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“ATTEMPTED ARMED BREAK IN, filthy bathrooms, no electricity, a poorly equipped kitchen and incompetent staff”

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Hluhluwe Backpackers
Reviewed 9 January 2013

I would definitely NOT recommend HluHluwe Backpackers, after an ATTEMPTED ARMED BREAK IN, filthy bathrooms, no electricity, a poorly equipped kitchen and incompetent staff we didn’t even spend the night there.

Here is what happened:

We arrived at the backpackers in peak season(December) to be the only holiday makers on the property. Our booking was not noted anywhere, even though we had booked well in advance. We were also informed by a less-than-helpful manageress that there is no electricity and upon enquiring when the electricity would be functional there was no real response.

The bathrooms were dark and dingy and there were no torches or candles to help us unpack in the dark. When the power came back on in the evening, the bathrooms turned out to be dark and dingy even with the power on and definitely NOT clean.

There was one VERY SLOW hot plate with two plates to service +/- 20 guests (that had arrived throughout the afternoon) for making dinner and no wood for a fire. A disaster. It was in the summer and all that was on the bed was a double thick blanket, no top sheet.

The most terrifying experience of our stay was AN ATTEMPTED BREAK IN! We heard the dogs barking after we had dinner and two Scottish ladies from the campsite said they found two men in their tent saying that they were ‘looking for food’. We all went inside and the men were looking for these guys. All this time the dogs kept barking vigorously. Two of our guests encountered men trying to climb through the window and pointed a rifle at them (there are no burglar bars in front of any of the windows). Luckily the dogs deterred him from climbing through the window.

We were able to find accommodation at another backpackers in St. Lucia and ended up spending the night there. We left HluHluwe Backpackers in convoy fearing for our lives as we drove out of the place.

On top of this, the dogs look like they are underfed and are very skinny.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Natasha G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
hluhluwebackpackers, Public Relations Manager at Hluhluwe Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 18 May 2014

Although this review was posted years ago, I feel the need to set the record straight for future guests. Hluhluwe Backpackers underwent major changes since then. Whatever was alleged in this particular review has no merit whatsoever anymore. Hluhluwe Backpackers as it stand today, is one of the best budget accommodation properties in the area.

We do not offer camping anymore, their is regular maintenance, the building and room structure have changed and there is a 24 hour security guard on duty at all times.

It's as safe a place as anywhere in the World. I would like to invite any future guest to have an open mind and not let this review deter you from including Hluhluwe Backpackers in your travel plans.

We feature on many websites and always get good reviews. We look forward in receiving you as guests and it will be our honor to have you here.

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42 - 48 of 66 reviews

Reviewed 30 December 2012

The location was great. It was a disappointing visit as the backpackers genuinly has amazing potential but much neglect on details that make travellers want to stay an extra night. Dave was very accomodating. Unfortunately my brother and I got eaten alive by large bed bugs that had infested the pillows. One week later and we are both still itching and quite grossed out..

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank lesserspottedhuman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hluhluwe M, General Manager at Hluhluwe Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2015

We are sorry your experience was as described. Been a busy backpacker we have travelers from all over the world and we do all in our power to ensure that all bedding and such as kept clean and spotless. Please feel welcome to contact us anytime to discuss your concerns and we look forward to having you stay with us again. Best Regards Hluhluwe Backpackers Management

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Reviewed 23 November 2012

We arrived at Hluhluwe backpackers in the afternoon of 27.09.2012.

Unfortunately we realized that the description of this accommodation as mentioned in SafariNow do not have any similarity with the reality !!

The descriptions says we can get breakfast as well as dinner in this accommodation like in other accommodations. This meansfor us:"backpacker" is only a name but not the sence but this corresponds not with the truth !! The truth is, that you have to use the kitchen bay yourself !! But this kitchen is in an uncredible dirty condition !!

Additionally an other contradiction: at the entrance there is a large label, which shows 4 stars for this accommodation. The reality however is a reception where you stick with the arms.

The result: we are not in the position to have an overnight stay !!! We arranged an other accommodation for this night.

But! We should say this especially!! We have to thank the owner of Hluhluwe backpackers that he accepted that we are not able to stay and gave back to us the payed second 50% of the charge!!

Later on we became acquainted with an "accommodation tester". He told us that he knows Hluhluwe backpackers and this accommodation is not allowed to show 4 stars !!!

Fortunately this was our only bad experience in South Africa over almost seven weeks.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Martin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hluhluwe M, General Manager at Hluhluwe Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2015

Your review in all honesty does not any any sense. You had booked with an online booking agent and secondly as clear with `backpackers` we are a budget accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchen. You arrived expecting a four star Southern Sun Hotel type of accommodation and environment which is fine but then you need to book at those type of establishments and be prepared to pay those prices. The same we state it does not make sense you met a accommodation tester??? Breakfast and dinners are available by prior arrangement and are not included in prices as stated on our website and all booking sites.Our management still gave you a refund but you put as a heading `Incredible` while still running our establishment down? Our kitchen is kept spotless that said it is shared and not possible for our staff to stand behind every single guest cooking to watch every dish is done immediately. I am sure you will understand this will be the case even in your own home. We hope you enjoyed the reat of your travels in South Africa Best Regards Hluhluwe Backpackers

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Reviewed 21 September 2012

We did Dave's 3 day Zululand Tour, which was a great time. Dave was an excellent tour guide and he took care to ensure that we got a proper experience. He's a funny guy and very knowledgable about the park. The rooms were fairly basic but clean, and well lit. That's what you get in South Africa at backpackers prices; if you want a five star, go down the street. But the property is beautiful, the location can't be beat, and Dave is a cool dude. Strongly recommend it.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Michael B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hluhluwe M, General Manager at Hluhluwe Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2015

Thank you for your review and we are pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. Please do come visit us again! Best Regards Hluhluwe Backpackers

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Reviewed 30 August 2012

Very close to the Hluhluwe Park Memorial Gate, easy to find and Dave (the owner) was very welcoming and friendly. Bathrooms are clean, rooms are clean, and the rates are great! I will definitely go back to Hluhluwe Backpackers the next time we head to Hluhluwe for a weekend.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Alyssa P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2012

we stayed 1 night in august . we found the place really neglected, the room was very basic, just one bed , no table, no chairs, It was clean but the shower was dimly lit and broken. for the supposed breakfast , only bread available, no tea, no jam . at 8 am Dave was not up and there was nobody around!!
I don't recommend the place; its positive point is its situation , next to the park.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank juliemartine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hluhluwe M, General Manager at Hluhluwe Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2015

We are sorry you were disappointed with your stay with us. Other guests have written great reviews around this time so it may be that you were wanting upmarket luxury accommodation in which we will be more then happy to refer you to one of the many good but very expensive establishments in the area. Been a backpacker with very reasonable rates we are not luxury and rooms are just that basic.
Breakfast and dinners are available at prior arrangement as we offer self catering and braai facilities. The reason why you did not see the owner is that he is up at 4.30am most mornings to do game drives hence our close location to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Best Regards Hluhluwe Backapckers Team

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Reviewed 6 May 2012

I went to Hluhluwe with several friends, and we were excited to get some camping in at Dave's. However, it wasn't the happy-go-lucky kind of experience we had been anticipating. After our first night camping we awoke to find that one of our friends' stuff had been stolen. Everything. Right from the inner lining of the tent. We spent the morning trying to rectify the situation and were told that something like this had never happened before. At the police station, however, we were told that it WAS NOT the first time campers had been robbed. The stuff was never recovered (except for a pair of flip-flops). So, if you chose to stay at Dave's, lock up your stuff.

Room Tip: be on guard for theft
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank jonsum85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hluhluwe M, General Manager at Hluhluwe Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2015

Thank you for your review and your group had arrived very late at night and did not pack their bags away which was left on a car boot. We cannot be held responsible for neglect on our guests side as it is logical in Africa as anywhere in South Africa one needs to be careful with safety and put belongings away at night. We do recall that evening our camping area was fully booked and we also had 24 hour security. We do hope your enjoy the rest of your travels in South Africa. best Regards Hluhluwe Backpackers

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Additional Information about Hluhluwe Backpackers

Address: Cnr Memorial Gate & Hluhluwe Dam Rds | Hluhluwe Dam Road, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 33 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range: £19 - £28 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are the closest spot (1km) to the Hluhluwe/Imfolozi National Park. For the best 4x4 open vehicle game drives, visit Hluhluwe Backpackers!! We call the Big 5 our neighbours and enjoy a stunning 360 degree view onto the surrounding hills of Zululand and the mountains of the Park in the distance. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hluhluwe Backpackers South Africa - Zululand

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