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“One of the best places we stayed in S.A.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel

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Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel
4.0 of 5 Hostel   |   Sani Pass Road | 10.5 km along Sani Pass road on left, Underberg 3257, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“One of the best places we stayed in S.A.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

We stayed in Sani Lodge in July 2012. Have to say, it was the best place we stayed at in S.A. aside from tenting it in Kruger. Mathew was our guide, he was easily one of the nicest and most sincere people we met. Really great guide. Met some lovely lovely backpackers. The people operating the hostel were so helpful and accommodating. We phoned on a morning from Durban and they had a bed for us in a rondivaal Absolute peaceful paradise, no TV!!! Plenty of people to talk to.

Room Tip: Rondivaals might be a little bit more expensive but are well worth it.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, May 27, 2013
Hello , thank you for your review. We have kept our policy of " no TV " since the start of Sani Lodge in 1992 and don't worry , it will not change. Guests do prefer to interact with each other face to face and enjoy a break from the "busyness" of life.
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90 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 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 (16)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Swansea, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

A real top-quality backpackers. Comfortable, basic, accommodation, interesting people, lots of information, well-run - by a helpful lady called Scholar - and good location. We had a rondavel - comfortable, clean - good value for money. Bit of a knack to the door lock - and our neighbours got locked in! Bring mosquito coils. Food was simple, delicious fayre - again - good value for money - and nice to eat with other people. Not particularly welcoming of smokers - which may be a good or bad thing for you.
We did a 1 day trip up the Sani Pass which was most excellent, our guide - Matthew was very knowledgeable about all sorts of local information, happy to share his insight, opinionated (in a good way) and even provocative - and humorous with it - everything I could wish for from a guide and I felt a day in his company was worth the money alone - let alone the amazing scenery and cultural insight into Lesotho. I wished we had more time to chill and spend more time with good people in a world class area.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, May 27, 2013
Hi, thank you for writing a review. The rondavel door locks have been repaired. Sorry for the inconvenience. We do have a natural citronella oil mosquito repellant in the office for these annoying summer insects but thankfully we are situated at too high an altitude for malaria to be a worry. Our non-smoking policy is based on the SA national policy which is indeed very strict and to which we adhere and support. We are glad you could go on a tour into Lesotho and we have passed on your compliment to Matthew , the guide.
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Köln
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

We stayed in a Rondaveld at Sani Lodge for two nights. For the rate of 400 R for the double room it was really excellent. The Rondaveld had nice views on the mountain range and a comfortable bed. Behind a wall there was a rather basic but clean bathroom with hot shower. It didnt have a door so there was not too much privacy, but it was ok for us.

I think Sani Lodge is a great place for backpackers. They have a nice communal area with open kitchen and sofas etc. where people meet and chat in the evenings. There's also a lot of information around for trips and further travels. You can do hikes right from the lodge, for which they have maps (for free, deposit only).

Sani Lodge also offers a lot of tours into the mountains, to caves etc. We did the tour up the famous Sani Pass. Although it was quite price (around 500 R) it was a great trip. Our tour guide Steward seemed to know the area very well and also had a lot to tell about the life of people living in Lesotho. Try and find out how many people are going. We were 9 in the car and it was a bit cramped especially for those sitting in the back.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, May 27, 2013
Hi , thank you for your review. We have a curtain separating the bathroom from the sleeping area in each rondavel now for increased privacy, so do come back and visit! As far as running tours up Sani Pass is concerned, the different tour operators have ended up with different philosophies and thus run different vehicles. Our philosophy is to offer as full a day as possible, going further into Lesotho and including as many elements in the day as practical within the confines of time. We also aim to use the best guides and our tours are the cheapest by far. Our tour price is currently R60 per person cheaper than the other operators, and unlike them, it also includes lunch and the various village contributions we make. In order to achieve this, we need to run vehicles with a larger capacity which allows the economics to work. In addition, the Landrover is THE iconic Sani Pass vehicle, having been the 4x4 of choice since the Pass was pioneered by David Alexander in the 1950's. Line up a Landrover and another vehicle in the car park and ask our clients to take their choice, 90% will rush straight for the Landrover despite it being more cramped inside. If comfort is your main priority, then possibly a trip with a different operator would suit you better. We do try and mitigate things for those in the back by our guides suggesting clients swop around during the day and of course we do not always run full (wish we did!!)!
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Greyton, South Africa
Top Contributor
158 reviews 158 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
442 helpful votes 442 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

Best kept secret in SA... As locals we are amazed at the affordability of an excellent holiday in our own country. This four star home from home is incredible and lives us to all its reviews, photographs and promises. It is authentic, genuine and real about sustainable tourism supporting local communities. This well oiled 20 year old gem is spotless, efficient, friendly and comfortable. There are luxuries too...down duvets, crisp, clean sheets, wholesome enormous meals with farm fresh organic butter, eggs and ice cream. Beautiful setting and we were lulled to sleep by the sound of streams and frogs. The added bonus is that their ethical tour company is on site and all tours leave from outside their door. Delicious packed lunches on the tours and a delightful tea garden on site. Sani trip including Lesotho, cave painting, hikes, and so much more. Knowledgeable and professional tour guides. This is a calling for Russel and Simone and they are passionate about what they do. They are an inspiration for us all. We leave with joy in our hearts and we will be back soon, with all our friends and family. Many thanks for your vision, determination and hospitality.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed review about your stay at Sani Lodge. Russell and I were fans of the British Television series named " The Good Life" , hoping that one day we could live out our dream of being self sufficient on a piece of land. We have it much better than Tom and Barbara though, as our land is far from suburbia, has the added bonus of our own delicious mountain water supply, unpolluted air ,plus many interesting animals and birds to live alongside us . To be able to share nature's inspirational gifts with both local and international visitors is part of our vision.
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Durban
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

Honestly, nothing to complain about. Tranquil setting, relaxed, informative, comfortable, clean. Would definately stay again! Wonderful veranda for sipping coffee or wine overlooking sani pass. Perfect location for hikes

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Honestly, nothing to complain about. Tranquil setting, relaxed, informative, comfortable, clean. Would definately stay again! Wonderful veranda for sipping coffee or wine overlooking sani pass. Perfect location for hikes

Thank you for your feedback. We hope that you do decide to return here one day and then you can enjoy our new wooden deck facing the mountains!
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Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

Set in the picturesqueness Drakensberg, this backpacker offers everything you want and more!
Very comfy beds, a warm communal area, plenty of showers and 3 levels of hikes on the doorstep.
A stones throw away from the Sani Pass and Lesotho.

I would recommend this place to anyone!

Room Tip: Bunk beds are a bit hard.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Set in the picturesqueness Drakensberg, this backpacker offers everything you want and more!
Very comfy beds, a warm communal area, plenty of showers and 3 levels of hikes on the doorstep.
A stones throw away from the Sani Pass and Lesotho.

I would recommend this place to anyone!
Room Tip: Bunk beds are a bit hard.
See more room tips

Thank you for your review from your stay with us. Russell and my personal experiences from staying in certain backpackers in other countries, years back ,when we were younger, was of sagging mattresses, leaving one with a backache in the morning, so we were determined to make sure, that nobody awoke from a night's sleep at the lodge, with a sore back from a soft mattress. But a firm mattress may not be to everyone's liking.
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New York City, New York
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

I and a couple of friends stayed at Sani Pass one night in October. When we arrived it was pouring rain, and the free tea and fire in the cozy common area were very welcome. I stayed in an otherwise empty dorm that was clean and outfitted with hot water bottles for the chilly night. Dinner the night we stayed was ok but not great--large pile of ground beef, large pile of pasta, some boiled carrots, meringues (the best part) for dessert--but people said other nights were better, and the breakfast buffet was lovely. We went on several hikes on the advice of staff with provided maps and instructions. The hike that essentially leaves from the backyard is a lovely walk, and we also did the balancing rocks hike, which I would highly recommend. We also went on the 4x4 tour of Sani Pass + Lesotho, which offered amazing views and included lots of stops (not just lots of driving), and the guides were awesome. I had a great time and would happily return!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOFF1111, Owner at Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
I and a couple of friends stayed at Sani Pass one night in October. When we arrived it was pouring rain, and the free tea and fire in the cozy common area were very welcome. I stayed in an otherwise empty dorm that was clean and outfitted with hot water bottles for the chilly night. Dinner the night we stayed was ok but not great--large pile of ground beef, large pile of pasta, some boiled carrots, meringues (the best part) for dessert--but people said other nights were better, and the breakfast buffet was lovely. We went on several hikes on the advice of staff with provided maps and instructions. The hike that essentially leaves from the backyard is a lovely walk, and we also did the balancing rocks hike, which I would highly recommend. We also went on the 4x4 tour of Sani Pass + Lesotho, which offered amazing views and included lots of stops (not just lots of driving), and the guides were awesome. I had a great time and would happily return!

Thank you for your personal feedback. We realise that pasta is definitely the least popular dish with Backpackers and seldom serve it . Pasta and mince with vegetables used to be served to those guests who arrived late and without booking dinner so that they could at least have a hot meal . Our vegetables are never boiled actually - they are steamed in special pots to keep the goodness and flavour in them . They are always fresh and not frozen from a packet. We serve two different vegetables with winter meals and in summer, we mostly serve one vegetable and a mixed green fresh salad .
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Additional Information about Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel

Address: Sani Pass Road | 10.5 km along Sani Pass road on left, Underberg 3257, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Underberg
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Underberg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sani Lodge Backpackers - Fair Trade in Tourism certified; provides a wide range of accommodation for the Independant Traveller deep in the Southern Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa, bordering directly onto the World Heritage listed uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Russell and Simone Suchet started the Lodge in 1992 and are both passionate about the wilderness, mountains and Lesotho.Situated at the foot of the Sani Pass, the Gateway to the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, the Lodge is a peaceful country haven with a laid back atmosphere.As a 4 star graded Backpackers , our accommodation is simple and affordable, cosy, clean and comfortable. Please note that if you are looking for Hotel room service, porters , private jacuzzi , champagne on arrival and personal valet , then this is not the place for you.......You will find that SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS caters for the needs of the "Independent Traveller With A Conscience ",seeking affordability, the desire to support sustainable social upliftment via direct investment practices and stakeholder involvement, environmental conservation practices , support businesses that employ previously disadvantaged people and offer them training , seek the opportunity to meet other travellers and also to learn about the local culture of the Zulus, view Bushmen paintings for which the Berg is renowned and experience the unique world of Lesotho and its hospitable Basotho people ,as well as satisfy their sense of adventure through activities on offer via DRAKENSBERG ADVENTURES. Sani Lodge is at the start of the famous Giant's Cup Trail. It is an ideal base for selfguided hikes and guided hiking, viewing Bushman Rock Art, exploring Lesotho from one to six days, horseriding, mountain biking, swimming in mountain rivers and pools, river rafting in summer , viewing birds, animals and wildflowers unique to this area.For guests on a strict budget, we suggest camping or dormitory options. Couples may choose from simple standard rooms or en suite traditionally built rondavels. Families have the choice of one s/c cottage at the Backpackers or Honeyguide and Aloe s/c cottages which are not part of the Backpackers. All rooms serviced daily and all bedding including feather duvets provided. Relax on the new wooden deck with a view of the mountains of Lesotho , take a dip in the new swimming pool, curl up in front of a log fire in the cosy common room or novel braai / barbeque area at night. Home cooked meals available - breakfast, light lunches and dinner . Craft shop supporting small scale entrepreneurs, free WIFI rural style, laundry services.We do NOT charge "peak season" rates. Our prices are the same throughout the year! RATES;75PPPN FOR CAMPING, R125PPPN DORM BED, R185PPPN SHARING FOR A STANDARD ROOM, R230PPPN SHARING FOR ENSUITE RONDAVEL. FAMILY COTTAGES RANGE FROM R250PPPN TO R300PPPN. ... more   less 
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