Cape Town is arguably one of the most beautiful cities anywhere in the world. Blessed with stunning natural scenery (including the famous Table Mountain), world-class restaurants and accommodation and a host of indoor and outdoor activities, markets and festivals, this city has a lot to offer travellers.
And because it is relatively safe to travel about if you practice sense and safety, Cape Town is also quite friendly for solo female travel.
Here are my best tips for safe and affordable solo female travel in the Mother City:
Cape Town is a labyrinth of sidewalks, main roads and narrow streets... and while many parts of the city are safe and busy enough to walk alone in as a woman, it is best to always be mindful, keep valuables hidden (as much as possible) and rather have handbags and camera bags fixed across your chest or your shoulders with your hands on them, so they are harder to snatch off.
Cross the street if you feel uncomfortable - or call an Uber and spend a bit of money rather than risk being mugged or harrassed by walking when it's ill-advised.
Speak to locals, especially people like hotel/guesthouse staff or tour guides, about which parts of the city are vibey and generally safe for walking.
Some parts of the city are noticeably rundown or home to beggars and shady opportunists... Be extra careful anywhere near these areas and rather avoid travelling on foot there if you can.
Ask for directions or check on your phone before you set out. That way, you don't need to carry a map and show people you are openly lost or confused.
Be practical about where you walk in the city and stick to busy areas and peak travel times.
While Cape Town has many public transport methods, using an in-ride service like Uber, hiring a metered taxi cab or renting your own car are much preferrable and generally safer, cleaner and more pleasant than catching the bus or train here.
Plus, they give you the freedom to go further and see more of the city!
If you do need to make use of public transport, opt for the MyCiti buses, as these are generally still a breath of fresh air in the city.
While Cape Town isn't always the easiest city to meet people, locals are generally helpful, friendly and respectful towards tourists and travellers.
Best of all, there are many times of pub/quiz game nights, hiking and travel tour groups, wine clubs and much more to partake in here.
These will all give you a chance to meet new friends and fellow travellers in a safe, more fun environment and make new acquaintances during your time here.
Even if your mom in England or guesthouse manager are the only people you can notify of your day's plans or intended destination, be sure to tell someone where you are going before you set off.
Especially if you decide to hike or travel far in one day.
Also, try give a rough estimated time for arrival/return. Say something like, "Leaving now, should take me 5 hours there and back. I'll check in with you later this evening when I am home."
That way, if a few hours pass and no one has heard from you, at least someone knows to investigate further or contact you.
Cape Town is a gorgeous city. Make the most of its beauty and try a mix of free and paid for experiences.
Consider a visit to the beach, tour bus around the city, a guided hiking tour or even a fun trip to the Cape Winelands for food and wine.
Be sure to take a smartphone or camera with but remember, it's okay to put them down and enjoy being in the moment too. In fact... I strongly recommend it!
My best advice, especially in Cape Town, is to seek out niche experiences and hidden gems, as often as you do tourist attractions and local landmarks.
Sure, hiking Lion's Head is amazing for a start - but why not also book a guided hiking tour in Jonkershoek, near Stellenbosch?
Or instead of flocking to Camps Bay or Clifton Beach, why not visit beaches like Oudekraal or Llandudno? They are a stone's throw away and are far less touristy and crowded.
The beauty of travelling in Cape Town, especially as a solo female traveller, is there is always a new little coffee shop, lesser known wine estate or more private beach to unearth, without risking your safety or breaking the bank!
Follow the road less travelled, even if that means choosing a small restaurant rather than one of the flashier, world-famous eateries in the Mother City... And while you're at it, please enjoy the journey, ladies!
As a qualified and experienced mountain and nature guide I will assist on the route, and lead you to the lower plateau of the mountain to ensure you get the best experience and knowledge of South Africa’s history, nature, and culture. You will see Cape Town from a different perspective and learn about our unique biome, the Fynbos.