Posted: 3/10/2023 | March 10th, 2023
Known for its beautiful backdrops and stunning beaches, Cape Town has been a popular backpacker hub for years. It’s also fast becoming a favorite for digital nomads too, thanks to the city’s vibrant nightlife and rich, diverse culture.
Once a super-cheap destination, as Cape Town’s popularity has increased, so too has the cost of living.
Thankfully, it is still very affordable, and there are plenty of budget-friendly hostels for backpackers and nomads.
Below you’ll find my list of the best hostels in Cape Town to help you have fun, meet other travelers, and have a good sleep while you spend time in what is honestly one of the greatest cities in the world.
But first, here are four things you need to remember before picking a hostel in Cape Town:
- Location – Cape Town isn’t super spread out, and it’s quick and easy to get around to most of the main areas, but to guide your decision, you may want to consider things like safety and which attractions you’d prefer to be closest to. Pick a hostel that is near the sites you want to see and/or the nightlife you want to experience, so you won’t waste time (and money) in transit.
- Price – Most of the hostels in Cape Town are fairly inexpensive, but there are some that are cheaper than others. If you’re willing and able to pay a bit more, you can get accommodation with perks like AC. However, the cheaper options still provide lots of value.
- Amenities – All hostels offer free Wi-Fi and a few include free breakfast, but if you want more than that, do your research to find one that best meets your needs.
- Staff – All the hostels listed here have amazing staff! They are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t stay at one of the places listed below, look up reviews to ensure you end up somewhere where the staff is helpful and friendly. They can make or break a hostel!
Below is my list of the best hostels in Cape Town. If you don’t want to read the longer list, however, the following are the best in each category:
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: Long Street Backpackers
Best Hostel for Partying: Long Street Backpackers
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: Never at Home Green Point
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads: Villa Viva
Best Hostel for History Lovers: Long Street Backpackers
Best Hostel for Couples: Ashanti Lodge
Best Overall Hostel: Villa Viva
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my breakdown of the best hostels in Cape Town and why I love them:
Price legend (per night)
- $ = Under 250 ZAR
- $$ = 250-300 ZAR
- $$$ = Over 300 EUR
1. Villa Viva
Located in the Tamboerskloof area, just a stone’s throw from the trendy Kloof Street and its many popular bars and restaurants, Villa Viva has nearly everything you could want in a hostel. It’s got a lively atmosphere and a hostel bar that hosts parties and often live music on the weekends.
In addition, there are various other social perks, like weekly paint-and-sip nights, braais (South African barbecues), and a hostel WhatsApp group. There are many places to hang out and lots of seating areas for working online, as well as a lovely outdoor area with a nice pool, a hammock, colorful loungers, and a vegetable garden.
Even on a night with a live DJ, the rooms are still quiet, impeccably clean, and comfortable. Each bunk bed is very spacious, with thick curtains, outlets, and a lamp. The bathrooms were really nice as well, with modern furnishings and a clean, pressurized rain shower.
Villa Viva at a glance:
- Clean, comfortable rooms and bathrooms
- Great outdoor area with a pool and garden
- Lively bar with weekend activities
Beds from 340 ZAR, private rooms from 935 ZAR.
2. Ashanti Lodge Gardens
Located in the leafy suburb of Gardens, Ashanti Lodge is not as well-known as some of the other hostels, as it’s tucked away in a quiet area, but it’s still just a 10-minute walk to Kloof Street. The hostel has many amenities, including a large swimming pool with plenty of sun loungers and a nice kitchen. It also has a café that opens for breakfast and reopens as a bar at 5pm every night.
Although there were no lamps or outlets beside the dorm beds, there were plenty of plugs and USB ports in the room, and, if you’re lucky enough to get a bottom bunk, privacy curtains as well. The modern bathrooms have really nice high-pressured showers too.
Like Villa Viva, this place has more of an upscale vibe and is a place to go if you want quiet. While not a busy place, the smaller size makes it pretty easy to meet people.
Ashanti Lodge Gardens at a glance:
- Large outdoor pool area
- Modern bathrooms and showers
- Café/bar with pool table
Beds from 322 ZAR, private rooms from 776 ZAR.
3. Never at Home Green Point
Never at Home Green Point is a popular hostel located in the energetic Green Point neighborhood, close to the V&A Waterfront and beaches in Sea Point. This is one of the few hostels with air-conditioned rooms, so if you’re here during the peak summer heat, that’s a huge plus.
AC aside, the rooms are very basic, with outlets, a shelf, and creaky metal bunks. The rooms and bathrooms could bea bit cleaner, but overall, they are decent enough if you’re looking for a cheap place to meet other travelers.
Because, what this hostel lacks in luxury, however, it more than makes up for in social atmosphere. It is very big, with 48 rooms, so at first, it can be intimidating to try to meet people, but that quickly changes. The extremely friendly staff really go above and beyond to make sure you are having a good time, and with daily activities and events like trivia, braais, and hikes, it is very easy to meet people.
In addition, there is an active hostel WhatsApp group, bike rentals, a nice outdoor deck area with a pool, a large kitchen, and a few indoor workspaces if you work online.
The hostel bar/restaurant, the Randy Warthog, is open to the public and hosts regular beer pong and pool tournaments. There is also a daily happy hour from 6pm to 7pm, as well as during load-shedding — the not-so-fun part of South Africa when the power goes off for several hours at different times of the day.
If you want to party, this is the hostel to stay at!
Never at Home Green Point at a glance:
- Fun bar and pool for hanging out
- Daily events and activities
- Great place for meeting people
Beds from 295 ZAR, private rooms from 1,150 ZAR.
4. Atlantic Point
Atlantic Point is one of the most long-standing backpacker hostels in town. Also located in Green Point, very close to the V&A Waterfront, it has a homey, welcoming atmosphere.
The bunks are wooden, the beds are comfortable, and there are outlets nearby (but not for every single bunk). The beds do, however, all have shelves and lamps, and the rooms and bathroom are extremely clean. The en suite bathroom in the dorms have a separate toilet area, as well as two sinks and showers.
The staff is very friendly and welcoming, and there is a small hostel bar with a daily happy hour. There is also a relaxed, grassy outdoor area with a pool and a few lounge chairs to chill out on, as well as an upstairs workstation. There is also free breakfast.
Atlantic Point at a glance:
- Clean, comfortable rooms and bathrooms
- Community atmosphere
- Chill grassy outdoor area with a pool
Beds from 265 ZAR, private rooms from 925 ZAR.
5. Long Street Backpackers
Long Street Backpackers is situated in the heart of Cape Town’s vibrant Long Street, known for its lively nightlife and cultural attractions. Just a 10-minute walk from the starting point of the historical walking tours and many other historical attractions, this is the place to be if you want to be at the center of all the action.
The outdoor garden area is a quiet oasis away from the booming hostel bar, which has nightly events like karaoke, beer pong, and open mics. It is quite noisy at night since a) it’s right on a bustling street full of divey bars and restaurants, and b) this is another party hostel. So, if you’re looking for a quiet night’s sleep, this might not be the place for you.
This place is also very cheap, making it perfect for a budget traveler who wants to be right in the city center. However, the area is not the safest, so you should take precautions and be more aware of common scams.
(Also, one of the biggest perks is that because the hostel is on the same power grid as the parliament building it never loses power.)
Long Street Backpackers at a glance:
- Lively parties and nightlife
- Central location with no load-shedding
- Inexpensive, no-frills rooms
Beds from 221 ZAR, private rooms from 1,190 ZAR.
Cape Town is a large city with a lot to offer, so picking the right hostel based on what you want to see and do is important. Fortunately, there are a ton of amazing options here, ensuring that you’ll have a fun and affordable visit to this postcard-perfect destination.
Book Your Trip to Cape Town: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip 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:
- Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on South Africa?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to South Africa for even more planning tips!