Besides the killer landscapes, great food, luxury lodges, hip spots, and adventure activities, there’s one aspect of Cape Town we haven’t been talking about – and that is the insanely high prices of accommodation in the city. It can be difficult to find good budget accommodation in Cape Town. While food, drinks, activities, and commodities like petrol may be affordable, where you lay your head down at night is anything but. For those on a more backpacker’s budget in Cape Town, this can be a serious problem.
What do we do when faced with high accommodation costs in cities? We turn towards hostels. We’ve shared our “love” of hostels before and think they are great for many reasons. Too many people believe travel to be an extremely expensive luxury, but for many, it is very attainable and affordable. The strengths lie in knowing where to spend your dough. The two biggest costs in regards to travel are accommodation and transportation. That’s where hostels like Ashanti can be our saving grace on a budget.
An Affordable Place to Stay in Cape Town
For stays longer than a week we usually turn to Airbnb, however not even that proved to be helpful in Cape Town. Not to mention sometimes we want some travel companions instead of feeling lonely all the time, which can usually be found in shared accommodation. So, we took a look at the hostels around Cape Town. There are a lot of brand new hostels in town, but we opt to go for reliability and history when it comes to choosing things. One of the most established hostels in Cape Town is Ashanti, they’ve been providing beds to backpackers for over two decades now.
The hostel offers all levels of accommodation. Starting with camping and moving up to dorms, private rooms, and guesthouse style accommodation. The main property has a pool, billiards table, restaurant, bar, modern bathrooms, lockers for the dorms, and a pretty freaking cool back deck.
The location is also super crucial with regards to accommodation. Many of the hostels in Cape Town are located along Long Street, a busy bar street. Personally, we like to get a good nights sleep while still being centrally located. Ashanti is located in the Gardens neighborhood which provides good walking access to the city with quiet and safe surrounding streets.
Once the basic necessities of good accommodation are met we start looking at other aspects such as design, charm, and services. To us, that’s the difference between just a bed and a great hostel. Ashanti’s main house is built in one of the many historic dutch colonial homes that add to the charm of The Mother City. It’s impossible to find beautiful wood floors, a grand staircase, and 8m tall ceilings in a brand new place.
Most importantly Ashanti has the claim to fame for housing one of the best toilets in the world. That’s right – the best toilet in the world… Anyways, there is an awesome bathroom at Ashanti that has nice big open window facing right out to the iconic Table Mountain. You won’t even need a book or a phone to look at on this bathroom break.
The Ashanti Travel Desk
The best travel advice we get almost always comes from first-hand experiences and being able to have a conversation with someone that knows the logistics. Even as we travel through Namibia much of our planning came from fellow South Africans and Namibians themselves. Most travelers do not have the time to self-organize and plan a trip through a difficult continent like Africa the Ashanti Travel desk is able to offer just that. It’s a travel desk located in the main lobby that can help guests book day tours down to Cape Point or all the way up to Dar Es Salaam on an overland tour. They can also help those not outside guests with their online service to help all foreigners plan their holiday trip.
After two months in Cape Town, we really felt a dent in our wallets. It wasn’t because of the food, beer, or entertainment but instead because of the prices for accommodation in the city. There really is no quicker way to have a bad time in a new city than booking the wrong accommodation; however, you can’t go wrong with Ashanti experience. We loved experiencing the place and consider them one of the best budget accommodation options in the city.
When is the Best Season to Travel South Africa?
High season (November and March)
This is the high season in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best time to visit South Africa. The weather in South Africa really starts to warm up starting in November, some may say it gets unpleasantly hot in some places. December and January are particularly busy because of the holidays. If you can manage it I would generally try to avoid travel during this time.
Shoulder Season (April-May and September-October)
The weather throughout most of South Africa is pleasant during this time. Not too hot and not too cold. April and May are some of the best times to go on safari in South Africa. Crowds are low, and the wildlife still gathers around the watering hole, which makes for easy viewing.
Low Season (June-September)
This is South Africa’s winter season meaning low numbers of tourists and cooler weather. We traveled around South Africa in August and September and still had a fabulous time. The weather was cool, but only really at night did we need a jacket. Winter means the middle of the dry season making game viewing on safari generally quite good. This is also the time when you’ll be able to score deals across the country!
Plan Your Trip to Africa
- Travel Insurance: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage.
- Travel Waterbottle: When we’re uncertain about the water supply we use our Grayl Purifier. It’s come in exceptionally handy around Africa.
- Camera Gear: Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. We love the Sony RX100V for a pocket-size camera and the Fujifilm XT-3 for a professional camera. Check out our favorite cameras for Africa.
- Safari Clothes: Lightweight, beige, and moisture-wicking clothing are great for traveling Africa. See our favorite safari clothing here.
- Safari Hat: A good hat is both stylish and functional.
- Safari Bag: A durable bag is ideal for traveling around Africa.
- Safari Pants: We recommend neutral-colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors.
- Safari Shirt: Shirts like these are lightweight and keep the bugs away!
- Boots: While you don’t need to wear sturdy shoes everyday, at least one pair of safari boots will make your trip nicer!
- Travel Adapter: You’ll need a special travel adapter for traveling Africa. Get one before you get there so you don’t pay a premium on the ground.