Backpackers Travel Tips

   Written for Backpackers by our Previous Backpackers

South Africa Zimbabwe Namibia Madagascar


Port St Johns (or "Port St Joints"):   This idyllic little town has tropical vegetation, dramatic cliffs, great beaches and a relaxed atmosphere!!  A great place to stop for a few days between PE & Durban.  Stay at Port St John's Backpackers situated on a hill at 1st Beach looking down on the village and bay.

AJ & Vic

Climbing Table Mountain from CLOUDBREAK:   When climbing the Table from the hostel do stay on the main paths.  If you are unfortunate enough to be with a crazy german ignore his suggestions "this small path looks like a good short cut" - you will be sorry.  Half an hour of crawling through thick bush "only 10 more metres" is very taxing.  Take plenty of water, and swim things as there are some nice pools in the stream on the way.  Have a great time!

Robin,  Scotland

Kloofing:  If your balls are big enough, I would recommend the Suicide kloofing....probably the best rands you'll spend.  A bit of a hell walk, but once you get there & start the rock jumps the adrenaline starts to pump.  It's a good challenge, but don't believe any estimates on how long the walks are......Happy Jumping

Dave Ingham,  England

Townships:  When in Cape Town, make sure you go on the "One City Flats Tour".  The company was started sothat people can see what life is like in the townships and therefore come to appreciate the complexities of all of the social, political & economical issues facing the new South Africa.  The tour is very candid and was done with a lot of integrity.

Lorri,  USA

Cloudbreak:  We feel that the lodge is a good place to stay.  The people are friendly.  The kitchen is well equipped.   We especially enjoyed the hot shower after a day's travel.  We are especially indebted to Dale & Janine the managers who have been very helpful.  They help us solve our many problems and show great hospitality.  I have no reservations in recommending the lodge to all backpackers.

Fok, Shi, Che,  Hong Kong

The Unexpected:  Cape Town has been great and for a few different reasons than I had expected, given that me and Ian had come in search of wildlife of all types - yes we saw 100's of flowers, nearly 100 birds, insects, baboons, bontebok and all that stuff, however the highlight that made this city so great was:-  sitting on a bus from Kirstenbosch to Cape Town as a group of women returning from work struck up and sang 3 (presumably) traditional songs.  The music was accompanied by hand-beats on the bus window.  Such a wonderful sound.  Enjoy yourself.

Pete,  UK



General:  A great country for bush-camping.  Nice day hike down Fish River Canyon from viewpoint near Hobas.   You don't need a permit for it.  Campsites are expensive, but you share with up to 8 people and 2 cars. 

Marion & Jeroen,  Holland

Namib Naukluft Park:  From Walvis take the gravel road to Rooibank.  Nature Conservation doesn't include this road on their permit maps but it's open and a must.  Drive alongside the dunes and the Topmaas villages to Gobabeb (research station).  At Zebra Pan enjoy a desert bath in the resevoir (if filled).  Sossusvlei - the one and only.  Enjoy the extremes of this nature and its people!

Free Condoms:  The youth hostel in Swakopmund gives away free condoms from a box at the reception (as does CLOUDBREAK).

Joe & Lisa,  The Cool Guide



General:   If you happen to go to Madagascar (and I strongly recommend you do) try catching a ship from Durban, SA.  It's about a quarter of the price of flying.  The catch is that you'll be on a cargo ship and that dockland's customs are not as friendly as airport's customs.  Also make sure you go with someone who speaks French.  Get out of Antananarivo ('Tana)'s nothing like the rest of the country.

Darren,  UK



Eastern Highlands:  Go there!!!