Tips for Foreigners Wanting to Backpack in Cape Town

Although Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it has gathered some pretty negative rep in the news in the past. However, all is not doom and gloom here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite and can prove to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

As with all trips to unknown locations, it’s always best to pack in some research, coupled with a few handy do’s and don’ts to carry with you. So, here are some insider backpacker tips so you don’t have to tip-toe your way through Cape Town.

Cape Town backpacking tips

Hit the road, Jack.

Travelling around Cape Town city is a relatively painless activity. However, if you’re planning a trip along the coast you might find it best to go with an organised tour bus company, like Baz Bus. You can also easily hire a car or look into sharing petrol with RideShareAfrica for organised carpooling to make some new friends. You’ll find Uber here too, but if you’re really looking to get more ‘bang for your buck,’ opt for shared transport when you can. The local taxis can be a little more dodge, so stick to well-known services.

Coast to Coast.

This company provides printed backpacker ‘bibles’ with the holy grail of information for all your backpacking agendas. Grab a copy to take with you to enjoy in those quiet moments, or to save you from some frantic future ones. This book contains everything from accommodation to travel tips, a scripture sent down from the backpacking gods themselves!

Anything but basic backpackers.

You can find plenty of backpackers scattered all over South Africa. They are really affordable and South Africans will usually go out of their way to make your stay something to cherish.

Also, don’t be surprised when you find other South Africans staying there with you. In fact, backpackers here usually come with so much character that you’ll often find ‘Cape Townians’ visiting them, purely for their unique charm. Popular backpacker hubs in the heart of the city include Observatory, Long Street and Kloof Street.

Safe to say “I told you so.”

Chances are you know at least one person who has told you that it isn’t safe to travel in South Africa. Save yourself from the “I told you so,” and take the same precautions just as you would when visiting any other country, and you will have the dandiest of trips to write back home to.

Read up on areas less safe to travel in, and make sure not to be too flashy with your valuables. If you have to take valuables along with you, just don’t leave them unattended unless they are safely stored away. But most of all, make sure to enjoy this unique country without allowing fear to choke your travels.

Pack light, leave with a full heart.

From hiking up Table Mountain to diving down kelp forests with some seals, Cape Town is a gem of a city which offers an adventure at each and every corner, ready to steal your heart. So, be prepared to be on the go by packing light in summer months and in winter, add only the necessities, paired with a warm jacket. You can also find clothing at really affordable prices at shops like Mr. Price and PEP if you do find yourself in need.

Hello, goeie dag, mholweni, bonjour!

Confused? Impressed? Intrigued? South Africa is home to 11 official languages. Yes, you read right! But fear not young Jedi, you will get along just fine granted you can speak a little English.

Almost every South Africa speaks more than one language, English being one of the most common. Even if you couldn’t speak a single word, South Africans are such a friendly breed than you will be more than fine either way. Safe and happy travels, and may the force be with you!

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