Here is some highly recommended backpacker accommodation worth staying at while exploring South Africa.
By: Francesca Lynagh
Backpacker hostels have come a long way from being a cheap option for those travelling on a budget. Most now offer clean, modern spaces with Wi-Fi, private rooms, decent meals, quality linen and more.
Muizenberg, Western Cape
Being right on Surfers Corner, you couldn’t get closer to the sea if you tried, and within minutes you will feel like a surfer, even if you aren’t one.
However, if you aren’t already a surfer, their surfing lessons could change that. Their private rooms (some with a Romeo and Juliet-style balcony) offer good value and great views of the Atlantic Ocean.
They also offer yoga sessions in their sea-facing yoga studio, healthy superfood breakfasts and in-house movies, along with having a vibey entertainment and bar area with a balcony where you can watch the world go by.
The main focus at this vibrant and popular backpacker spot in Orlando West is to allow you to truly experience life in Soweto while giving back to the community.
The choice of township experiences includes cooking lessons, traditional beer brewing, and story-telling sessions around a fire, along with cycling, walking and tuk-tuk tours.
Their restaurant serves traditional South African meals (including bunny chow) cooked on an open fire.
Hogsback, Eastern Cape
As the name would suggest, this is a bohemian backpacker spot where you are very likely to come across fairies, dragons and goblins, along with the characters from the author J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
They are everywhere – on the walls, behind doors, and even peeking out from the bar. Take a hike into the surrounding ancient forests, enjoy a yoga or meditation session, and be sure to book their famous bath with a view.
After a day of exploring Hogsback, relax in their friendly bar with a craft beer or cider, along with a home-cooked meal – their pizzas are highly recommended!
Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape
Coffee Shack is consistently voted one of the best backpackers in South Africa, and once you have stayed there, you will understand why.
Apart from offering possibly the cheapest surfing lessons in the country, there is an organised day trip each day, including hikes, beach days and dinners with the locals.
The private rooms, being thatched rondavels situated a short walk from the main lodge, are a wonderful and novel experience.
The restaurant has options to suit all budgets, and with massive servings, you definitely won’t starve. Expect to bump into herds of Nguni cows regularly!
Set around a breezy courtyard in a landmark building, this backpacker spot gives guests the perfect base from which to explore Durban, along with enjoying the beach and the warm Indian Ocean.
Have a yoga session or watch a movie in the courtyard, or simply watch the world go by from one of the balconies.
The bar is also open all day, from your first cup of coffee to your last nightcap. While you are there, join a cultural tour, take an inner-city walking tour, go diving with sharks, or learn to surf.
Words by Francesca Lynagh
For more backpacker hotspots check out the full article in the September issue of Sawubona magazine.