Cape Town Hostels – The Best & Worst Ones

spellbound travels cape town hostels

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town and want to stay within your budget, you should book hostels for your accommodation. After staying at least 50+ hostels over the past few years of travel and exploring most of the Cape Town hostels, you could say I’m somewhat of an expert now.

I’m here to share what makes a good hostel, tips for booking hostels and what to avoid at all costs! If you’re completely new to hostels, make sure you read my beginner’s guide to hostels here. Now let’s get into it!

Tips for Booking Cape Town Hostels

  • Book ahead of time – If you’re coming to Cape Town during peak season (December-March), you’ll want to book your hostel ahead of time. You might not get a room if you rock up the day of so I always recommend booking at least 3 nights to start somewhere.
  • Location is everything – Luckily, most hostels are located in good areas but each location is very different. If you want to party, the hostels on Long St will be your best bet. If you want to be closer to the beaches/water and a bit out of the CBD, Greenpoint is great and if you want a bit of that party atmosphere but a little more chilled, Kloof St is perfect.

The Best Hostels in Cape Town

Never @ Home – Kloof St (Formally called ONCE)

This was the second hostel I stayed at in Cape Town. It was originally called ONCE but they changed ownership and renovated the entire hostel a few months after I arrived. Here’s why I think it’s the best hostel in Cape Town:

⚡️ Location – You can’t go wrong being based from Kloof St.

⚡️ Staff – The staff working at this hostel are a dream. They’re super friendly and if you stay there long enough (like I did), you’re bound to become friends with them. Kamva was a bundle of joy from the moment we met and made my experience in Cape Town great!

⚡️ Rooms – Unlike most hostel dorm rooms that have 10,12,14 + people in them, each dorm only have 4 people. All rooms have a great view as well. The side facing Table Mountain is my fave but I also enjoyed waking up to a view of Lion’s Head!

⚡️Common areas – There’s a big room next to reception with a huge table for those who are working remotely from Cape Town to use. There are also bean bag chairs if you just want somewhere to hangout. The wifi is reliable throughout the hostel and you can also hangout outside at the restaurant Yours Truly or in the back garden by the kitchen.

⚡️ Kitchen – If you like making your own healthy meals from the hostel, you won’t be disappointed with the kitchen. It has everything you need and plenty of space to store your food for the week. There’s also a freezer if you buy any frozen goods.

⚡️ Price – When I first stayed at this hostel it was $10/night! Of course, it was during the shoulder season (November) before summer so it was cheaper than regular rates. Their prices have increased since they switched ownership but it’s still a great budget option!

The only downside to this hostel is the lack of aircon. In the summer it gets really hot and the overhead fans aren’t the best at keeping the rooms cool. Regardless, I easily spent at least 2 months at this hostel and even came back to visit and work from there when I found a shared house to live. I couldn’t recommend this hostel more!

Villa Viva

I also had a great experience staying at Villa Viva! It’s different than most hostels I’ve been to for a few reasons. It’s actually more of a guesthouse with many options for private rooms and only one womens and one mens dorm room. Here’s why I liked Villa Viva:

⚡️ Location – Villa Viva is just a few minute walk from Kloof St so it’s also in a great location. With that being said, it’s also next to the neighbourhood called Bo-Kaap which isn’t the safest place. If you’re staying at this hostel make sure you aren’t walking around the nearby streets at night. You can find all of my Cape Town safety tips here!

⚡️ Their mission – I actually spent a few weeks staying at this hostel because I did a work exchange with them. I provided them with social media strategy to share the projects they were working on. The hostel is owned by an organization called Viva Con Agua. Their mission is to provide clean drinking water to those who need it most. They operate various water projects around Africa and other parts of the world. A portion of what you pay to stay at Villa Viva goes directly to supporting these projects.

⚡️ Pool – This is key, especially if you’re coming to Cape Town in the summer. It get’s insanely hot from December – March so it’s awesome to have a pool to jump into if you don’t feel like going to the beach.

⚡️ Homey feel – Since this isn’t like any regular hostel, you definitely feel more at home. There are a few different buildings that make up Villa Viva. You’ll find lots of seating throughout the property (inside and outside), a garden in the back, a banana tree you can get fresh bananas from and more.

⚡️ Workspaces – If you need to get any work done – this is a great spot. Villa Viva has hi-speed internet and many people work remotely there. There’s a nice outdoor common area, as well as a table and seating near reception to work.

I can’t say anything bad about Villa Viva. The main difference between this hostel and Never @ Home on Kloof is the price point. Villa Viva is always more expensive but you can find decent rates for the dorm room. Since there aren’t many dorms, they book up quickly so if you want to stay here book it in advance!

Never @ Home – Greenpoint

This was the first hostel I stayed at in Cape Town and I spent at least 2-3 weeks here in total. It’s located in the neighbourhood called Greenpoint. Greenpoint is nice and there are SO many different coffee shops, restaurants, etc nearby. It’s also walking distance to the V&A waterfront and Oranjezicht market. Although Greenpoint is a good location, it’s not as central at the ones around Kloof St so that’s where it started to lose points for me.

Regardless, it’s still a good option and here’s why:

⚡️ Big kitchen – Of all the hostels I stayed in – this one had the best kitchen. There were many stovetops and fridges to store your food. It was always kept clean and there was a nice big table to eat meals.

⚡️ Workspaces – Many people also work remotely from this hostel and there are many great spots to sit and work. They also have a section that doubles as a standing desk, which is great if you’re spending the whole day on the computer and want to stretch your legs.

⚡️ Aircon in rooms – This was one of the few hostels I encountered in Cape Town that had air conditioning. This was definitely a plus during the 40+ degree days.

Atlantic Point Backpackers

Unlike the previous hostels I’ve listed, I haven’t actually stayed at Atlantic Point. With that being said, I heard from a few people that have stayed there that they had a good experience. Atlantic Point is located in Greenpoint as well so if you’re looking for another hostel in that area, that might be a good one to check out!

The Worst Hostels in Cape Town

If you stay at hostels often, you’ll know that not all of them are great. The same goes for the hostels in Cape Town. I’d definitely avoid these hostels if I were planning a trip to Cape Town:

91 Loop

This hostel was my least favourite. The location was alright but Loop St isn’t the best area to be in. The main reason I didn’t like this hostel very much is because it felt more like a cheap hotel. There wasn’t a good atmosphere, there was no kitchen to make food and it was attached to a loud (not very popular) restaurant.

The rooms were okay but a little strange. I was there in November when the variant of the pandemic was going around so it might have just been a weird time. Regardless, there were only two other people in my 10 person dorm room. The staff at the hostel weren’t the best, aside from an older man who made me tea when I was feeling a little run down.

Long St Backpackers

I didn’t stay at Long St Backpackers but got the chance to tour it when I went to meet up with a friend. It’s attached to a busy bar on Long St which can be fun for a night or two but would likely get old very quickly. Long St is definitely a dodgy area and I never felt safe walking there, even in the day time.

The kitchen of the hostel was very small, the rooms didn’t look very clean and I didn’t have a great experience with the staff there. There are much better options for budget accommodation in Cape Town!

Ashanti Lodge Gardens

Again, I never stayed at Ashanti Lodge Gardens but a friend I met at another hostel was staying there for about a week. The location is okay – it’s near the Never @ Home on Kloof but a little hidden. From what my friend had told me, the rooms weren’t very nice and the people who were staying there were all quite strange.

While I’ve never stayed there myself, I wouldn’t stay there unless there were no other options.

Final Thoughts

The hostels in Cape Town are decent. It’s not like the hostels you’ll find in South East Asia or other more popular destinations. With that being said, they are quite affordable and there are a few that are great if you’re looking for a cheap place to work remotely from!

I’ll be back shortly with another blog but in the meantime you can follow my full time travels around the world on Instagram. I also share daily travel tips and inspo on TikTok so be sure to follow me there if you aren’t already.

Cheers,

Amy XX

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