Cape Town is for sure one of the most fascinating cities in the world.
There are not many cities which can provide such a high natural standard of living and scenery. From most places you will have a view onto the mountain range and probably even on world famous Table Mountain itself. And it won't take you long and you will be able to be at the beach, and the city offers a few very nice ones. With a bit of luck, or chosen wisely, you might even be able to have ocean view from the accommodation you have booked.
When staying in Cape Town there are several spots you might want to choose from:
The City Center
For me, at least so far, there are really just the two possibilities. Staying close to the central area of the city or somewhere close to the beach or with a great view over the ocean.
In the city center I've stayed in the Backpack Hostel, which is very centrally located, right next to Bo Kaap on the New Church Street. The New Church Street is very easy to find as it's the direct and shortest connection from the city to Camps Bay and it's also the same road getting you to the Table Mountain cable car station.
The Backpack hostel won the award of being the second best hostel of Africa. I haven't been to lots of hostels in Africa, but from the ones I know, it's definitely one of the best, especially as a city hostel. It's not one of those huge bunkers with hundreds of beds. No, it's small, cozy and with a familiar atmosphere.
It is a small oasis and an island with a relaxed and cozy atmosphere in the center of Cape Town. It provides you luxury on a budget level, as there is a pool with a view onto Table Mountain, yummy breakfast with good coffee, free WiFi, many cozy corners to sit and relax, dorm and private rooms, lockers, computers, washing machines, luggage storage, free parking, pool biliard, etc... and very friendly staff!
The interior is colorful, tasteful and whoever has done the decoration, had an eye for the details. The rooms are as well decorated with charm and each room is different to the other. I've stayed in the Tutu room, which had photos and stories from a popular priest (Desmond Tutu) who has done many different good things for the country. The different stories and information about him were kept in a small book, which layed out in the room. It as well provided the background info of the hostel itself.
There is a very clean and good organized community kitchen with several baskets for each guest and labels for your food. That way you can as well save some extra bucks by cooking your own dinner or having your own breakfast. But the breakfast provided by the hostel is good as well, if you should be too lazy. ;-)
This hostel is not just a place to stay. The owners really take care of their guests, but also run several community projects. With each money you spend in the hostel, you support those projects and the good thing is, that you can directly see with how much you support it. Each price tag got two prices. One for the price you pay and then there is the amount, which goes to the community project. There is a tiny shop with local handicraft products. So take a look and maybe you find a nice souvenir.
If you really shouldn't know what to do in Cape Town, there are several chalk boards with a good info and inspiration. For more detailed info, the staff will be happy to help you as well.
The only thing I missed was the beach close by. For that you would have to take the bus, taxi or drive there with your rental car. By the way, to rent a car for your stay in Cape Town is really to recommend! I've chosen carrentals.co.uk to find a cheap deal. This gives you the option to explore the whole region, as there is so much to see also outside of the city. The Backpack hostel is as well part of the Hostelling International group.
For staying closer at the beach, you might be interested to stay in an apartment! Last year we stayed in a stunning apartment, provided by Nox Rentals, overlooking Camps Bay! The apartment had 8 bed and bathrooms positioned on three levels and from each bed you had ocean view! With a bit of luck you woke up and could spot a whale!
To sit on the terrace and to see the sun set in the Atlantic Ocean in brilliant orange colors while enjoying a cold beer is for sure also something which you will remember for a long time!
And if you want to top that, why don't you have a braai (South African bbq) at the pool while overlooking Camps Bay! :)
Camps Bay is one of my favorite city beaches in the world! With its rocks and white sand, it's very hard to beat, which makes it one of the most expensive places of Cape Town. The apartment is spacey and modern decorated. It lacks a bit of personal touch, for my liking. Still, it's a place out of this world! The size, location and amenities and this view onto the ocean from your bed comes with a price. But it might be affordable, especially if you come with 10 – 18 people and share the costs! ;-)