If you’re going to party, the easiest way to get around is via Baz Bus. Just hop-on and hop-off without having to worry about getting lost. As a solo traveller, the Baz Bus is a great way to make friends en route, so you’re pretty sure of your party entourage at the next stop.
For more of a structured itinerary, go with Hotspots2C who offer a range of packaged tours around Cape Town, Winelands and the Garden Route, but they also offer private tours. Their tours are great value with fun and informative guides.
Most travellers just go to Stellenbosch – aka Stellies – for a day trip to experience its epic wines. I say stay. Besides the delicious wines, the town is the second oldest in South Africa and has a wealth of heritage and charming Cape Dutch buildings. More importantly, Stellies is a student town so there’s a lot of partying to be done. That means cheap drinks specials all week long!
You can’t go wrong staying at iKhaya Backpackers in the heart of the town. It has a friendly and authentic local atmosphere and they can arrange tours to suit your budget. Don’t miss the Amazink Township Theatre or a bike tour of the winelands.
Cape Town is party central! Head to the famous Long Street strip for a pub-crawl of note. There are a host of options to get that Long Street vibe from beer halls and pool halls to Irish pubs, trendy bars and lounges. There’s something for everyone and lots of great options for a pre- or post- party feast.
For a little more of a hipster vibe, head to Woodstock to the Old Biscuit Mill where the artisanal Neighbourgoods market is held every Saturday. You’ll sample delicious local fare, craft drinks and music too. Of course a visit to Cape Town isn’t complete without a party in the townships. Mzolis in Gugulethu is where the real vibe is at. Ask anyone.
There are plenty of hostels on Long street, though I prefer to stay little bit away from the craziness. That’s why I like staying in the Green Point area, it’s well-located, has a good range of bars and great restaurants but is more chilled than Long Street at night. It’s also walking distance to the V&A Waterfront and the Seapoint promenade, the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Atlantic.
I like to stay at Atlantic Point Backpackers. This newly renovated, grand 3 story mansion was created with the modern budget traveller in mind. It’s stylish and fun, yet practical. Their dorms are spacious and their double rooms make you feel like you’re in a hotel. The bar is cheap – great for getting warmed up before a big night out. They also have free breakfast to cure your hangover!
Another great hostel is Never@Home. This hip spot has the air of a boutique hotel, with contemporary décor and a fun atmosphere. What sets this hostel apart is the happening Randy Waterhog Bar and Grill, the perfect spot to lounge with a mojito by the watering hole (the pool) or smash one of their infamous burgers.
Durban has been called the Miami beach of Africa. With the warm Indian ocean, miles of golden beaches, and amazing weather, Durban’s beach front is the place to get your chill on. Cycle the newly revamped promenade or grab a surf or SUP, then grab a beer at one of the beach-front restaurant.
This is surf city, and surfers to like to get their party on, albeit in a more chilled way. The main party strip is Florida road, with its stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants. Just off the main party drag, is Tekweni Backpackers. From their slogan ‘ Tekweni goes off’, it’s obvious that this is the place to feel the Durban vibe. Chill by their lovely pool or hit up their lively sports bar before a night out. If there’s rugby on and the local Sharks team are playing you’re guaranteed a dose of local culture.
Set in the heart of the Garden Route, Knsyna is the place to experience the vibe of the spectacular region. It’s a charming little town, flanked by indigenous forests and a stunning coastal lagoon that is best explored by a sundowner cruise.
I like to stay at Island Vibe Knysna hostel – centrally located and walking distance from the waterfront and the town’s hotspots. It’s a cheerful spot, with bright murals on the walls and a cool bar. Their wooden deck is ideal for relaxing with a chilled beer and taking in the views of the magnificent Knysna heads.
The Eastern Cape is my favourite part of SA and where you really meet South Africa. Forget the big cities, the Eastern Cape’s coast is where the real gems are hidden in an expanse of rolling hills dotted with rural villages, empty beaches stretching for miles and the odd town thrown in for good measure.
They don’t call it the Wild Coast for nothing. As you enter Port St Johns on a windy road, the humidity of its sub-tropical climate takes over. You can almost taste the beauty of its indigenous forests. Once you get into town it feels like Africa – bustling but chilled, almost as if it’s stuck in a time warp.
Amapondo Backpackers is my hostel of choice here. I’ve been staying there for years. There’s little better than lying on a hammock sipping a Zamalek* overlooking the river mouth. Stay at one of their sweet chalets for views that will have you mesmerized. Days are spent hiking, fishing or exploring the beaches while at night the chilled Pondo vibe kicks in.
Your next stop should definitely be Coffee Bay, a little village with a lot of party. The only place to stay is Coffee Shack – a hostel with one of the best vibes ever, amazing staff and a pretty location perched on the river mouth. As soon as you check in you’re welcomed with a free beer – fun times! Spend the days lazying on the beach, hiking to the epic Hole in The Wall, cliff-jumping or learning to surf at their surf school – they offer the cheapest surf lessons in SA! At night, unwind round the fire or at their infamous Babalaza bar. Yummy cocktails like the Wild Wendy will bring out the wild in you.
And then there’s SA’s surf mecca, Jeffrey’s Bay, the home of big waves, ripped surfer dudes and huge surf-brand outlet stores. Stay at Island Vibe J- Bay – doesn’t the name say it all? This is the ultimate surf hostel, situated right on the beach overlooking one of the best breaks. Depending on when you go, their bar can be chilled, but its mostly pumping due to their energetic staff who keep the shots flowing. Their food is awesome (try the pizza) and great value too!
South Africa is a diverse country with a youthful spirit, and we sure do love a good jol – that’s South African slang for party – and now you know where to find it!