Also known as the “Mother City”, Cape Town’s diversity in nature, culture, attractions and various things to see and do, makes it the ideal destination for anyone easily overwhelmed by large groups or boisterous crowds. Whether you want to check out from all human interaction, or find easy ways to interact with new people, Cape Town will have you covered.
Quality Hostels, BnBs and Lodges
Although hostels and backpackers can be the stuff of nightmares, particularly for the traveller who simply wants to escape the social niceties and live anonymously, they can also offer a perfect balance for the solo tourist. Cape Town has backpackers catering to a range of needs, from hedonistic party establishments with sweaty dorms, to quiet single rooms in comfortingly social environments.
Easy Transport Offerings
Cape Town’s transport options have improved dramatically in recent years. This means you can be less reliant on having to clip on to a large tour group, and far more independent and self-sufficient. The city’s main mode of official public transport is the MyCiti bus network. It can get you from the airport to the City Bowl, and surrounds, safely, cheaply, and with relative ease.
For sightseeing purposes, the hop-on, hop-off CitySightseeing buses offer a superb way to see some of the city’s major attractions over 24 or 72 hours. They also offer an audio guide while on board, perfect for shutting out the company around you.
For everything else, there’s Uber or Taxify, and unless you’re travelling vast distances, they’re surprisingly cost convenient and cost effective. Of course, if you want to dip back into the social side of travel, dozens of tour companies welcome solo travellers.
Great Hiking Trails
There are few activities more rejuvenating than a long, tranquil hike or run. Fortunately, Cape Town has dozens of these. Table Mountain is the introvert’s wonderland, with hundreds of routes that will make you feel small among nature. Though hiking alone on the mountain isn’t always recommended, particularly along tricky or isolated routes, there are some that you can safely get away with. Lion’s Head is busy route that still delivers moments of solitude, particularly during a weekday sunrise hike. Kloof Corner, which leaves from Tafelberg Road opposite, is the perfect sunset spot with enough fellow hikers to feel safe. The top of Table Mountain, which you can reach by cable car, is safe and it’s surprisingly easy to find a quiet spot a short walk from the shops and station.
Serene Wine Country
Most people venture into Cape Town’s wine country with friends, family, or as part of a tour. Though organised tours can be an introvert’s worst nightmare, they may offer some respite from a few days exploring the city in solitude. But there’s also no reason why you can’t explore wine farms on your own steam — they are serene and beautiful places to visit, and most offer wine tastings that you can do alone or with friends.
Accessible Food Markets
Dining alone isn’t always an easy thing to do, particularly for the more self-conscious travellers among us. But who wants to travel all the way to a new city to eat take outs in a hotel room? Cape Town’s various food markets offer the perfect balance. Busy and vibrant enough to provide some company without any need to interact or feel like a solo outcast, and diverse enough to offer a range of local and international flavours at reasonably competitive prices.
Weekly markets to check out include the Old Biscuit Mill (open on Saturdays), City Bowl Market (open on Thursday afternoons and evenings), and Oranjezicht City Farm Market (open on Saturday mornings). There are also daily food markets at the V&A Waterfront and at Mojo Market in Sea Point.