We stayed two separate nights at Pretoria Backpackers. The first night was in the annex down the street, where our room had a small kitchen and bathroom, and the other night was in the main house with a shared bath. Both rooms were clean and well decorated, and certainly worth the money. Both times, we left quite early in the morning and so were not able to have breakfast, but the breakfast area of the main house looked quite nice. Between nights, we left several pieces of luggage in their storage room for two weeks at no extra charge, which was much appreciated. All in all, a solid budget option, a bit pricier but appreciably nicer than European hostels I have stayed at.
The best thing about this place is the associated tour agency, Footprints in Africa. We used them for transfers to and from the airport and also booked their 4 Day Kruger Adventure, and our only regret is that we didn’t have time for a longer trip. Our hosts/guides/drivers/cooks were the husband-and-wife team of Francois and Marinda, both of whom treated us like old friends from the first minute. The “lodge” is a compound of a few rather fancy and thoroughly modern rooms in two buildings, a braai area, a small plunge pool, and common dining and living areas, all located within the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, which means that there are buffalo, giraffe, bush babies, and other large and small game just wandering around. We were part of a larger group the first couple of nights and so were put into overflow housing, which meant we got an entire house all to ourselves, outside Francois’s compound but within the wildlife estate. The food and conversation were outstanding, and the game drives (in Kruger as well as in Thornybush Reserve) and other activities were also beyond our expectations. Truly amazing. For the price, we had pictured something much much simpler; the bits of luxury came as a welcome surprise.
If we make it back to South Africa, we will be sure to let Francois and Marinda organize everything for us, and we would love to travel with them elsewhere in South Africa and surrounding countries.
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