When recently traveling to South Africa by myself, I often got asked: is Cape Town Safe For Solo Female Travelers?
Traveling to Cape Town, South Africa had been on my bucket list for years. I love exploring other countries, new cultures and scenery. And of course I wanted to go on a Safari!
But when it comes to traveling to foreign countries on my own, I always have to make sure… is this safe for me to do?
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Solo Female Travel In Cape Town
If you are a solo female traveler heading to Cape Town soon, I got you covered! First of all, congratulations on booking a trip of a lifetime! Ive been to many places and Cape Town, South Africa is at the top as the most memorable.
And typically I am not someone who travels on my own a lot. But no one wanted to join me on this epic adventure and so I finally said screw it.. Im going anywhere.
I spent several days in Cape Town on my own before meeting up with a group trip to explore the Garden Rout in South Africa.
I’ll briefly touch on my experience with going on a group trip, but if you are wondering – is Cape Town Safe For Solo Female Travelers, I’ll give you an honest review as well as some tips on how to enjoy your trip but stay safe as well.
English is a Common Language In Cape Town
One of the main reasons I do believe Cape Town is generally safe for solo female travelers is because English is their main language. Literally every single person I met in Cape Town spoke English.
Some accents can be pretty heavy and may be hard to understand, but I was able to communicate with everyone from waiters to Uber drivers, and even police officers.
The bad news is that most of the homeless around Cape Town also speak very good English and often beg for money and food. But we will touch on this in a bit.
Cape Town is Generally Cash Free
No matter where you travel, if you are a solo female traveler you should never carry a large amount of cash on you. The same is true for Cape Town.
Fortunately, Cape Town is pretty much a cashless city. So even though I only had a small amount of Rand on me, I hardly used any of it.
All the tour companies will have you prepay for your excursions. And any touristy areas like visiting Robben Island or taking the Hop On/ Hop off bus will also have you pay for your tickets online using a credit card.
But even when I went to an ice cream stand and bought an ice cream for $2… I had to pay via Credit Card, they didn’t take cash.
You will need cash to use for tips to give your tour guides. And it’s ideal to at least carry some change or small bills on you for bathrooms. Cape Town charges for bathroom uses! Even most grocery stores and gas stations will charge you a small fee to use their bathroom.
How To Be Safe Traveling in Cape Town As a Solo Female Traveler
If you are ready to explore Cape Town as a solo female traveler, here are some tips to do it as safely as possible!
Like any other major city, Cape Town can be very safe in some places and not so safe in other places. It’s all about being aware of your surroundings and making some good decisions when you’re out and about.
Take Uber in Cape Town For Transportation as a Solo Female Traveler
While visiting Cape Town on my own, I used Uber constantly. Like several times a day. I wasn’t about to drive a car on the opposite side of the road and parking in Cape Town is next to impossible. Uber is the preferred way to get around the city.
Uber felt safe every single time I used it. At one point, the street was blocked off to my final destination and my Uber driver couldn’t get me all the way there. He said I needed to walk about 2 blocks but it wasn’t the safest area. So he got out of his car and walked me the 2 blocks to my destination! How amazing is that!
Fair warning – I never used a Taxi when visiting Cape Town, but I was told (reading online and by actual citizens of Cape Town) not to ever use a taxi. They swindle people and are very untrustworthy. So stick to Uber and you’ll be fine!
Use a Cross Body Bag For Your Belongings
I used this crossbody bag for my solo trip to Cape Town and it was one of the best decisions I made. It fit snuggly to the front of my body which made it very hard for anyone to grab my stuff or try to pick-pocket me.
It’s also super spacious and fits all my items. In this one bag, I could carry my wallet, cell phone, portable charger, sunglasses, chapstick, and even my Fujifilm mirrorless camera.
Belt Bags (aka fanny packs) are a great idea too. There are several slim ones like this anti-theft fanny pack that can fit under your clothes to keep items safe and secure.
Stick to Daylight in Certain Areas
Like in any other big city, it’s always safest to stick to daylight hours when walking around on your own, especially as a female.
If you do want to go out at night, avoid smaller areas like side streets or back alleys. Stick to more populated areas where you see other tourists or crowds of people.
Don’t Carry Passports or all Your Credit Cards
One of my rules when I travel on my own is to never carry anything you can’t afford to lose. So I try to bring minimal cash, and will typically just throw my ID card and one credit card in my crossbody bag.
I leave my bulk of cash, passport, and other credit cards in the safe at my hotel. That way if I do get mugged, I only lose one credit card and can easily cancel it and still have others to use.
Know the Different Parts of the Cape Town
Always do your research before heading to any major city as a solo female traveler. Cape Town, like most big cities, has really nice areas and some not to nice areas.
The best places to visit in Cape Town would be along Camps Bay and by the V&A Waterfront.
Camps Bay is located on the eastern side of Cape Town between Table Mountain and the ocean. This area is known for its white sandy beaches, fine dining, and boutique shops. Because it’s such a touristy area, there are often crowds and several police officers patrolling the area.
Keep in mind though, the beach area is public and free to access and you can find some homeless in this area. Don’t ever leave your items unattended if you plan on swimming!
The V&A Waterfront is another heavy tourist area and is pretty safe to visit at all hours. There are several nicer restaurants here and this was the only place I felt perfectly safe walking around at night.
Not-so-great areas of Cape Town – While BoKaap is a fun and famous area to visit, it is also a little unsafe. I would NEVER visit this area at night, solo or not. Even during the day, it is considered a poor area and there are a LOT of homeless in the area.
If you are hoping to visit BoKaap, go during the day and try to tag along with other tourists or at least stick close to other people. And be aware of your surroundings and keep her items hidden.
Beware the Homeless in Cape Town
Unfortunately, there are a lot of homeless people in Cape Town. And they flock to tourists.
When riding the hop on/hop off bus, we were specifically told NOT to give the homeless any food or money. There are plenty of places they can go to seek food and shelter. And that by giving them money, makes them pester the tourists even more.
When visiting the BoKaap area, I met another solo female traveler and we decided to walk the area together. In the one hour that we walked from the bus stop to BoKaap, we were hassled by several different homeless people.
One man even followed us for several blocks even after we said no several times. Some of them will even ask you for bread, saying they are really hungry and that they will go to a shop with you to buy them some bread. This is a scam, please do not so this!
We also got approached by a young child (who looked to be about 7 years old) who also followed us for several blocks asking for money or bread. It was heartbreaking to see.
Even in the safer areas, you will still see homeless. It’s best not to engage with them at all. Even having a conversation with them will entice them to follow you. Try not to make eye contact, and simply say “no” and keep walking.
Traveling Along The Garden Route
If you are visiting Cape Town, chances are you are also planning on traveling down the Garden Route, which I highly recommend!
The Garden Route follows the southern coast of South Africa and is home to some of the most beautiful coastal towns. This area is extremely safe for solo female travelers and you will find hardly any homeless in these tiny towns.
They are also big tourist areas and are heavily visited by people from other countries as well.
Are You Ready For Solo Female Travel in Cape Town?
If you think traveling to Cape Town as a solo female traveler sounds unsafe and you don’t want to go it alone… consider a group trip!
When going to South Africa, I didn’t have anyone who wanted to go with me. So I found a group trip through Trova Trip that offers women-only group trips to tons of places around the world.
I flew out to South Africa and met up with 20 girls I didn’t know to travel the Garden Route and go on an African Safari. It was an amazing trip and I would do it again! I even made several new traveler friends because of it.
Is Cape Town Safe For Solo Female Travelers
In a short answer, yes, it is. Cape Town is like most other major cities. It is a highly trafficked tourist destination and generally is very safe.
There are several areas you can walk around on your own and even some places that are safe to visit at night.
Like any other place, be aware of simple things. Keep your items minimal and secure. Don’t go to areas you aren’t familiar with. And just be super aware of your surroundings.
And last tip… follow the advice of professionals. Ask your hotel concierge or front desk. Talk to police officers, or even listen to your Uber driver. I got to much good advice from my Uber drivers! From safe areas to visit, to unique places to go.
Follow all these tips and you can easily have an enjoyable, safe time visiting Cape Town on your own!
You Might Also Be Interested In:
- How To Get Around Cape Town Without a Care
- What To Wear In Cape Town: South Africa Packing List
- Memorable Things To Do Alone In Cape Town As a Solo Female Traveler