Five more cool places to stay when backpacking South Africa
Part two in the reviews of some of the amazing backpackers i have stayed in along my trip so far … Wilderness, Tsitsikamma, Tsitsa Falls, Oudtshoorn and Jefferys Bay. Read on.
Fairy Knowe – Wilderness
Wilderness is probably one of the most underrated destinations on the Garden Route in South Africa. Sandwiched between the Kaaimans and Touws river it offers a relaxing yet truly beautiful experience.
The Fariy Knowe Backpackers is situated on the lagoon and adjacent to the Wilderness National Park, making pretty much every activity within walking distance. Very handy. That aside it is set on an incredible piece of land with established trees and offers space, hammocks and a porch that just begs to have the sunrise watched from it.
Be sure to visit the Waterfalls in the National Park, Clifford Cave on the walk to Victoria Bay and the Map of Africa in the Wilderness Heights. Stop driving by. Wilderness is sweet as.
Backpackers Paradise – Oudtshoorn
Oudtshoorn, on the R62 and separated from George by the Outeniqua’s is a travelers heaven so to speak. Activities a plenty and the Backpackers that is centrally situated and pretty darn cool.
The Backpackers Paradise offer all manner of in-house tours, a lot of biking options and is within range of the incredible Swartberg Pass. Daily braai’s and a busy bar make your stay social. A giant indoor fireplace and a lounge full of couches is the ideal place to get to know your fellow travelers.
You cannot visit Oudtshoorn without dropping by one of the Ostrich Farms or miss out on the Cango Caves, if you have a car be sure to visit the Swartberg Pass – it’s a stunning mountain pass. It also offers a diverse and different stay to the coastal destinations on the Garden Route.
Island Vibe – Jeffreys Bay
The biggest shame about my time in Jeffreys Bay was that it was way to short and the sea was flat, for a surf destination not ideal, but that no fault of anyone but mother nature and its hard to be angry when she delivers beauties like Jeffreys Bay.
That said Island Vibe Backpackers surely must be a designated stop on anyones travels up the Garden Route. The saying goes Location location location … and Island Vibes panoramic views from just about all accommodation and the bar over the beach is truly spectacular. Upgrade to the Beach house if you want the sensation of living on the beach.
Be prepared to shake your booty and party every night as Island Vibe is undoubtedly one of the party locations on the Garden Route and your days can be filled with a variety of activities – the obvious one is Surfing and there is a full fledged surf school for beginners, and a variety of day tours that range from township tours, sand boarding and game viewing make it an excellent destination for adventure heads and surfers.
The Falls – Tsitsa Falls
The biggest surprise of my journey so far, an unheard destination for me. Located about 40km from Maclear in the Eastern Cape, Tsitsa Falls is an off the gird experience that is truly awesome and that’s before you even see the Falls.
The Backpackers is housed in the old farmhouse, its front porch lords over the valley and offers a spectacular view to appreciate the space and serenity. Off the grid but by no means lacking, the beers are cold, the showers piping hot and you want for nothing … you forget about modern life and this is what makes this place special.
There are some excellent hikes and Bushman paintings but the jewel without a doubt is the falls – i lack superlatives to describe it. Aside from the spectacular views from above, next to and behind the waterfall, Tsita Falls can be walked into but the opportunity to zip line down into the gorge is the only choice. There is also world class kayaking on four different rivers. The Falls Backpackers won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – but you missing out on a destination that is truly beautiful and good for your soul.
Tsitisikamma Backpackers – Stormsriver
Tsitsikamma is a travelers paradise, aside from being truly beautiful it caters to both the adventure heads and the more easy going traveler. Situated in the Eastern Cape about 65km north of Plettenberg Bay, Stormsriver village and the Tsitsikamma Backpackers offer the ideal base to experience all this area offers.
The Backpackers set on a large piece of land, teeming with indigenous trees and plants offers a serene place to relax after a hard day of activities, the porch gets the morning sun and is a good way to start any day. The Bar area offers an indoor braai and a great place to have a drink and meal with your fellow travelers.
A visit to Tsitsikamma has to include a visit to the national park at Stormsriver mouth to hike the iconic suspension bridge and the start of the Otter trail to visit the waterfall, the area offers a variety of day tours from Zip lining across waterfalls or through the indigenous forests, off road Segway tours and many more. Tsitsikamma is diverse, beautiful and should be should be on any travelers itinerary.