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“Flashpacking at its best”
Review of The Backpack

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The Backpack
Certificate of Excellence
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Flashpacking at its best”
Reviewed 8 August 2014

I spent 5 weeks travelling in Southern Africa, and must say that overall (compared with other countries I had previously visited) the general standard of hostel (or backpacker as they are referred to in SA) is high. However, on arrival to the Backpack you could quickly see that it operates in a different league to that of SA hostels - in terms of modern comfort to other hostels. It just oozes trendy but somehow balances this with a laid back vibe.

We stayed in a four bed private ensuite dorm - which was more akin to a hotel room. The room was large, the beds extremely comfortable and the ensuite bathroom fantastic. While it was more expensive than what we had paid in other hostels (around 100euro for the 4 nights), we were effectively paying for a hotel room - so 20euro a night was nothing, and a welcome treat after sharing dorms etc for the previous 5 weeks. We wanted to "splash out" at the end of our trip - and compared to what a hotel would cost, this was a fraction of the cost, and gave the exact same standard of luxuries we wanted. There are of course plenty of larger cheaper dorms (which looked great also) and private double rooms available.

The vibe is very chilled, not like a party hostel at all - but there is good music playing in the common area, which is great for setting the mood (Lucas on the bar is great - and welcomes you providing some good tracks which he will play on the sound system). The breakfast is fantastic, the coffee good and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to chill out at in the hostel (it can accommodate up to 104 people, so you can imagine the size). This all adds to the informal atmosphere which makes meeting other travellers very easy (e.g. random board games with travellers and accompanying beers in the common area before hitting the town).

In terms of location - you're 5 minutes' walk from Long Street (bars, clubs, restaurants), 3 minutes' walk from Kloof Street (the same) and 10 minutes taxi / drive from Table Mountain. There is 24 hour security and ample car parking.

Finally, the staff are amazing. Lisa on reception is great and SO passionate about CT. She knows so much about the place. Lucas on the bar is great. They also offer a taxi airport drop off and pick up (it was 270 rand in total for 3 of us to go to the airport - so handy and reliable).

If you're travelling SA and either starting or finishing in Cape Town, please do yourself a favour and stay here. It's no wonder it's been repeatedly voted one of the best hostels in the world - the Backpack really has something special going on, and I'm glad I got to experience it.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hannadanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 18 August 2014
Thank you for reviewing our hostel on Triapdvisor.

We are delighted to hear that you were able to end your travels with us at The Backpack and we exceeded your expectations.

We too love our location, as we are close to all the important spots for guests to enjoy, but far away enough for you to still have a peaceful nights sleep.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (115)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2014

Definitely one of the best hostels I've ever been to. This place is centrally located (walking distance) to Long Street (the main street in the city center with great shopping and bars and very close to Table Mountain (a 5 minute cab ride away). The staff is incredibly helpful and will happily guide you to the main points of interest in town. There's always something going on in the common area so it's easy to meet a lot of other travelers. The hostel attracts young, adventurous people but it doesn't get so rowdy that you're surrounded by a bunch of loud drunks. It's clean and the bathrooms are huge. I know this sounds funny, but the bedding here is also incredibly comfortable. I was here during winter and at night, it gets really cold-they gave each bed a comforter, 3 blankets and hot water pads, pretty impressive as far as hostels go. The price is fair. Drinks at the bar are also really cheap-ask for Lucas or Matthew at the bar. Amazing guys. Lisa at the front desk is also awesome for local tips-really outgoing and helpful. Great balance of guys and girls and ages of all kinds. Good energy and atmosphere. I met some of the most amazing people at this place. After staying here, wouldn't stay anywhere else in Cape Town! Will definitely be back!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank missnugen226
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 18 August 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our hostel on Tripadvisor.

We are so happy to hear that you loved your entire stay with us and can't wait to come back.

It is awesome to hear that you were happy with the services provided by our staff, especially Lucas, Matthew and Lisa. The staff always strive to ensure that our guests feel like that are part of the family.

We are so glad to hear that you loved the bedding that we provided you with on the cold Cape Town nights.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2014

The backpack collected Karen and I from the airport and were pleasant and informative en-route to the hostel. This set a cheery perspective on Cape town and also gave us an idea of what to do. Once we arrived we left our bags, went to a recommended bistro for lunch and a local ale. It was excellent.
The rooms in the backpack were very clean, coffee and tea, extra amenities and modern. The hostel had a range of areas for reading, socialising, eating, drinking, sitting by the pool and playing pool. The travel desk were also very helpful. cheery and happy to help with all of our questions. It helped make Cape Town one of our most enjoyable places.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ChrisPLavelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 18 August 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our hostel.

We are absolutely delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us while in Cape Town.

It is lovely to hear that you were able to make use of the services provided by our travel desk and found all the ammenities we had in your room to be useful.

We hope to welcome you back in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 July 2014

We spent only one night at The Backpack. The place is well located. We got a twin room with shared bathroom as we were in 2 adults and one infant. All towels and bed sheets were clean and the room was really neat. The kitchen was clean as well as all common areas. The only issue I found was the toilet room. It was clean, however the toilet was placed outside the house. So there was no roof or protection to go from the bedroom to the toilet room. We were unfortunate to be in Cape Town when the weather was bad, raining all day long. So to use the toilet we couldn't avoid the rain. I would suggest to The Backpack just to add a roof between the dorms to the toilet, just to avoid this problem during a raining night.
Despite this, everything was really good. The atmosphere was nice. People who work there were very kind. The breakfast is simple but well made.
I would return there, but I would make sure that next time I would get a room with private bathroom.

Room Tip: For more than one night stay with a family I would suggest a room with private bathroom.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Camillesra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our hostel on Tripadvisor.

We are happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us while in Cape Town, even if it was only for one night.

We are sorry to hear that you had to get wet to go to the toilet. We will be sure to make a note of this and look into fixing this.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Netherlands
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2014

if you want a clean and nice place this is it!!
service was good. i slept in a all girls dorm with own bathroom and i really like it. the beds were great. there is a bit off a noise but this stops before midnight and earpluggs or yoining the party helps!
it is not on long street but a 3 min away, i think that that is a plus for a good night!

Room Tip: there is only free wifi in the common areas
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lucasmj365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our hostel.

We are delighted that you felt our hostel is a good place to stay while in Cape Town.

We are glad that you enjoyed the ladies only dorm, and all the amenities it has to offer.

It is lovely that you were able to make use of the Free Wifi we have on offer.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St Albans
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

The Backpack is a perfect hostel if you want to explore Cape Town. It's location is central and near to everything, including Long Street and other attractions. The staff at the reception were very welcoming and helpful - they can book everything and anything you want to do in Cape Town without you even needing to lift a finger! I stayed in a private room (Cheetah), and it was perfect for a short stay. The room was cosy, clean and comfy - the bed was especially comfy! The ensuite bathroom was exceptionally clean and new towels were supplied everyday which was a really nice touch, the one downside was once the bathroom steamed up it wouldn't unsteam until the next day, so after a shower it was pretty hard to see. The bar has a great array of drinks with lovely staff who are always chatty and offering interesting recommendations for things to do in Cape Town (we absolutely loved Lucas!). The array of facilities like the Pool table and the swimming pool provide things to do in the hostel when you're feeling tired and not very adventurous. Lastly, the self-catering kitchen is perfectly clean and boxes with name labels are supplied so your food is safe.
Overall a great place to stay.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marthataylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our hostel.

It is delightful to hear that you loved your stay with us and all the facilities in your room.

We are glad that you found your mattress to be comfortable during your stay with us. We only have in our rooms want we ourselves would want.

It is awesome to hear that you were happy with the services provided by the staff at the travel desk and your were especially happy with the friendliness of Lucas.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 July 2014

The backpack was clean and comfortable with helpful staff. The wifi was pretty fast, despite being localized to the reception and bar area. Food and drinks we affordable and good. The building was secure and the bathrooms were quite nice. Definitely better than other hostels in Cape Town.

Room Tip: I stayed in one of the 8-bed dorms and it was very comfortable.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hkayl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EleniCPT, Senior Duty Manager at The Backpack, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our hostel on Tripadvisor.

We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us.

We are glad that you felt safe while at the Backpack and you found the hostel to be well priced.

It is unfortunate that you didn't realise that we do have Wifi available throughout the entire hostel, it is only the Free Wifi that is available in the bar/cafe area.

We hope to welcome you again in the near future.

Kind Regards


Eleni Good
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Backpack

Property: The Backpack
Address: 74 New Church Street | Tamboerskloof, Cape Town Central 8001, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Cape Town > Cape Town Central > City Bowl , Tamboerskloof
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 125 Speciality Lodging in Cape Town Central
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Selected as best value stay in the world 2014 by Lonely Planet and Best Hostel in Africa 2014 by Hostelworld customers. Making a difference is more than just an initiative of The Backpack, it is the way we are, the way we work and the way we live. South Africa's original award-winning backpacker hostel and travel agency is simply the best place to make your travel arrangements, with all the facilities you can expect from a hip, urban hostel, such as stylishly decorated Afro-chic rooms offering superior comfort and quality, with shared or en-suite bathrooms, private electronic safes and in-house ATM. Stay in touch in our internet cafe or use WiFi throughout the hostel; swim in the pool with a stunning view of Table Mountain, or meet like-minded international travellers in our buzzing Cafe or Bar. We offer a variety of rooms, ranging from 8- and 4-bed dorms, to singles, twins, doubles and family rooms. We have recently built a loft apartment with amazing views of Table Mountain featuring its own kitchen. The hostel has communal kitchen and dining facilities; lots of sociable and chill-out spots to relax in. A night on the town in Long Street, gorgeous Clifton and Camps Bay beaches, Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront and the city centre is just a stone's throw away. Awards: Awarded Best Hostel in South Africa 2014, 2013, 2010, 2009 & 2008, Awarded Best Hostel in Africa 2014, Lonely Planet Top 10 Best Value Stays 2014. Independent winner for Best Practice Economic Impact - Imvelo Awards 2011, Independent winner for Best Single Resource Management Program in Waste Management - Imvelo Awards 2011, "One of the world's 10 coolest hostels" Guardian UK - 2010, Winner of 2011 AA Quality Assured Accommodation ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Backpack Hotel Cape Town Central
The Backpack Cape Town, South Africa

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