Cape Town is truly one of my favorite cities in the world. And that’s saying a lot from someone who’s lived out a backpack traveling the world for over a decade of my life.
While Cape Town has something to offer for all travelers, the biggest drawback for most people is South Africa’s crime rate. Robberies, petty theft, and violent crimes happen often in South Africa. But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t visit Cape Town.
Cape Town is certainly one of the safer areas of South Africa as a whole. And you’re likely not to see or experience anything crime related during your stay…don’t worry! The best way to ensure you have a great trip to Cape Town is to book your stay in areas that are known to be safe within the city.
This post will share a round up of the safest areas of Cape Town to stay in, as well as a list of areas you’ll want to avoid during your time there.
The Safest Areas To Stay In Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is the perfect place to start or end your next trip to Africa. I loved landing here to gear up for a safari in Botswana, and then coming back after the safari to clean up and enjoy the creature comforts of the city.
Whether you’re a hiker, surfer, foodie, or animal lover- Cape Town has something to offer you. I’m sure of it.
There’s no shortage of places to stay in Cape Town. Each area offers its own unique charm and energy that shouldn’t be missed. The best part about all these areas is that they’re easily within driving distance of each other.
Even better- Uber and rental cars are very reasonably priced in Cape Town, making it easy to get around and see as much as possible.
The main thing to remember whenever you’re traveling anywhere in the world is to stay aware of your surroundings. Like any major city, yes, there’s crime here. But most of the time it can be avoided by not walking at night (especially alone, and especially as a woman), locking your doors, and being mindful of your surroundings.
Camps Bay is one of the most popular places to stay in Cape Town, due to the gorgeous beaches and mountain views. In the summer it gets really crowded with people and hawkers, which doesn’t make it quite as pleasant (in my opinion, at least). But I did love staying here during the off seasons like Spring and Fall.
Campe Bay has loads of restaurants and shops around, and also provides a close drive to hiking Table Top Mountain, or going into the CBD. I’d recommend staying in an Airbnb, rather than a hotel as you can get a much better price for a spacious place with stunning views .
Other areas within Camps Bay that are nice to stay are Fresnaye and Clifton.
Bakovan Beach is one of the wealthiest areas of Cape Town. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Camps Bay with a bit more privacy and seclusion. I loved staying over here, rather than in the business of Camps Bay, because it was a breezy 15 minute walk to all that Camps Bay has to offer.
Similar to Camps Bay, Bakovan Beach is close to hiking Table Top Mountain, and also a quick jump into the CBD for all of those amazing restaurants you won’t want to miss.
Sea Point is perfect if you want a really central location in that you’re only 10 – 15 minutes away from just about everything. The CBD is right there, Camps Bay is just down the road, and hiking is basically in your back door.
It will be a bit more of a drive to reach wine country or surfing in Muizenberg, but if you’re not planning on doing those things daily, then it shouldn’t matter too much. One of my favorite restaurants was in Seapoint, too. It’s called Scheckter’s Raw, and you need to try the gluten free cookies. Like, now.
Green Point is Sea Point’s neighbor, which means it offers the same perks of a central location. While I can’t speak from experience about the nightlife scene, many people are raving about the clubs in Green Point.
You can imagine that it’s a pretty lively place, great to visit for a lunch date, or a night out on the town. If you’re someone looking for a little more action in your city experience, then Green Point would be a great option for you.
De Waterkant is Green Point’s neighbor, so you have another place with prime location for everything from beaches, to hiking, to city life. This is a very quaint area of Cape Town, with great cafes and shops to explore.
From wine bars to chocolate tasting, you won’t get bored of what De Waterkant has to offer. But even if you do, you’re super close to the rest of the city’s treasures.
V&A Waterfront is also Green Point’s neighbor, making it centrally located, as well. While this is a waterfront area, it’s less about the beaches and more about the boats. The views are still stunning, but if you’re looking for beach vibes- then you’re better off in Camps Bay area.
The V&A Waterfront is a place for tourists to gather due to its plethora of shops, restaurants, and social opportunities. It’s a busy area with a lot going on, so best to stay here if you want that real city pulse.
The CBD of Cape Town is the most central area you can stay in the city. The CBD itself it home to endless wonderful restaurants (you can check out my top picks for food here, and also a great jumping off point for trails in and around Table Top Mountain.
If you’re a beach lover, then staying in the CBD isn’t the best choice for you, as it’s not on the water. However, some of the most beautiful beaches (like Camps Bay and Bakovan) are only 15 minutes away.
If you’re planning on surfing in Cape Town, the best place to stay is in Muizenberg. To be fair, I didn’t surf while I was there, and still loved our stay in this little surf town. Probably because of its laid back vibe, and stunning views.
This area is closer to Boulder’s Beach, as well as wine country (like Constantia and Steenberg). But it’s farther from the CBD, Table Top Mountain, and Camps Bay.
Kalk Bay is neighboring Muizenberg, and provides a bit more of a refined approach to Muizenberg’s surfer style. In addition, Kalk Bay itself is beautiful, and the town is quite charming. Most of the restaurants are in Muizenberg, but the good news is it’s only a 15 minute walk from Kalk Bay.
Constantia is a truly stunning part of Cape Town, and definitely some place worth staying if you’re into wine tourism. Now, as a sober person I still loved this area because of its natural beauty, hiking, and the Vegan Food Market of course.
This is certainly a pricier place to stay, so if it’s out of your budget then just plan a little lunch date or wine tasting afternoon here, instead.
Steenberg is very close to Constantia, and we personally loved staying in the Steenberg Hotel for many reasons. There were hikes right out our front door, beautiful views, vineyards, and the spa was incredible.
Even if you don’t stay at the Steenberg Hotel, anywhere in this region is perfect for nature lovers, as the trails are truly endless. Plus, you’re only 15 minutes to Muizenberg if you’re missing those beach vibes.
Unsafe Areas Of Cape Town To Avoid
- Cape Flats
- Bishop Lavis
While there’s a lot to explore in this stunning city, there are a few areas that should generally be avoided at all costs. The reason to avoid these areas is that they’re the highest in crime, and we want to make sure you have the safest trip possible.
Unfortunately the most unsafe areas of Cape Town are often townships, which have a heartbreaking history with apartheid. I highly recommend going to the District 6 Museum to learn more about zoning within the city.
Have the best time on your Cape Town adventure!