5 great places to stay when backpacking South Africa

Back in the big smoke of Cape Town for a wedding I thought I would review some of the amazing places I have stayed at along my journey so far. Read on for part one.

Five backpackers that are a must visit when traveling South Africa

Cape Agulhas Backpackers

Cape Agulhas

This was where it all started. Genesis if you will. And it didn’t disappoint. The Southern most tip of Africa. Aside from a cool war story to tell everyone, it really should be a must for visitors to South Africa.

Cape Agulhas Backpackers is sweet as and handily own the activity centre across the road that offers all manner of watersports from Adrenalin Boat rides, Stand Up Paddle Boards and some of the best kite surfing conditions in South Africa. You can also hangout with stingrays in the harbor if you just want to get your toes wet.

Aside from all the usual goodness you’d expect at a Backpackers they have undoubtedly one of my favourite bars to have a beer in. I can’t really explain why. Maybe it was the start of it all. But the beer was sweet, the staff unbelievably chilled and friendly and it set the tone for the Going Homeless Project up perfectly.

It also was the first place I stayed longer than I intended. For good reason. Drop by. It’s full of goodness.

URL: www.capeagulhasbackpackers.com

Aardvark Guesthouse and Backpackers


Ten minutes from the main gate of Addo is a little piece of paradise, hammocks hanging in trees, sunshine and wide open space. The Aardvark Guesthouse and Backpackers, beautifully decorated and adorned with local arts and sculpture, is the place to stay when visiting Addo National Park.

Graciously hosted by Daniel And Claude, the Going Homeless Project, discovered that the Addo area has a lot more to offer than just the national park. Local knowledge trumps the interwebs again. A canoe trip up the Sundays River with Criss Cross Adventures and a visit to Daniel Cheetah farm rounded out an unexpectedly epic stay in Addo. If you need road tripping or route advice chat to Daniel who is a veritable back road wizard.

Try their scrumptious breakfast, it is epic and save some time to chillax in the hammocks it’s good for your body and soul.

URL : www.theaardvarkguesthouse.co.za

Away with the Fairies


Aside from the fact that I am totally captivated by Hogsback, it offers a very different and unique experience to the rest of my travels up the coast. Set inland in the magnificent Amathole mountains, it’s hard not to be wow-ed by the place.

Away with the Fairies, perched atop a cliff overlooking the beautiful indigenous forests offers the perfect base to do all that Hogsback has to offer. Walk from the bottom of the Garden into the forests to visit the numerous waterfalls, visit the local artists and potters. Be sure to drop by the Ecology Shrine for a different perspective and find the answers to life by walking the Labyrinth.

Hogsback is a truly beautiful place and offers a completely different experience to travelers. It’s a must visit place for those looking for a more than a costal view of South Africa. Oh and be sure to take a bath at the end of the world …

URL: www.awaywiththefairies.co.za



This place is legendary, if you haven’t heard about it you’re probably talking to the wrong people or reading the wrong travel information. Situated in a primo spot on the lagoon in Chintsa, Bucs offers an excellent all round place to stay, great accommodation, free daily activities, killer dinners and a very festive in-house bar.

Surf lessons and board rentals, horse riding and a multitude of other cool activities are available for those who feel the need to be active, or head to the beach for a swim and just laze in the sun. Grab a freebie bodyboard and hit the waves or canoe up the lagoon.

A free daily activity, often involving free drinks, kick off good evenings so be sure to participate. They also offer themed dinners fit for a king and are definitely bang for your buck, they also help create the awesome social vibe Bucs has got going for them.

Don’t skip Chintsa because its a small dot on the map – its pure awesomeness.

URL: www.cintsa.com

Coffee Shack

Coffee Shack

Uhm, one word should suffice. Heaven. Well there are also cool people and beer. And a beach. So probably better. Situated in Coffee Bay, Transkei, the Coffee Shack is epic. Comfy, welcoming and well pure backpacker porn so to speak.

Daily activities that waver between vaguely strenuous and super chilled. Perfect surf for both beginners and experienced surfers. Lessons and board rentals are cheap cheap – so learn to surf while you there. Hike to the Hole in the Wall, Cliff Jump and chow down in the local village and get the skinny on the area on the various day trips.

Yum Breakfasts and communal dinners and coffee i’d put my name to are available from the kitchen and make cooking for yourself obsolete they are so good. Cool, friendly and helpful staff make the Coffee Shack a “you’re stupid if you miss it” when visiting South Africa.

There is something about the Coffee Shack that gets everyone on the same page and that makes for late nights and fun filled days. Good times. Indeed.

URL: www.coffeeshack.co.za

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2 Responses

  1. Gypsy Girl says:

    This is AWESOME. Two questions…how are you taking such magnificent pics…and how do you keep your technology safe while travelling…and surfing/ catching waves…if you are travelling solo and staying in backpackers?! Ok – three: what technology/equipment are you using to be able to stay online/blog/download pics etc while travelling? Would soooo appreciate the advice/info as I prepare to pack my little bumble bee with all the necessities for an epic road trip!

    • stu says:

      Hey GG,

      Thanks for the comment and questions.

      first question, I just shoot what I see, mother nature puts it there 🙂 But now more than ever I often sit and stare at my subject, normally awestruck until I feel the need / inspiration / will to grab a frame. I think in the digital age we are to quick to point and shoot. I often find by just appreciating what I am seeing the shot ‘comes’ to me

      Second question, I have been lucky to have some of my accomodation comped by the various backpackers so I had a lockable room, most offer a safe to store valuables, I also have a couple of lock boxes bolted to my car which are hidden from view, so I often store my gear in there when I am going to be busy with activities that don’t involve laptops etc. I always keep my camera with me at all times, hate to miss a shot and it also double as the best security possible. Cold dead hands and all of that. That said I have occasionally and foolishly left my gear lying under my sleeping bag in a dorm and had no issues, travellers and backpackers are all on the same page and it’s a great tribe to be part of.

      Question three, I have my dslr and a couple of lens, a laptop to deal with imagery, video and editing, a lot of backpackers offer free wifi, but I do have a 3G modem with me to blog and book places as I go. I had plans to use an iPad to blog with, but honestly writing on it is like trying to draw the mona lisa with an etch a sketch. But occasionally it’s handy for quick posts, twitter and email etc. I use Blogsy to blog with, Snapseed for quick photo edits and pinnacle video editing on the iPad. Otherwise I run Lightroom on my laptop to catalogue and edit imagery.

      And don’t forget a tripod! and maybe a hard drive for backup purposes in the event of laptop meeting water or theft or some eventuality.

      It’s a lot of gear, but I have it pretty much reduced it to my camera bag, tripod and a laptop ( which I often lock away until I need it) So more often than not I carry my camera and not much else until I need it.

      Hope that helps? I look forward to following your adventure, 2012 is clearly the year of the road trip. Safe travels and I swear you’ll never regret the journey.

      Sheesh that was like a blog in itself!

      ** get a decent up to date map book! And always have a copy of coast to coast and the alternative route available at most backpackers.

What say you?