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Best budget-friendly backpacking spots in Mzansi

Funky Town. Picture: Website

Funky Town. Picture: Website

Published Jul 15, 2021


The Covid-19 pandemic had created scores of ongoing health and financial challenges across the globe.

Like many industries, the local tourism industry, despite its many attractions, has taken quite a knock, particularly due to national lockdown rules and regulations.

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One of the ways we can help rebuild the industry without breaking the bank is by visiting some of the best budget-friendly backpacking spots in South Africa.

Think about it: you get your much needed and totally deserved downtime and you contribute meaningfully to the country's economy.

From where we're sitting, it's a win-win situation.

And remember backpacking offers a great opportunity to experience new places while meeting and mingling with like-minded adventure enthusiasts from around the country and the continent.

Backpacking is fun and to make it even more interesting guests are encouraged to use public transport while making bookings at inexpensive lodges, hostels and guest houses.

Below are some of our suggestions:

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Sunflower Stop Backpackers Hostel

Sunflower Stop backpackers offers relaxing and comfortable accommodation for budget travellers in Cape Town.

Nestled between the mountains and sea, the backpackers’ hostel is in the perfect location to enjoy your downtime in the Mother City.

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With self-catering options, bar and TV lounge, the luxury hostel offers affordable accommodation for every budget. Other features include a sun-filled swimming pool, free wi-fi, bicycle rental and free breakfast.

Khotso Lodge & Horse Trails

Khotso Horse Trails and Accommodation is nestled deep in the Southern Drakensberg, Underberg. It is both a working horse and sheep farm and a perfect base to either explore, adventure or relax. Khotso, which means peace in Sesotho is famous in the area for its spectacular horse trails.

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They also offer a very cosy Backpackers Lodge, a new camp site with a kitchen and ablution block in the orchard next to the mountain stream, as well as three newly refurbished self-catering rondavels overlooking a private gorge behind.

With the full 1 000 hectares farm at your disposal, ride over the ridge tops on horseback, hike to one of the mineral water pools, swim or fish the Umzimkulu river, mountain bike the extensive single-track routes, or just take time out from your hectic day-to-day routine to unwind by a fire under the stars in the breathtaking scenery of the Southern Drakensberg.


Funky Town. Picture: Website

An old stone house, renewed and recycled, now exists as FunkyTown which is the most unique, breathtaking Lifestyle accommodation in Jeffreys Bay. FunkyTown is an eclectic expression of design, colour and art.

The place is very hip! There is a hot tub for winter nights and a plunge pool for cooling down in the summer! The place is situated within walking distance to the shops, beach and restaurants. The place offers a mini-fridge and complimentary tea and coffee facilities, free parking and free wi-fi.

Karoo Soul – Travel Lodge & Cottages

Huddled in the heart of the Klein Karoo is this magical Tudor-style manor house. Delicately finding the equilibrium between nature, life and sustainability while remaining one of the most sophisticated travel lodges in the area.

Situated on one of the uppermost hills in Oudtshoorn, the manor and surrounding grounds is adorned with art, offering breathtaking views and sunsets combined with a tantalising swimming pool and entertainment patio.

Affordable yet stylish and comfortable, it is surrounded with a sense of well-balanced vitality.

The place offers unique self-catering cottages, spaciously luxurious rooms, an un-crowded dormitory and camping depending on your needs.

Orange River Rafting Lodge

Orange River Rafting Lodge is located on the banks of the Orange River, a haven for numerous bird species. The resort is situated in lovely surroundings, 10km from the border to Namibia, on a small farm in Vioolsdrift.

The lodge offers self-catering chalets, camp sites and river rafting at affordable rates in a peaceful atmosphere filled with beautiful river views, sunsets over the mountain ranges of the Richtersveld and silent, starry nights.

Additional facilities include a pool table, fishing and a safe swimming area in the river.

Elephant Walk Guesthouse and Backpackers

Elephant Walk is a very popular B&B and backpackers, and it’s only a stone’s throw away from the entrance gate to the Kruger National Park in Phalaborwa.

They have en-suite rooms with air-conditioning, bar fridges, TV's, microwaves, coffee and tea facilities.

Other facilities include clean linen and hot showers, braai facilities and a crispy pool.

At request, the lodge can arrange safaris into the Kruger Park on open vehicles or a river safari for close up photographs of elephants, buffaloes, crocs and hippos and abundant bird life.

Clarens Inn and Backpackers

Deep in the foothills of the South African Maluti Mountains lies Clarens, a utopian village guarded by the majestic Rooiberge sandstone cliffs.

The mountain ranges, which surround this leafy haven, boast incredible rainbowed strata of purples and blues; one of a kind formations that perfectly reflect the bright energy of this beautiful region.

Clarens Inn and Backpackers provides accommodation for adventurers with the first step in the countless journeys of discovery, relaxation and exhilaration, which the famed Jewel of the Eastern Free State has to offer.

Services at the Clarens Inn and Backpackers include bicycle hire, heated rooms in winter, catering facilities and tour arrangements. Activities nearby include white-water rafting, abseiling, horse riding, golf, tennis, zip-line and paintball.

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Budget Travel