TNL Travels – Accommodations in South Africa

When you’re backpacking for at least a month, accommodation can play a huge role in your experience, depending on how fussy you are. It’s all about the new things you experience wherever you visit, but what about where you’re going to lay your head after an active day? I’ve talked about the places we visited that included accommodation (Knysna Elephant Park, Kruger National Park), so here’s where we stayed the rest of our time in South Africa.

Never@Home hostel, Cape Town

Staying at hostels can be touch and go; I mean reviews can only do so much, right? This hostel had good reviews and it was in a good location, so we took a good chance on it for the first 8 days of our adventure.

Never@home, Cape Town

As you enter, the walls are adorned with graffiti that gave an immediate fun and youthful feel to the atmosphere.

There is  a security gate so that you can only be buzzed in by front desk or with your assigned key card once you’ve checked in. I really liked that!

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The reception area was bright and clean with friendly staff waiting at the front desk, as well as a few tables and chairs for lounging. Brochures (with information on numerous tours and other things to do in Cape) were laid out and there are also 2 computers available for use by any occupant – with a 15 minute limit for the sake of consideration of others who might be waiting to use one. Once you checked in, a WiFi code and password were also provided, which could be easily be replaced with another quick trip back to front desk once you reached your cap.

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We made our way upstairs to find our room (we had opted for mixed with maximum of 4 occupancy) and to my relief – INDIVIDUAL BATHROOMS! Out of everything about staying at a hostel, this was my main concern. I’ll share a room with strangers, but can I shower in peace? Thanks! There were 4 bathrooms on our side of the floor and about 6 or 7 rooms. During our 8 day stay, we had the pleasure of meeting 3 different pairs of friends from England, South America and Netherlands. That’s the best part of the hostel experience – the people.

 

The rooms were complete with the usual bunk beds with 2 large drawers below the bottom bunk to store and lock personal items. They were big enough to fit our backpacks without any issues. There was also a closet and shelves to keep the items that you don’t mind leaving out (makeup and bathroom items). We had to take the top bunks since there were already occupants on the bottom, but we would have selected the top anyway! There was daily housekeeping, and we appreciated that they would simply return if you’re still asleep. Out of respect for our roommates, I didn’t take any pics of the interior of the rooms!

Some other things to mention:

Pros:

  • 24 hr staff with security monitors
  • Bar at the back (called Randy Warthog) that serves food until 10pm
  • Outdoor pool
  • Close to restaurants, drug store and grocery
  • Walking distance from waterfront and also city centre
  • Access to transit

Cons:

  • There were no windows in the rooms so it tended to feel stuffy. We solved that by leaving the door ajar when everyone was awake or out.
  • There is no lounge area that brings a cozy feeling, only a couple tables with chairs in the main area. There was hardly anymore there, so we didn’t really meet many people.

So no real cons! I enjoyed my stay at Never@Home and would recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay while visiting Cape Town.

Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers, Chintsa

We only spent a night at Buccaneers since Chintsa was a stop between Knysna on our way to Durban. We arrived after dark and then checked out the following morning then had some lunch before continuing out road trip.

Our cabin had a double bed and balcony overlooking the water – so peaceful.

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The bathrooms were only steps away and once you were equipped with a flashlight you could find your way no problem. There was unfortunately a water shortage problem the night we were there, so the bathrooms were in a bit of a state since they couldn’t be cleaned right away. That was more for the occupants to know to clean up after themselves, especially in a situation like that. The water did return later on that night and I was able to shower. However, coming from Never@Home and Knysna, I was spoiled and the bathroom left much to be desired.

We were able to cut through the back of the property to head over for a bite. This way took us to and around the water.

Buccaneers Backpackers

Buccaneers also provided meals and WiFi for an extra cost. Since we were only there to lay our heads for the night, we didn’t indulge in either. There was also a bar  underneath the main area where you could basically find everyone staying at the backpackers. The atmosphere was very upbeat – and by that I mean a non-stop party seemed to be going on! There was definitely a lot more mingling going on there than at Never@Home.

Overall Buccaneers was a nice break from driving and Chintsa was a quaint little town.

Airbnb

Durban

Host: Kelly

This was my first experience at an airbnb and it was a pleasure. The host – Kelly – was so accommodating and had the place ready for us within hours after our previous arrangements fell through. She was absolutely lovely and helpful, taking time to get to know us when we arrived and making suggestions of places to go. The space was situated above their garage, separate from the main house. It was set up like a bachelor apartment with a kitchenette close to the front door and had a huge wrap-around balcony attached to the front and side. The bathroom was spacious with windows; we got a chuckle out of the fact that the walls didn’t go all the way up and one would chase the other out to the balcony for privacy. They live on a gated property and had a security system that made us feel quite safe at night. The house was also located close to EVERYTHING! There were several restaurants, grocery, gas stations and a quick drive away from the city centre and beaches.

We really enjoyed our stay here and highly recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to stay while in Durban.

 

airbnb Durban (2) airbnb Durban (1)

 

Johannesburg

Hosts: Peter & Karien

The sweetest couple ever! They were SO friendly and we had lovely chats with them especially since they’re avid travelers and love the arts. They even invited us to use pool even if they weren’t there, because Joburg was SWELTERING. The space – attached to their carport  – was clean, bright and cozy, with some of Karien’s art on display. The kitchen area had a stove and the cupboards had some grocery items that we were welcome to help ourselves to.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while in Joburg, look no further. You won’t regret booking with Peter and Karien.

airbnb Joburg (1) airbnb Joburg (2)

Overall, we had no issues with anywhere we stayed while on this trip. What have your hostel or airbnb experiences been like? Share!

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