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BBackpacker and hostelling accommodation often has a basic, no frills and no fuss connotation attached to it, but in South Africa the standard of backpacker accommodation can be unexpectedly high.
Backpacker hostels in South Africa are graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and are mostly 3- and 4-star establishments. There are also a number of 5-star backpacker venues, among them some international award-winners.
These lodges often cater to the so-called 'flashpacker', young, hip backpackers that travel the world with their iPads, smart phones and laptops, and enjoy comfortable accommodation where they can stay connected.
The 'flashpacker' hostels are located in destinations around the country, with luxury double and twin en suite rooms; spacious communal entertainment areas with indoor fireplaces, outdoor braai facilities, swimming pools and satellite TV, and WiFi access.
TThey include Nothando Backpackers Lodge in Plettenberg Bay (5-star), Amphitheatre Backpackers in the Drakensberg, 33 South Boutique Backpackers in Cape Town, Tsitsikamma Backpackers in Stormsriver and SaltyCrax Backpackers Surf Lodge in Cape Town (all 4-star).
The five-star Backpack and Africa Travel Centre in Cape Town is a multi-award winning backpackers' lodge. It has been awarded the Best Hostel in Africa in Hostelworld.com's Hoscar Awards, and has also been named second best hostel in Africa.
Some backpacking holidays in South Africa are unique in that visitors are able to participate in community outreach projects supported by the hostels. This provides voluntourism opportunities for backpackers who are then able to interact with local people and in some instances, wildlife. Some hostels are geared towards specific adventure activities such as surfing, where visitors can enjoy surfing lessons and surf safaris.
Many backpacker lodges are also eco-friendly.
One less thing to worry about when backpacking in South Africa is hostel transfers. The Baz Bus – a convenient hop-on-hop-off, door-to-door bus service designed specifically for backpackers – connects more than 200 backpacker and hostel accommodation venues in 40 different towns across the country.
This, combined with the friendly advice always on offer from hostel staff, gives independent travellers the freedom to safely explore South Africa as and when they want.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tourism Grading Council of South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 895-3000
Nothando Backpackers Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)44 533-0220
Tel: +27 (0)82 855 9767
33 South Boutique Backpackers
Tel: +27 (0)21 447-2423
Tel: +27 (0)42 281-1868
Saltycrax Backpackers and adventures
Tel: +27 (0)21 556 9369
The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre
Tel: +27 (0)21 423-4530
- 33 South Backpackers
- Tsitsikamma Backpackers
- Saltycrax Backpackers and Adventures
- The Backpack and Africa Travel Centre
- Cape Town Tourism