shower. The bar area is where you’re likely to get involved in a game of beer pong or coinage after a few R10 shots! In the mornings everyone gathers back at the bar to discuss their plans for the day (and pick up their bar tab from the night before.) The swimming pool adjacent to the bar is perfect for summer days. The communal lounge has comfortable well-used couches where you can watch TV and the kitchen has all you need to make a cup of tea and cook a meal. Saturday nights are bring-and-braai nights (free of charge) where you bring your own meat and they supply bread and salads. It’s simple, but cheerful and you are guaranteed to have a fun time.

 

15. Wish U Were Here, Salt River

Wish U Were Here, Salt River
 
Contact: www.wishuwereherecapetown.com
Camping: No
Dorms: From R170 pppn
Private Rooms: From R650 per night per room
Breakfast included: Yes
Parking: Limited, R20 per night
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: No (but coming)
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: No
Braai: Sometimes
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: R50 and R250 for remote for parking
Checkout: 11:00
Do they recycle? Yes

 
To be honest, the last thing I expected to find in Salt River was a backpackers (right on the circle at that) – but what a remarkable find Wish U Were Here is! Where else are you going to find a coffin coffee table (or suggestion box), a dorm room with putt-putt and a hospital-themed bedroom, complete with drip and X-ray lighting? Or perhaps you’d rather sleep in a boat or have a bath under lighting from a lamp-post (in your room)? Sadly I didn’t get to sleep in the boat or have an X-ray light. But my room was just as lovely, being Africa-themed (kudu horns on the wall and skins on the chair) and came with towels, tea and coffee and a balcony with a table and chairs. There’s interesting artworks and chandeliers, hanging plants in the bathrooms and even an outdoor shower. The communal area has a bar with cheap and cheerful drinks and good company (you may bump in to one of the owners, Karl, who has lived in Salt River most of his life and has some interesting tales to tell over a whisky or two). The kitchen is tiny, but adequate. Besides, you can pop downstairs and get a gatsby or roti from Dollars. Breakfast is included, with cereals, fruit, yoghurt and a delicious poached egg on toast with ham. Traffic can be very loud in the morning, depending on which room you’re in, as trucks hurtle down the road and then hit the brakes as they get to the circle (earplugs are going to be provided). Other than the early-morning noise factor, there is quite simply no other backpackers quite like it. Go see for yourself: and look out for Anchovy who was found abandoned in the building and has now taken up feline residence. He’s guaranteed to steal your heart, much like the place.

 

16. 91 Loop Street

91 Loop Street Backpackers
 
Contact: www.91loop.co.za
Camping: No
Dorms: From R180 pppn
Private Rooms: From R900 per room, pods From R240 pppn
Breakfast: Included
Parking: No (on-street)
Wifi: Yes
Baz Bus route: Yes. Also on MyCiti Bus route and have an airport shuttle.
Tours: Yes
Swimming Pool: No (but a jacuzzi is planned)
Bar: Yes
Other meals available: Yes
Braai: Sundays, R100 pp including meat, pap and chakalaka.
Credit Card payments: Yes
Key Deposit: No, but R100 if key is lost.
Checkout: 11:00
Do they recycle? Yes
Other: Free welcome drink

 
This boutique backpackers opened its doors in December 2015 and they have a rather unique sleeping option to offer travellers. Their pods are a first for South Africa and bring a whole new level to dorm accommodation. It’s basically a room within a room, complete with its own light, power socket and lockable storage space. The best part is that your keycard activates the light in your pod so you don’t disturb any of your dorm-mates, or rather pod-mates. Another feature is that all their beds are extra-length 2-metre beds, so tall people are well catered for here.

Their in-house bar, The Honey Badger, serves drinks (including a selection of craft beers) and very reasonably-priced light meals from noon until 23:00. I can recommend the jaffels (from R30) if you are looking for a quick tasty snack. Breakfast (included in the tariff) is also served here, but if you can grab a Deluxe Coffee and a bite to eat at LongMarket (at your own cost) that’s in the building. The Honey Badger is open to the public and it’s a popular spot on First Thursdays. There are also plenty of power points for you to charge your device while checking your email. There are various tours available from the travel desk, along with in-house activities like movie nights, organised pub crawls and a sundowner braai.

Being brand new, 91 Loop still has a few things in the pipeline (like a rec room with tea and coffee-making facilities, a Jacuzzi and a spa room), but it’s in a good central spot, perfect for travellers who want to explore the city on foot. Plus, as The Honey Badger is open to the public, you are likely to meet plenty of locals. I suggest you go on a Wednesday when you can take part in ping-pong-beer-pong and scoff free pizza!

 
 
Note: This is by no means the definitive guide to every backpacker in Cape Town (there are lots!) and we will be adding to the list as time goes on. Any suggestions are always welcome!

 




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