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The Ultimate Guide to Budgeting for a Trip to Cape Town (2023)

Have you ever asked yourself how much a trip to South Africa (or Cape Town) would cost? Well, I did that too.


I already heard and experienced that traveling to South East Asia is cheap, and so are countries in South America. However, I had no idea what my spending would look like in South Africa, nor had I heard anything about it. Nobody has told me: "Go to South Africa because it's so cheap!" And if you can concur, this blog post is for you, an ultimate guide to all the costs that will await you.


After spending eight amazing weeks in Cape Town (and a few days at the Krueger National Park) I got the best insight into how much is really needed to have a great time in Cape Town, South Africa.

💡 The South African currency is called Rand and 100 Rand equals approximately 5€ or 5,50$.


Tables of Content


Cost of Accommodations in Cape Town

Depending on the area you’re going to live the budget for accommodation can differ. You can rent a luxurious villa with an ocean view in Camps Bay, a beautiful flat in Sea Point or Green Point, or a nice flat in a quieter and less popular area.


I was surprised by the accommodation costs since I expected it higher than it was. You can easily find a whole apartment (with a fully equipped kitchen and washing machine!) for an affordable price in every area.


For a better overview here's a breakdown of nightly costs for whole apartments in some of the most popular areas to live in. The apartments are always suitable for two people.

Where?

How much per night?

An example:

Camps Bay

starting from 55$

Sea Point or Green Point

starting from 35$

District Six

starting from 35$

Woodstock

around 30$

🤫 Not sure where to stay? Read more about it in my previous blog post "Where to Stay in Cape Town (2023)".

Cost of Living in Cape Town

Living in Cape Town is quite reasonable in comparison with Europe, the USA, or Australia. Especially in terms of having a dish in a restaurant.


For me, going out for dinner was an absolute highlight every day and I was grateful for having the opportunity to afford a well-prepared dish served on the table every night (which is not the case in Switzerland!). Other things, like having a drink in a bar, doing sightseeing tours, or living in general were also fair. However, let me break that down for you in more detail.


Eating Out in a Restaurant

As already mentioned, going out for dinner was surprisingly fun. Before South Africa, I was traveling through South East Asia and was already spoiled by the prices for dine-out in restaurants, because (and everyone knows) it’s so cheap! Paying less than 5$ for a dish in a restaurant is the average price, and you always find something to eat for even less.


Although South Africa is not known for being an affordable country the prices are just slightly more expensive than in South East Asia. Of course, this depends on where you eat and what you order. Nevertheless, you hardly won't spend more for a dish than in some European countries, the US, or Australia.


For a casual dinner in a fancy restaurant, we spend around R400, which is equivalent to 20$. My partner and I had a main dish and an appetizer such as a cool drink (kombucha for me, a beer for him). If we went to a "luxurious" restaurant, where we wanted to spend a romantic dinner with each other, we spent no more than 40$, where we had an appetizer, two main dishes, water, and a bottle of wine.


Have a Drink in a Cocktail Bar

Let's compare South Africa with South East Asia again. In South East Asia having a local beer does not hurt, but having a cocktail does. The day after you probably have a headache and your wallet lost some weight too. Personally, I usually drink beer in Asia because the quality of alcohol in cocktails often is bad (and it gives you terrible headaches) and you pay a lot (for example 9$ for a cocktail in Canggu, Bali) in comparison to other things.


However, this is different in South Africa, because drinking alcohol is in fact quite affordable there. You pay only around 3-4$ for a cocktail and a glass of wine is almost served as a present.


🤪 Fun fact: A friend of mine actually paid less than a dollar for a Martini on the rocks!


Buying Daily Goods in a Grocery

Although, eating out is very affordable buying daily goods for our apartment was not as cheap as expected. We went to the grocery once a week, buying refreshments (yummy kombucha), fresh veggies and fruits, popcorn for our movie nights, and things for breakfast (bread, avocado, eggs, etc.) and I easily ended up with a total cost of 50$ for a normal purchase. Which is a little bit cheaper than what I usually spend in Switzerland.

In comparison to Asia, where you have the great opportunity to reduce your costs in a local market, there are

For a better overview, I created this list with the prices of some daily goods below:

Product

Price

1kg of Apples

1,20$

700g of Toast

0,50$

Water 0,75l

0,60$

Oat Milk 1l

2$

1 Piece Cucumber

0,50$

Strawberries 250g

2,20$

Shampoo

5$

Cost of Transportation

No matter where you live, you will end up waiting for an Uber somehow. The city is big, and there are so many things to do. If you're living in the city center you could walk to some places, or take public buses, but for some other activities, you must get an Uber. I ordered an Uber daily to get from one place to another (I also lived in an area that was not within safe walking distance). So, if you’re wondering how much your daily spending will be for an Uber, you will find another table about the costs for different distances that might help. Remember that Uber prices depend on demand, time, and availability. Therefore, prices can differ.

Route

Average Price

Waterfront to the International Airport

R200 (11$)

Sea Point to Waterfront

R40 - R50 (2-3$)

Woodstock to Observatory

R35 (1,90$)

District Six to Sea Point

R60 (3,30$)

Woodstock to District Six

R40 (2$)

Cost for Activities

Lastly, I want to talk about the fun stuff - doing activities! The good news for your wallet is, that a lot of things to do in Cape Town are for free, such as hiking on top of Lion’s Head, watching sunsets at the beach, or on Signal Hill. For all other activities, I kept the receipt (or just wrote it down on the notes app) and love to share my spending for different activities.

Activity

Price

Botanical Garden

R220 (12$

Renting a Car (one day)

around R400 (22$)

Table Mountain Cable Car (one-way)

R220 (12$)

Entry Fee for Cape Point

R376 (20$)

Wine Tour

R375 (20$)


I bet there are even more things to do in Cape Town, but it should give you a little insight into what prices you can expect for different activities.


👉🏽 Want to know more about the activities mentioned? Do not hesitate and read more about it in my previous blogs posts:


Conclusion

While I was writing this blog post I started to wonder, why nobody is telling the world to go to South Africa, and why South America (which is by the way as "expensive" as South Africa) and South East Asia are popular among budget travelers.


After visiting South Africa, it's become a must-see destination for me. It's a great place for all types of travelers to explore.


I hope you found this post on expected spending helpful. If you enjoyed it, please share, like, or comment.


Thank you for supporting me!

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