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“Hands Down Best Hostel I've Ever Stayed At” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Green Elephant

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Green Elephant
3.0 of 5 Hostel   |   57 Milton Rd, Observatory, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Cape Town Central, South Africa
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Hands Down Best Hostel I've Ever Stayed At”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

Having travelled and backpacked extensively through six continents, I've stayed in literally hundreds of hostels. But nowhere have I encountered the warmth, camaraderie, and good times that I have at the Green Eli, easily making it the best hostel I have ever stayed at. The list of pros is long: vistas of Table Mountain and the Ocean, a strategic location next to main road for easy access to minibusses into town or out to the burbs, a beautiful main house, a pool (damn those Cape Town winters), a bar outside, a projector screen for big games, an emphasis on sustainable practices, 24 hour security and reception, free wifi, trips to all the must-see attractions, clean rooms with comfortable mattresses and actual duvets, a beer vending machine, unlimited tea and coffee, braii, oven-baked pizza, and African dance nights, and, of course, the fact that it is located in the liveliest neighbourhood of Cape Town, Obs. But undoubtedly, what sets this place apart is the people who work there. From the first minute that I walked through the main gate, I was greeted with help, hospitality, laughter, and a genuine warmth from the staff. They go above and beyond their duties every single day. They lent me an adaptor when I forgot to pack mine, helped me get set up with a SIM card, stored luggage, were ridiculously understanding and helpful when I had problems with my credit card, gave me heaps of helpful advice on Do's and Do Not's of living in South Africa, and so much more. Together we've ventured to Kalk Bay, explored the best nooks of the city, gone dancing on Long street, climbed mountains etc. Howard, Nyasha, Edwina, Shingy, Mandi, Esther, Ferai, Lucy and Maevis, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.

Although I only stayed for two weeks while searching for my own flat, I have found myself coming back again and again to the Green Eli. The friendships that I formed there with the staff and other guests have continued to grow. I look forward to many more nights of wine by the fire place, dinners around the kitchen table, rounds of Uno in the lounge, and drinks at the bar. A must when you come to Cape Town.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2012

The sense of community at this hostel is unrivaled by any hostel I've ever stayed in (and I've stayed in quite a few internationally!). Howard (the owner) is the nicest person you will ever encounter. He makes sure that his staff and guests are happy and shares a vast knowledge of Cape Town. This place is strategically located (from hospitals, grocery stores, universities, train station, restaurants etc...) and always buzzing with life. The only downfall: the rooms were all booked and I could not extend my stay for my three months in Cape Town. If I could, I would stay at the hostel for my entire time here. Nonetheless, I still visit the hostel a few times a week for its amazing sense of community (e.g. pizza nights, breakfast cook-offs). Former guests have also imprinted on this place.

I would strongly recommend without any reservation this hostel for all travelers (and interns in particular). Interns or students can meet others who may be working at the same organizations or attend the same schools. There are also amazing packaged city tours and activities for solo travelers to meet other travelers. You will be having so much fun that you won't ever want to leave!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2012

The place is about 5 minutes walk to the hospital, and the walk up is stunning. It feels as if the mountain is right behind the hospital, when in fact it’s miles and miles away. Further along, the medical faculty is 10 minutes away.

Also, Observatory is so cool. If you’re into clubs, there’s loads of them in the lower main road at night. I don’t generally enjoy clubs. In the day, there’s lots of clothes shop as well (although they’re a bit pricey for students). I went into Stones and Obz Cafe once to try out the comedy club, which was pretty cool. I’m pretty sure they’d have live music too somewhere around there. Narona, a pizza place nearby, makes the best goddamn pizza in the world.

The location’s pretty good since it’s so near to the buses (It’s R6 to go one way to the City Bowl) and the trains (R9 to go to the beachy places like Muizenberg, Kalk Bay or Simon’s Town). There’s minibuses around as well, which take you to the less travelled routes.

It’s also near to some shops like PicknPay for you to get your groceries.

I love the family feeling you get once you stay in the place. Nyasha, Edwina, Howard, Ester and Farai especially.They go out of their way to make me feel welcomed. Ester, one of the staff sort of became my substitute mother once she left on the 11th day. None of my friends came with me to South Africa, but it’s really easy to make friends with the travellers that stay here. SOme of them don’t even have plans for the day, and I found that my best days were usually those that were spontaneously planned with the random ones I met. Edwina really helped me with getting a free sim card (VodaCom). I got it late, but it was such a relief to be able to call the folks back home again.

I remember on my first week there, I skyved ward duties on Wednesday and the GE staffs were having a meeting/lunch. They asked me to call on my mum (who was sick most of the time she was there, poor thing) and they gave us some of the lunch they had. It was pretty awesome.

The rooms were cramped at first but became a bit more spacious in my second week since they took one single bed out. I could go online in my room so I pretty much stuck to the same old antisocial hermit that I usually am.

I don’t think you can use the swimming pool though even though it said it was one of the facilities provided there on the website. The best thing about the place is the kitchen, which made me gain 1.5kg. This is a massive feat since I am NEVER able to gain weight. Great place to meet the others too.

All in all, if you’re coming alone, and you want to stay in the Obs area, I’d definitely reccomend it. If you aren’t, I’d still recommend staying for a couple of days there and then finding a place to rent around Obs later.

It was a great place to stay! Met so many cool people here!

Room Tip: Tawny Room is an awesome room if you want to stay in an all girls dorm
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm, Sweden
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

I stayed at Green Ele for the first two weeks of my trip to Cape Town, but I ended up going there almost every day for the next 6 weeks!
Green Elephant is THE best place to get introduced to Cape Town, with the right location in Obz and an awesome crowd! It is such a fun place to hang out at - with the friendliest, funniest and warmest (and hard-working!!) staff! They helped me out when I needed advice about all sorts of things around town (the best of the touristy stuff/housing/parties/you name it!) and maybe as I did you will also make great friends if you stay there!
I can truly recommend all cool people that wants to really enjoy Cape Town to live at Green Elephant and talk to Edwina, Nyasha, Farai, Shingi, Mandi, Esther, Lucy and of course Howard!
Enjoy Cape Town and remember to SLOW DOWN!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2012

Cant thank the staff enough for a wonderful time i had! thanks everyone!

Room Tip: Any room is a good room
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aalborg, Denmark
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

Green Elefant was a place were everbody was welcome. The staff was always so friendly, funny and helpfull. It was kind of expensive compairs to some of the places on Long street, but it was worth it! Thank you Green Elefant for a great time :)

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

I stayed here for 2 weeks and loved it. Staff were so helpful, it was clean with a good kitchen and free wifi. It's in the lively and relatively safe neighbourhood of Observatory, with lots of restaurants and shops nearby, and only a short minibus ride into downtown Capetown. Did I mention that the staff were awesome?

Room Tip: Upstairs rooms get a nice breeze, which cools them down and keeps away mosquitos
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Green Elephant

Address: 57 Milton Rd, Observatory, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Cape Town > Observatory
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty lodging in Observatory
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Green Elephant 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
En-suite, private room, dormitories and camping. BazBus Stop. The Green Elephant is the closest hostel to Groote Schuur Hospital, in the heart of Observatory, where University of Cape Town (UCT) students from all around the world live and meet each other. The attractions are pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, a golf driving range, the original Observatory, Groote Schuur Hospital (where the world's first heart transplant took place), theatres and small art galleries. The annual Obs Festival is held on the first Saturday in December. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Green Elephant Observatory, Cape Town

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