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“Service offered does not reflect the price paid.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Gibela Backpackers Lodge

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Gibela Backpackers Lodge
119 Ninth Avenue | Morningside, Durban 4001, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 60 Specialty Lodging in Durban
Manchester, England
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Service offered does not reflect the price paid.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

Gibela is described in the Lonely Planet as being "boutique" which is certainly the case - very tastefully decorated and spotlessly clean. Private safes in the dorm rooms were a great addition too. The breakfasts were lovely, and the staff were very helpful. On arrival I was given a map and orientated to the area - I was also given handy tips on where not to go!

My issue with the place was it closed at 2030. The owner took all the cushions from the outdoor area inside and locked up the reception. This took the computer and the bar area out of action. The wifi at the place is very expensive and runs out very quickly so when he shut up shop I wasn't able to get online (I use my evenings to research areas and book future destinations). It also meant a walk, in the dark, to the store for a cold drink. These are minor inconveniences but in comparison to other places, at R200 a night, it was twice the price with a fraction of the service and amenities. Despite being a BazBus pick up point it doesn't open in the morning until after the BazBus has left which leaves you sitting on the steps waiting for the bus - not great.

The place is run around the owner's life - closing in time for him to have a pleasant evening and opening late enough for him to go to the gym in the morning. There should be more emphasis on service particularly in comparison to other, cheaper, options throughout South Africa.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Gibela Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, July 10, 2012
Hello Daniel
Many thanx for the kind words and the appreciation of our attention to detail in the furbishing of Gibela (not many travellers take the time to acknowledge our input/effort). Our top selling points is our spotless facilities, great showers (allways hot water) and our breakfast, which is of course is build into the price (this in a cafe would most probably cost you R 50).
We try to make each traveller to Durbans visit unique by giving them the extra few tips where to go what to see and what to avoid. It's good to hear that your check-in/arrival was to your satisfaction (I was actually away at the weekend you stayed and its good to see that the staff keeps the Gibela flag high).
Our reception hours (07H15 till 20H30) are actually set to the needs of our guests. 90% of our guests are out and about by 19H30 exploring what Durban has to offer on the night scene, either eating out at the fine restaurants within 5 min walk or going to live music and on weekends sport events. This we encourage 100% so that travellers can actually get out and meet the Durbanites. AND due to their great evenings out a lie-in is always welcome.
As for taking the cushions away - if it wasn't for the neighbours cats that discovered them and destroyed two they would be out 24/24. Were not really a bary type of establishment. we offer beers and wine for a relaxing social chat rather than offer a party on site.
Wi-Fi is available 24 hours (which you seem to have had) but yes when we lock up reception our guest computer also is locked up. Wi Fi is sold by bandwith and not time - so it depends what sites you visit as to how much on-line time you will have. Our cheapest package which is R20 usually last 45 - 60 min if one only does e-mail (which most of guests usually do).
It sounds like the street lights were out the weekend you stayed, as I was not there I cant comment on this but apologise on behalf of Durban Municipality. Normlly our neighbourhood is well lit up - to the extent that females feel safe to walk to the restaurants all on their own.
As far as the price of bednights are concerned - at the end of the day it's all by choice. As you were using the Lonely Planet you could have seen our rates are higher than other backpackers in Durban. BUT you decided to buy into the Gibela Experience. Just to explain the private safes in the dorms come at an expense, we dont serve chicory coffee but 100% pure instant coffee, what you had at breakfast wasn't margarine but pure butter. The spotless clean facilities, endless hot water, well stocked self actering kitchen with free spices, tea coffee all come at a cost and that is what the Gibela Guest buy when they stay with us. It's about the experience rather than the amenities.
Baz Bus travellers makes up about 5% of our clientele, as I stated earlier we are not a party hostel. I see no logic why someone from management must be putting travellers on their way if all they have to do is get on public transport.
We as owners or managers also have a life believe it or not. I don't think I do a shabby job being at reception from 07H15 till 20H30 7 days a week. This is the time that majority of our guests are either checking in or out or need assistance with planning their travels for which we are always to happy to assist.
A price tag is what one buys into - and is always a matter of choice..
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112 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Vaalwater
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

It is the second time I have stayed at Gibela. Elmer was warm, friendly and accommodating. It is well situated from FLorida Road with all the restaurants as well as not too far from the beach front (although not walking distance) but transport very easy to organise. Gibela is not the conventional backpackers - very clever move - party up the road but come back and sleep in a calm peaceful room!! Rooms are simple but spotless and very safe! Love the decor, love the breakfasts and would definitely recommend it to other travellers. Go Elmer!! Keep up the good work!!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
New Orleans, Louisiana
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2012

Owner was unpleasant to be around, and seemed to have difficulty not being rude, so much so we went to stay somewhere else. If you are sensitive to being around OCD types, avoid this place as its a major bummer.

The maids who work for him, however, do a stellar job. One can guess why.

Breakfasts were nice and the place is clean and good location though.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elmar Gibela Ow... T, Owner at Gibela Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
Yet another one reviewer wonder - don't know why tripadvisor give these moaners a platform. You should have a minimum of reviews set before reviews go public.
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london
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2012

Enjoyed my stay at Gibela. Owner very informative.
The breakfast was very good. I had a car and the secure parking was a bonus.
Would stay there again

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
London
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2012

I've stayed here a couple times; proves a good location as just off the main road, yet walking distance to Florida Road (party central) and also Market (an upmarket restaurant). Limited but usually adequate parking space and a simple breakfast is available. The dorm rooms, bathrooms and kitchen are all well attended to and very clean.

Good value for money.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Gibela, Owner at Gibela Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 14, 2012
Many thanks for the kind words and pleased to see that you keep coming back. Hope you enjoyed your meal at Market Restaurant.
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

A friend recommended Gibela Backpackers to me for the night I was passing through Durban and what a good recommendation it was. You should be clear before booking that this is not a hotel but a hostel with a really great atmosphere.

Situated in what appeared to be a quiet and fairly laid back part of the city it is nonetheless very convenient for transport links.

The hostel is spotlessly clean and attractively set out. Communal areas both outside and in the house are comfortable and the self catering facilities are well equipped. My room was simply but more than adequately furnished and the bathrooms were of a high standard. The buffet breakfast was fine and offered sufficient variety. Internet access either from a hostel PC or via Wifi was reasonably priced, seemingly reliable and by local standards fairly fast.

What really makes this place stand out is friendliness of the service provided. The owner is clearly happy to share his knowledge of both the city and the surrounding region. The fact that one fellow guest was making arrangements to extend her stay while another was arranging for a group of friends to make a diversion to stay there was testament to how good this place really is.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Gibela, Owner at Gibela Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 14, 2012
Hopefully on your next trip to Durban you will spend more than just one night. Durban has way to much to explore and discover for a 1 day stay. Good to hear you enjoyed your stay and found that Gibela lived up to your standards.
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Brussels
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2011

We stayed for 2 nights at Gibela Backpackers in a double room. The room was clean and comfortable. Common kitchen, bathroom etc. were very clean and breakfast was excellent. We were also very impressed with the friendly and helpful staff. The location is very good, only a few minutes walk from Florida Road in a safe part of durban where you can go out at night. We highly recommend this place for a stay in durban

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gibela Backpackers Lodge

Address: 119 Ninth Avenue | Morningside, Durban 4001, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Durban
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 60 Specialty Lodging in Durban
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
TOP CHOICE - Lonely Planet 2012 "If this hostel (a tastefully converted 1950's Tuscan home) were a B&B, it would be described as 'boutique'. One of Durban's best hostels, it has sparkling surfaces and rooms neat enough to pass an army major's inspection. It even provides a continental breakfast- to be enjoyed in an attractive indoor-outdoor dining area." Gibela is conveniently located in the safe, residential area of Morningside and within walking distance to the center of Durban’s entertainment life, Florida Road, where there are restaurants, cocktail bars, clubs and coffee shops galore. ... more   less 
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