If you’re looking to visit the Mother City, but are feeling a little under confident about which areas are the safest or best to visit, hopefully we can help! Being Capetonian, we have a good understanding of where the most safe and practical locations are for a holiday in Cape Town.
South Africa is a developing world country and opportunistic crime is high. Always be vigilant, mindful and go with your gut if you’re feeling unsafe. With that, here are a maps of Cape Town, breaking down our recommended places to stay:
Map of Cape Town
Cape Town is obviously a lot bigger than just the CBD aka the “City Bowl”. This can make choosing a suburb a bit tricky. The main tourist areas are along the Atlantic Seaboard and Southern Suburbs, we as well as two popular wine farm districts – Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
Stellenbosch is large with about 5 wine tasting routes. Franschhoek is smaller and is generally more upmarket (this is because Stellenbosch is a student town so is more dynamic).
Tip: We prefer the more intimate setting of Franschhoek even though Stellenbosch has some incredible locations.
Where To Stay in Cape Town
Our general rule of thumb is the closer the suburb is to a mountain, the higher the safety. Naturally, there are exceptions but this is generally the case. When searching for Cape Town on Google maps, you can zoom in and see how the Table Mountain range affects the layout of the city. Anything surrounding the mountain tends to safe as well as convenient as it’s close to shorter highways.
Tip: We recommend the Atlantic Seaboard for the best mix of holiday and city functionality.
Best Areas to Stay in Cape Town
The Atlantic Seaboard is an excellent option for short or long stays, while the Southern Suburbs has traditionally been a good choice for sport lovers.
Taking a quick look at the Atlantic Seaboard, as it’s locally known, properties along the sea spanning from Green Point Park to Bantry Bay and Camps Bay are great holiday locations. Here’s a quick overview of each suburb from east to west:
- V&A Waterfront: The heart of Cape Town’s tourist district with many hotels, bars and restaurants.
- Waterkant: Upmarket suburb, center of LGBTQ nightlife.
- Green Point: Home to a large, family friendly park, delicious deli’s and restaurants.
- Three Anchor Bay: Small interleading area with popular (but not very clean) bay.
- Sea Point: The “golden mile” due its exceptional, wind free area and long seaside promenade.
- Fresnay: Home to our president, upmarket area with large homes, right under Lion’s Head.
- Bantry Bay: Narrow suburb with exclusive sea views; further from shops and restaurants.
- Clifton: Some of Cape Town’s most famous beaches & sunset views; less access to amenities.
- Camps Bay: Famous Cape Town beach with sea front restaurants, bars and large family homes.
All of these suburbs offer a variety of accommodation. The closer to the sea, generally the safer. Along the main road there is a mix of residential apartments, homes and hotels, however, we recommend avoiding any “holiday apartment” locations (unless Booked via Airbnb or a formal hotel website) where the properties are verified.
Tip: We recommend Sea Point for its exceptional weather, excellent eateries, easy access to beach and shops.
The City Bowl is a mix of historically significant communities mixed with upmarket mountain side neighbourhoods. The higher up the mountain, the less access to public transport, however, ubers are readily available. As per our Cape Town safety tips post, we don’t recommend walking anywhere at night unless it’s along a busy road. Here’s a quick overview of the key neighbourhoods from east to west:
- Bokaap: Predominantly Islamic neighbourhood with deep historical roots. Visitors welcome if respectful of conservative community and practices. Easy access to city.
- Tamboerskloof: Mountainside suburbs with mostly large family homes. Easy access to city.
- Higgovale: Exclusive hillside neighbourhood with a few high end accommodation offerings.
- Oranjezicht: Leafy, mountainside suburb with beautiful views across the city.
- Gardens: Large, centrally located area with easy access to public transport, restaurants and shops.
- Vredehoek: Much loved suburb by locals, but has a high rate of car vandalism.
Tip: We suggest upper Tamboerskloof for easy access to the city, restaurants and clubs. Uber recommended to move around regardless of suburb.
Properties between the M3 highway and the mountain are most safe. Those between the M3 and M5 will be more affordable (and often larger), however, they are also further out so we wouldn’t recommend those areas for shorter stays. Quick suburban overview from north to south:
- Rondebosch: Busy student neighbourhood due to proximity to UCT, larger family homes further out.
- Newlands: Leafy suburb and home to many top schools in Cape Town; expect small, local restaurants and bars. Easy access to international cricket ground.
- Upper Claremont: large family homes with small, upmarket hotels and accommodation.
- Lower Claremont: busy, local neighbourhood with shopping malls and schools.
- Bishop’s Court: Previous home to Nelson Mandela, exclusive neighbourhood with large family homes and access to the world famous Kirstenbosch Gardens. No restaurants/shops/bars.
- Upper Kenilworth & Wynberg: Quiet neighbourhood with many b&b options. Quiet after dark.
- Lower Kenilworth & Wynberg : Busy, suburban area, much like lower Claremont. Quiet after dark.
- Constantia: Mix of wine estates and large family homes with 5 star hotels nestled in between.
- Tokai: Much further out, but access to wine estates and (warmer water) beaches, such a Muizenberg.
Special mention also needs to be made of Kalk Bay. MUCH further south, it’s a great option for visitors on their second or third trip to Cape Town, who are looking to do a little less or potentially have more of a “sea side” holiday. It’s a charming seaside suburb with many restaurants, bars, theatres and access to the warmer waters of Cape Town. Not as glamorous as the Atlantic Seaboard, but very practical for those looking to stay put during their holiday stay.
Tip: We suggest Newlands, however, not in the rainy season as it has the same precipitation as England!
A Note on Sports
With Newlands Stadium (historical home of rugby) and Newlands cricket grounds playing host to many international series, Rondebosch/Newlands and Claremont have traditionally been good choices for sporting fans to visit.
However, the home of rugby has since moved to Cape Town stadium (near the V&A Waterfront), which may impact where to stay if you are visiting for rugby tournaments.