Connect with us

Travel

Backpacking in South Africa – Everything You Need To Know

As we venture into the unexplored world of travel through backpacking, at least for black South African youth, we’ve decided to get as much info from a travel expert as we could.

Published

on

By Afrika Mdolomba 

The backpacking industry has undergone a major evolution since the stereotypical days of grungy dorm rooms, worn mattresses and rundown buildings. With the advent of technology, the modern backpacker is looking for more than just a cheap bed.

Backpackers hostels have typically been associated with overcrowded and unhygienic conditions. However, a rise in experience-focused and boutique hostels has birthed a new era of high quality standards, rivalling many hotels.

And if sleeping in a dorm room with a bunch of strangers is not your cup of tea, most hostels have private rooms with beautiful decor and en-suite bathrooms. They offer an inexpensive alternative to hotels; a mix of privacy and a vibrant social atmosphere, which is a great opportunity to meet new people.

“Our product categories range from a room for R1200, to a dormitory bed for R180,” said entrepreneur Bheki Dube.

The 27-year-old owns one of the fastest growing backpackers hostel models in South Africa; Curiocity Backpackers. He is only black person in the country who owns backpackers hostels in two major cities; Johannesburg and Durban. They’re both 4-star-graded, “Cape Town is launching soon,” he revealed.

Bheki said most backpackers at Curiocity were between the ages of 18-35. “What these millennia’s are looking for is [being] connected to the eco-systems they’re in.” He said his establishment is experience-driven with a huge emphasis on the public art, meeting artists and entrepreneurs in the city.

“With models like Curiocity, you’re able to create inclusive and integrated spaces where both locals and internationals can have dialogue and share spaces… You feel like you’re part of the community in the spaces that you’re [living] in,” he added.

The modern backpacker relies heavily on technology; an entire trip can be researched, booked and paid for on a mobile phone.

A decision on which hostel to choose can be based entirely on online reviews – and whether there is fast wifi. This would have been a really wild fantasy back in the 1980’s when Ralf Kuhn filled his backpack and hit the road.

“In the 80’s you’d have to send a letter or make a phone call to your destination and after that you were on your own…

There was no communication; your family just knew that you were en route to somewhere. When you arrived, you’d find what we used to call a Tiki box and call home,” said the Cape Townian. “It was complicated, but it was an adventure… You couldn’t rely on any kind of media to take you further,” he recalled.

At the tap of a button, you can share holiday images with friends and strangers alike on social media, but, “back then, you’d have to take schools of film, after the trip you’d have the photographs developed and you’d have to individually phone friends to come around and show them the photographs. Many people made photo albums and you would carry the album with you because there was no Facebook in those days,” said the former flight attendant.

The 58-year-old said Durban was a major attraction among backpackers, “It had a hippie spirit and because of its climate, it was conducive for people to congregate at the coast.” He acknowledged that backpacking was harder in the 80’s, “certainly more inconvenient, but it was more fun. I think there was a lot more adventure involved.”

South Africa is still a popular destination for local and international backpackers. Sarah Weber has visited the country a handful of times since her first backpacking trip here in 2015. “I have a hair salon that I go to when I come to town!” exclaimed the American backpacker, “same stylist, his name is Nyiko.”

The 26-year-old health programme worker who’s also been to other African countries believes a lot of first time travellers to Africa, choose South Africa first. “I think the level of development is higher and there’s a level of familiarity and there’s just so much to see here too,” she emphasised.

Southeast Asia is the most popular backpacking destination and home to the oldest backpacking trails. This was influenced by Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, a book written by Tony Wheeler in the 1970’s. It has since grown into the Lonely Planet guidebooks empire, a modern and useful resource for backpackers.

Sarah has also backpacked in the popular Asian region. However, she described the South African experience as being more authentic. “There are just so many more tourists in Southeast Asia and it’s saturated with too many people in a lot of places like Thailand. Although you do run into tourists here, it doesn’t feel like you’re being overwhelmed by tourism,” she said.

A sense of culture, community and belonging are key to any backpackers hostel. “You don’t want to only be around tourists, because you’re going to another country to experience things about that country,” she gushed.

“I find it really easy-going to travel here,” she maintained, adding  that she’s used several modes of transport, including a rented car, a public minibus taxi and taxi hailing apps. “I’ve definitely told a lot of people that they should come [to South Africa],” said the NGO worker.

Regardless of the era and conditions backpackers find themselves in, this is a group that has consistently committed to their traditional spirit of comradery. Though no longer under moonlight, they still gather at hostels every evening to share their amazing adventures and create priceless memories.

Advertisement
Streaming17 hours ago

You Can Now Binge Watch Gomora – Stream Details, Plot & More

Aubrey Qwana
Music2 days ago

Inside Channel O Looming New Show, ‘Remix.Studio’

Muzi Mthabela leaves Isibaya for Imbewu
TV2 days ago

Muzi Mthabela Leaves Isibaya For Imbewu

Cassper Nyovest and Nadia Nakai
Music3 days ago

Def Jam Africa Launches With Star-Studded Roster

Sjava
Music3 days ago

Sjava Exits Ambitiouz Entertainment

Jub Jub
TV5 days ago

Jub Jub Risks it All for Uyajola 9/9

Thandiswa Mazwai
Lockdown5 days ago

Play Your Part Africa Live Stream Concert Featuring King Tha

Kay Sibiya and girlfriend have broken up
Celeb News6 days ago

Kay Sibiya and Judie Confirm They’ve Broken Up

Rapulana Seiphemo The Queen
TV1 week ago

Rapulana Seiphemo Joins ‘The Queen’

Lockdown1 week ago

The Lockdown House Party Finale All Star To Return Faves

1Magic The River
TV1 week ago

‘The River’ Returns from Lockdown Break

TV1 week ago

RHOJ Season 2 Reunion Highlights – Shade and Files!

Netflix 8 Movie South Africa
Movies1 week ago

South African Horror Film ‘8’ to Premiere on Netflix

Hip Hop1 week ago

Riky Rick Says Cassper & AKA Beef Is Draining To The Culture

Sizwe vs AKA
Music1 week ago

AKA and Sizwe’s Feud Heats Up on Twitter

Ami Faku
Music1 week ago

Sun EL-Musician x Ami Faku’s Into Ingawe Goes Double Platinum

Music2 weeks ago

Nadia Nakai Celebrates 30 With A Magazine Cover

Idris Elba
Lockdown2 weeks ago

Idris Elba Hosts AKA & Sho Madjozi for the Africa Day Benefit Concert

Solo and Dineo
Celeb News2 weeks ago

Dineo & Solo Reflect on First Year as a Married Couple

Lockdown2 weeks ago

Lady Zamar & Celeste Ntuli Join Jameson Connects

Sun EL Musician
Music2 weeks ago

Top African Artists Curate Lockdown Inspiration Playlists

Channel O Lockdown House Party
Lockdown2 weeks ago

The Lockdown House Party Continues Blazing This Winter

Nkanyiso Makhanya, Uzalo actor who plays Njeza on the SABC1 telenovela
TV2 weeks ago

Get To Know Uzalo’s Nkanyiso Makhanya

AKA
Hip Hop2 weeks ago

AKA Claims to Have Not Seen a Cent in Reebok Sneaker Range

Vodacom Durban July 2020
Celeb News2 weeks ago

Vodacom Durban July 2020 To Be Held Behind Closed Doors

Lerato Kganyago has split from husband after two months of marriage
Celeb News2 weeks ago

Lerato Kganyago and Husband Split After Two Months

house of cards season 6
Streaming2 weeks ago

House of Cards Season 6 Falls Below Expectation

Music2 weeks ago

5 NEW Mzansi Songs You Should Be Listening To!

News2 weeks ago

Nestlé Announces Donations Towards COVID-19 Relief Efforts

Streaming2 weeks ago

Nasty C to Make Acting Debut on Netflix’s ‘Blood & Water!

Documentaries2 weeks ago

M-Net To Premiere COVID -19 Doccie – Ripple Effect: First Wave

Hip Hop2 weeks ago

Southy Hypes Doja Cat’s Billboard Chart Topping Milestone

TV2 weeks ago

Thuso Mbedu Makes VOGUE UK’s List of Exciting New Actors

miss-south-africa-2020
Celeb News2 weeks ago

Miss SA 2020 to Stage First-Ever Digital Pageant

The Morning Show
Lockdown2 weeks ago

eTV’s ‘The Morning Show’ Returns from Lockdown Break

Emtee 2020
Fresh Releases2 weeks ago

Emtee Back with ‘Johustleburg’ Amid Feud with Former Label

Kwesta 2020 2 Skeif Njandini The Finesse
Fresh Releases2 weeks ago

Kwesta Nods To Classic Kwaito With Two New Singles

Watch Power TV series season 6 in South Africa
TV2 weeks ago

The Final Season of ‘Power’ Premieres in Southy

LootLove
Celeb News2 weeks ago

Lootlove and Reason Have Broken Up

blood and water netflix
Streaming3 weeks ago

Second Netflix African Original Series Blood And Water

Celeb News3 weeks ago

Zenande Mfenyana’s Stunning Underwater Photoshoot

TV3 weeks ago

Mzansi Magic Telenovelas Resume Production

TV3 weeks ago

eTV Scandal! Teasers for May 2020

TV3 weeks ago

Only Four Girls Left Standing on The Bachelor SA

Uzalo Teasers
Lockdown3 weeks ago

Uzalo to Go Off Air for a Month Amid Lockdown

Sho Madjozi Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award
Music3 weeks ago

Sho Madjozi Wins Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Fave African Star!

Money Heist Berlin Professor Tokyo
Streaming3 weeks ago

Money Heist Season 5 Confirmed

AKA
Hip Hop3 weeks ago

Everything We Know About New ‘AKA TV’ App

Real Housewives of Atlanta season 12 South Africa
TV3 weeks ago

RHOA Season 12 Mzansi Premiere

TV3 weeks ago

Newest Teasers for SABC 1 Soapie Uzalo for May

Emma The River 1 Magic
TV3 weeks ago

The River 3 1Magic Soapie Teasers for May 2020

Molly and Issa Insecure season 4
TV3 weeks ago

Things are Falling Apart for Issa and Molly – Insecure RECAP

Lockdown3 weeks ago

HBO Series To Watch on Lockdown Pop Up Channel – M-Net Binge

Patronella The Queen
TV3 weeks ago

The Queen Mzansi Magic Teasers for May 2020

Cassper THuto
Hip Hop3 weeks ago

Cassper Nyovest’s Thuto Turns Three

Date My Family
TV4 weeks ago

Date My Family Brings Cheer During Quarantine

The Queen Connie Ferguson
TV4 weeks ago

The Queen Mzansi Magic: Quick Recap of Last Week’s Episodes

popsnotthefather
Hip Hop4 weeks ago

The Spotlight is on popsnotthefather

Boity
Hip Hop4 weeks ago

Boity Premieres Brand New Single – ‘Own Your Throne’

TV4 weeks ago

The River Wins Big at The SAFTA’s!

Celeb News4 weeks ago

Sindi Dlathu Has a Clone?

Shaka Returns to The Queen
TV4 weeks ago

What Shaka’s Return Means for The Queen

Menzi Ngubane, Jessica Nkosi, SK Khoza, The Queen
TV4 weeks ago

Menzi Ngubane, Jessica Nkosi Join ‘The Queen’ as SK Khoza Returns!

Lockdown4 weeks ago

NaakMusiQ & Trevor Gumbi Perform in the Jameson Connects Series

Cassper Nyovest Davido
Music4 weeks ago

Apple Music Introduces Africa Month

Shannon
Celeb News4 weeks ago

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Shannon Esra

Thapelo Mokoena
Celeb News4 weeks ago

Inside Thapelo Mokoena’s New Career Endeavour

Queen Sono
Streaming4 weeks ago

Netflix Renews Queen Sono for Season 2!

Trevor Noah The Daily Social Distancing Show
Celeb News1 month ago

Trevor Noah Gives Teachers Laptops on Social Media

DJ Tira
Lockdown1 month ago

Castle Lite Unlocks Presents DJ Tira Vs DJ Maphorisa

South African celebrity couples
News2 years ago

These 11 South African Celebrity Couples Are Every Romantic Goal

Celeb News5 years ago

Mzansi Celebrity Nudes For A Cause: The Marie Claire Naked Issue 2015 is Out

HHP
Music2 years ago

HHP Is Dead At 38 – Reflecting On His Rise To The Top

idols sa season 5 auditions
TV1 year ago

Idols SA Season 15 Auditions Kick Off In Pretoria

Hair3 years ago

10 Fresh Celeb HairCuts (And Their Names) For Your Festive Look!

Celeb News4 years ago

9 Big Brother Mzansi Break Out Stars: Where Are They Now?

Celeb News5 years ago

(PHOTOS) Vixen Unleashed! Namhla’s Hot Lingerie Behind The Scenes Snaps

Celeb News3 years ago

The 10 South African Celeb Couples Who Melted Our Hearts In 2016!

Fashion2 years ago

Tino Chinyani Wears The Best Pants In The Business – Proof in Pics!

Hair3 years ago

5 Banging Celeb Hairstyles To Steal For Your Festive Look!

TV3 years ago

Yvonne Left At The Alter: Scandal! Nuptials End In Tears

Hair2 years ago

Hair: A Customer’s Experience At Legends Barber

Hair2 years ago

Hair: We Caught Up With Legends Barber Founder Sheldon Tatchell

Hair2 years ago

Hair: What Legends Barber is All About

best-dressed-female-celebs-sa
Fashion3 years ago

2016’s Top 10 Best Dressed South African Celebrities: Female Edition

Hair2 years ago

Hair: One Barber Spills All About Legends Barber

Fashion2 years ago

Nomzamo Mbatha Oozes Swag In New PUMA Defy Luxe

Celeb News5 years ago

Topless Tuesday: Pearl Thusi flaunts what her mama gave her

Isipho
TV12 months ago

What You Need To Know About e.tv’s New Drama – ‘Isipho’

Boity Wuzdat
Celeb News2 years ago

Boity Has Her Eyes Set On Dropping Some Music

Isibaya traditional wedding Sibongiseni Mkhize, Mpiyakhe Zungu
TV1 year ago

Isibaya: The Traditional Zulu Wedding Everyone is Talking About (PHOTOS)

Hair2 years ago

Hair: Should You Get Your Touched At Legends Barber?

News2 years ago

The Wait Is Over – It’s Now Hours To The Black Panther Premiere!

Harmony Katulondi Top Billing
Interviews2 years ago

Top Billing: Harmony Katulondi Joins The Presenter Family

Morny Ryle Top Billing
Interviews2 years ago

Getting To Know Top Billing’s New Presenter – Ryle De Morny

Music3 years ago

Donald’s Red Mic Xperience Live DVD The Perfect Early Valentines Gift

Events4 years ago

Who Had The Last Laugh: Recap Of The Savanna Comics Choice Awards

Celeb News4 years ago

8 Looks You Have To See From The YOUSpectacular Awards!

Real Housewives of Johannesburg
TV2 years ago

Real Housewives of Johannesburg Are Everything! Why We Are Obsessed

Khaya Dladla
Interviews2 years ago

Khaya Dladla Gets On The Hunt For His Biggest Fan!

Nadia Nakai interview 2019
Interviews11 months ago

INTERVIEW: Nadia Nakai Dishes On ‘Nadia Naked’

TV2 years ago

18 Best South African TV Shows in 2018 (So Far)!

Select Sessions Sir LSG
Interviews2 years ago

Sir LSG: Perfection Matters – Not So Much The Accolades – Interview

Fashion3 years ago

2016’s Top 10 Best Dressed South African Celebrities: Male Edition

Sho Madjozi
Music1 year ago

Sho Madjozi Is Apple Music’s Artist Of The Month

Celeb News3 years ago

Fat Cheques! The 10 Highest Earning South African Celebrities in 2016

Kat La Kat
Interviews2 years ago

Deep House Ace Kat La Kat Is Not Chasing The Wave – Interview

Punk Mbedzi
Interviews2 years ago

5 Minutes With House Music Dab hands Punk Mbedzi

Ntokozo Mastermind Dlamini Exclusive interview
Interviews5 years ago

INTERVIEW: Touching Base With Rising Uzalo Star Ntokozo TK Dlamini

Bonang Matheba UN talks
Celeb News2 years ago

Bonang Wows At ‘Put No Girl Behind’ United Nations Discussions

TV2 years ago

Idols SA S14 Auditions: Hopefuls Go For Their Dreams At Carnival City

Adidas POD
Fashion2 years ago

Yannick Ilunga and Rochelle ‘RhaRha’ Back At It For Adidas

Nasty C in PUMA Breaker Hi Blocked
Fashion2 years ago

Nasty C Rocking The Latest PUMA Drop

Gert Johan Coetzee Autumn 2019
Fashion2 years ago

Inside Gert-Johan Coetzee’s ‘Recession Proof’ Ready To Wear Autumn ’19 Collection

News4 years ago

Siyavuma! Celebrities Who Answered Their True Calling

Celeb News5 years ago

Cassper Nyovest & Amanda Du Pont: Trouble in Paradise?

Khanya Mkangisa
Celeb News2 years ago

Khanya Mkangisa and Nick Soul To Dish Showbiz Tips At Looming PUMA Shindig

Real Housewives of Johannesburg Recap, Evodia and Christy fight
TV2 years ago

Real Housewives of Johannesburg: Evodia and Christall Screaming Match!

Celeb News4 years ago

BIRTHDAY BOY! Celebrating Uzalo’s Nay Maps In 5 Facts

Fashion4 years ago

Riky Rick’s Is Now The Most Stylish Performing Artist In SA

Music2 years ago

SA Music Queens: 5 SA Female Artists Killing The Game in 2018

Fashion3 years ago

Adidas Originals EQT 2017 – Our Future Is Now

Nasty C in PUMA RS-X Trophies 01_lo
Fashion1 year ago

Nasty C Rocks In PUMA RS-X Trophies

Naledi Real Housewives of Johannesburg
TV2 years ago

Real Housewives of Johannesburg: Mercy & Evodia Consider Vaginal Rejuvenation

Adidas Statement collection South Africa
Fashion2 years ago

A Capsule To Support Women Through Their Workouts Is Here

Celeb News5 years ago

Winnie Ntshaba opens up about her childhood

Fashion2 years ago

Adidas Introduces ‘Never Made’

Health5 years ago

Desire For A Mandingo; Do Them Penis Enlargements Actually Work?

Features5 years ago

SIX Tricks To Grow A Killer Afro That Actually Work! Part ONE

Interviews4 years ago

Nasty C Chats To Us About 2016, Music & Beefs

Emtee
Music1 year ago

Emtee Is Really Frustrated Right Now

Fashion2 years ago

Adidas Captures The Spirit of Prophere

Music3 years ago

Priddy Ugly & Bontle’s Wedding Is Dreamy! At Least In La Sauce’s New Video

Cassper Nyovest Baby Girl music video
Music3 years ago

Vanessa Mdee Plays Cassper’s Love Interest In ‘BabyGirl’ Video

Shane Eagle Never Grow Up Album Review
Music1 year ago

Shane Eagle – Never Grow Up Album Review

SA Celebz5 years ago

New Couple Alert: Maps & Nomzamo Are Getting Cosy

Emtee leaving Ambitiouz Entertainment
Music12 months ago

Emtee Wants Out

Imbewu: The Seed
TV2 years ago

The Lowdown on eTV’s New Daily Drama ‘Imbewu: The Seed’

Wizkid Tiwa Savage Fever video
Music2 years ago

Wizkid and Tiwa Savage Heat It Up In Sexy Video

DJ Zinhle and AKA back together?
Celeb News1 year ago

DJ Zinhle & AKA – Are They Really Back Together?

ADVERT

What's Hot!