You’ve decided to go on a solo trip to Cape Town – That’s fantastic!
Let’s be honest, traveling solo can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. However, despite your initial hesitation, traveling solo in Cape Town can be one of the most liberating, rewarding, and freeing experiences of your entire life.
The beautiful, vibrant, and exciting city of Cape Town is an unbelievable city to travel to and explore. It’s even more incredible when traveling solo, believe it or not. In fact, Cape Town has fast become one of the most alluring and sought-after destinations for solo travellers. Offering an endless array of incredible and wildly exciting things to do, see, and experience on your solo travel adventure, it certainly isn’t hard to understand why.
Besides having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, embarking on a solo travel adventure in Cape Town gives you the liberty and opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and experience things you never would have otherwise if you were traveling in a group. Not to mention the added bonus of planning YOUR perfect trip instead of following strict itineraries and going along with what other travellers want to do.
This is YOUR trip, and YOUR trip alone – Let your imagination run wild, think of all the places you’ve always dreamed of visiting, and make it happen! Trust us, it’s unbelievably rewarding in so many ways!
Here are 5 Pieces of Advice for Solo Travelers in Cape Town, plus a few extra bonus solo travel tips.
1. Meet new solo travel buddies
NOW is your time to shine! Your time to break free from your meticulously crafted solo travel bubble, push, or rather catapult, yourself right out of your comfort zone, and open yourself up to exciting new possibilities, people, and experiences as you engage, mingle, and meet amazing solo travellers from all across the world, avid adventurers, globe trotters, wanderlust wonderers, travel buddies, and everyone in between – What an epic adventure!
One of the many great things about Cape Town is that it attracts tons of solo travellers, from backpackers to digital nomads and expats (to mention merely a few), who, just like you, are beyond eager and excited to explore, discover, and experience every single inch of the glorious Mother City. Better yet, these cool globe-trotting solo travellers are ALWAYS keen to buddy up for thrilling adventures, incredible once-in-a-lifetime activities, bucket-list worthy experiences, fun escapades, immersive local traditions and customs, and anything that involves exploring and discovering absolutely everything Cape Town has to offer – especially off-the-beaten-tourist-path hidden gems and secret spots.
Plus, lets be honest, everything is better and far more enjoyable with a fellow solo travelling friend, acquaintance, and new travel buddy by your side when travelling to a new destination.
Meeting new like-minded people and avid travel loving friends is without a doubt one of the best – if not THE best – pieces of advice for solo travel. Trust us, this is one golden tip and piece of wisdom and advice you absolutely won’t regret following!
The best ways to meet fellow solo travellers and globe trotters travelling to and through Cape Town is to stay in community-based accommodation options. These include backpackers, hostels, or a homestay – AKA Stay with Cape Town locals.
Staying at a homestay can help you learn much more about the city, culture, and things to do from a local perspective. It’s often also much cheaper than staying at a hostel.
Hostels and Backpackers are especially popular among solo travellers and are great places to meet and socialise with fellow travellers. There are plenty of amazing hostels and backpackers located all around the city of Cape Town. You can choose to stay at one (or even a few of them if you’re keen on hopping around) of them, or just pop in at the bar for a few drinks. It’s typically a young travel loving crowd, and you’re always sure to find friendly folks who are up for an adventure, a party, or just hanging out and swapping stories.
Alternatively you can also connect with other solo travellers on various Facebook or WhatsApp Groups specifically created for this sole purpose.
Another great idea is to attend any, all, or as many of Cape Town’s social gatherings and get togethers – trust us, there are PLENTY of them to choose from – such as one of the Mother City’s lively markets (such as the Old Biscuit Mill Neighbourhoods Market, Oranjezicht Market, Bay Harbour Market and MANY more), outdoor classes, hiking or cycling groups, join a walking tour or any group tour, and community meet-ups to mention just a few. Ultimately giving you the opportunity to mingle, meet, interact, and strike up a conversation with a fellow solo travel buddy!
What are you waiting for? Go, go GO!
2. Use Uber & other ride-sharing apps to get around
Ubers are incredibly cheap in Cape Town, with Uber prices in Cape Town being way more affordable and much lower compared to many other world-class tourism destinations across the globe. They are also readily available and an exceptionally reliable ridesharing app that will get you and your new solo travelling buddies to and from your desired destination / destinations safely and securely (as Uber is a super secure app with fully vetted drivers, operating on a secure platform, complete with On Trip Reporting and Share My Trip features). It is by far the easiest and most convenient way to travel in and around Cape Town regardless of where you’re going.
**Tip: In addition to Uber, Bolt is also a great ridesharing option. Using either Uber or Bolt to get around will allow you to avoid taking untrustworthy taxis or crowded busses that may pose various potential risks. Its ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry!
**Bonus Tip: Both Uber and Bolt drivers are great local travel guides too. They know Cape Town and all of its ins and outs and must visit spots like the back of their hand – so don’t be shy, chat to your driver, and you may just find yourself in some of the most magnificent destinations in Cape Town you never even knew existed – what an epic adventure!
3. Interact with the Cape Town locals & join them on their local adventures
This is the golden key, the mothership, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to successful solo travelling. Meeting, interacting, and getting in with the Cape Town locals not only means you’ll have an epic and truly unforgettable Cape Town trip, it is also the very BEST way to learn all about the ins and outs of the Mother City, as well as gain tons of valuable insider information, insight, tips, tricks, and so much more you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Interacting and talking to Cape Town locals, whether it be in a social setting, or a barista, bartender, waiter / waitress at a local café, bar, restaurant (or pretty much anywhere for that matter) about what they get up to in the city during their free time or where the coolest local spots are is one of the top things to do if you’re keen to REALLY explore the city and what it has to offer. It is also the best way to find / discover local hidden gems and secret spots that definitely aren’t in any tourist brochures. Off-the-beaten-tourist-track is the ultimate way to solo travel anyway right?! Especially in Cape Town!
Don’t be shy, jump right in, the locals will be more than happy to take you under their wing!
4. Always be vigilant & mind your belongings
Two simple and non-negotiable rules and pieces of advice for your solo travel trip to Cape Town is to always, and I repeat ALWAYS, be extremely vigilant of your surroundings at all times of the day and night as well as to mind your belongings, keeping it safe and secure wherever you go. Never leave any belongings unattended or flash your phone, camera, electronics, or any valuables around while you’re out and about. If you don’t need any specific belongings on your day or night out exploring Cape Town, best you leave them behind at your hotel, hostel, or backpackers. By venturing out with minimal belongings and cash, you will automatically lower your risk of losing them.
Another important and non-negotiable rule for visiting Cape Town is to NEVER walk alone at night. Not even for a couple of blocks. Just don’t do it. Crime rates increase at night, and it’s best to play it safe and book that Uber.
In addition, NEVER wander off into quiet, dark, and deserted places. If you are going to explore an area / destination in the evening / at night, be sure to let the staff at the hotel / backpackers you are staying at know where you are headed. This way there will always be someone who knows where you are. Another great tip is to check out the profile of the place you are visiting on Google beforehand.
Hold on, we’re not done yet! Absolutely every single non-negotiable rule and piece of advice that applies to night-time safety in Cape Town, applies to the day time too.
Cape Town is made up of beautiful and diverse neighbourhoods, each of which has their own unique appeal; however, it is essential that caution is exercised when wandering and exploring on your own as certain areas are best to be avoided. Areas in Cape Town that are considered to be safer are the affluent Camps Bay and Bantry Bay neighbourhoods, as well as the Atlantic Seaboard suburbs of Sea Point and Green Point, especially along the Promenade or V&A Waterfront. Solo travellers must exercise more caution and be extra vigilant in neighbourhoods like Woodstock, Bo Kaap, and the CBD. It is also best to avoid the Cape Flats and township areas while alone.
**Bonus: Trust your gut!
This applies to everyone, everywhere, and every destination you travel to! When it comes down to it, always trust your gut and intuition. More often than not, your gut instinct and intuition will kick into high alert when you find yourself in a situation that could be potentially dangerous and unsafe.
Most people who have experienced some form of crime in Cape Town will say that they were not only being reckless but admit that they were pushing the limits as well as not being aware / vigilant of their surroundings.
Moral of the story is: ALWAYS listen to your gut and know that if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so adapt and pivot to the best of your ability. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Don’t be THAT person!
5. Plan well (make Google Maps your friend) & budget appropriately
You know what they say, planning is everything! It’s important that you always have a clear idea of where you are going (especially if you’re travelling solo) even if it means you have to spend an extra 30 minutes browsing a map / searching and studying the location / destination on Google Maps and planning your route properly before you leave. Cape Town is a BIG city, and getting lost is incredibly easy – in fact, its almost inevitable. So best you be prepared!
Taking the extra time to thoughtfully plan your route / trip and having a clear idea of where you are going will not only save you a great deal of angst, stress, time, and frustration, but will make you feel significantly more confident, calm, and sure of yourself when you head out.
Another key factor to consider when embarking on your solo travel adventure to Cape Town (or any travel destination for that matter) is your BUDGET! While no one loves to budget, budgeting appropriately will ensure you have an amazing stress-free solo trip.
Unfortunately, travelling solo means that you can’t cash in on group discounts. This is why it is essential to budget well and to look out for enticing deals, specials, two-for-one offers – which there are certainly a great deal of in Cape Town, you just need to know where to go – that’s the secret.
BONUS: Start / Keep a Travel Journal
Travelling to a city as beautiful, vibrant, exciting, culturally diverse, all-encompassing, and down-right exhilarating as Cape Town – it has been declared one of the best and most beautiful destination / cities in the world after all – means you’re not going to want to forget a single adventure or experience during your time here. Starting a Travel Journal is the ultimate way to remember all your bucket-list worthy experiences and so much more!
Let’s be honest, even if you have a great memory, there will undoubtedly be several / some interesting, funny, and epic once-in-a-lifetime memories and moments that you’ll eventually forget. However, if you have a travel journal you’ll be able to relive all the good times, incredible moments, and tons of memories you made along the way for years and decades to come. Plus, the fact that countless travellers / solo travellers and explorers through the ages have kept a travel journal is just another reason you should ABSOLUTELY do it too!
A travel journal by no means has to be pages and pages of your daily adventures and experiences, even a few sentences / points of interest every 1 – 2 days is all you really need to capture the most important and memorable things.
If you’re not one for a notebook and pen situation, there are plenty of electronic alternatives you can make use of. Even an Instagram account / your personal Instagram or an online travel diary is a great idea to keep track of all your unforgettable Cape Town solo travel escapades and adventures. Not to mention all your amazing photos and in-the-moment-solo-travel snapshots you can include – What more could you ask for?!
Make sure to start your travel journal on your next solo trip – ESCPECIALLY if it’s a trip to Cape Town – Trust us, there is no way you’ll forget it!
At the end of the day, Cape Town is loaded with adventure for the taking & it can be ALL yours!
Extra Pieces of Advice for Solo Travelers in Cape Town:
- Have tons of fun & embrace every second of your solo adventure
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone
- Always hike in a group
- Try local food – This is a non-negotiable!
- Go on the famous Cape Town Red Bus
- Go wine tasting – An absolute must when in Cape Town
- Don’t let fear hold you back – AKA GO OUT AND EXPLORE!
- Treat yourself at least once