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The best backpacker option
South Africa has a long tradition of budget travel; its hostels and budget options are among the best in the world. Some, though, are overrun with heterosexual gap-year travelers, and it's best to seek local advice. Zebra Crossing is perhaps Cape Town's quietest, most secluded option. Residential Tamboerskloof neighborhood is only a few blocks (uphill, though!) from Company's Gardens and the City Bowl. Double room about $16 a night with shared bath; hot breakfast is another $5. Doubles with private bath $19. Through a listing on the notice board, I arranged morning coffee and a tour with a landscape architect at the nearby Mount Nelson for R35 (about $6) -- an even more amazing experience than that hotel's famous, recession-busting afternoon teas. A spacious front terrace offers Table Mountain views, as do many upper rooms. Travel desk on site can arrange shark cage diving, township tours, etc., even carbon offsets for your marathon flight from the States. Bar, barbecue, washing machines; secure parking.