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“Didn't want to leave” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge

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Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge
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5.0 of 5 Hostel   |   R74, Jagersrust 3354, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Norwich, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Didn't want to leave”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

I'd read the reviews here before arriving and was a bit worried about staying here, but I am so glad I did stay, I absolutely adored this place!

Unlike other reviewers, I didn't feel I was getting the hard sell. It's true that there's no shop nearby - Eleanor told me this when I booked and advised to stock up if I wanted to cook for myself. When I arrived, I was given loads of information about what there is to do in the area - they told me of plenty of walks I could do without a guide. And of course they told me about the guided walks they run too. Not being an experienced hiker, I opted the guided walks and really enjoyed them. Adrian is a great guide and full of interesting stories. He's good fun too.

The dorms and most rooms are well away from the bar, so there's no late night noise to worry about. mattresses are really comfy, good and thick and new looking (they change them often apparently). The showers have good water pressure and are clean and nicely done. There are three public kitchen areas - all really well stocked and maintained, loads of loos and showers dotted about the place, as well as a sauna, a jacuzzi and a swimming pool.

There was a friendly, open atmosphere and they've worked so hard to create a beautiful place with affordable prices. The views are incredible, the facilities outstanding, the people are lovely, friendly, chatty. I definitely want to come back. As we were leaving, everybody was saying they were sorry to leave. I don't normally post on Trip Advisor, but really felt the need to offer an alternative opinion about this place. Thanks to everyone at Amphitheatre for a brilliant five days - I loved every minute.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
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182 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    54
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pretoria, South Africa
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

We are experienced hikers and rock climbers who also had a similar experience with the management as some of the reviewers below. All we wanted was some advice on the area and all we got was a hard sell on tours we didn't need to do! This is particularly the case for the Tugela Falls walk. If you have your own transport and are reasonably fit with half a brain and some hiking experience, you probably don't need to spend 500 rand on the tour. When management realised we were not into their tours, it felt difficult to get further assistance; their attitude was both condescending and poor (particularly a guy named Adrian). This is a shame as the place is otherwise set up really well. Just take anything management says with a massive grain of salt. We also heard that basing yourself in Clarens which is a nearby arty town is as close or closer to some of the hiking, including the Amphitheatre, with much nicer management.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Hogland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

This could be one of the best backpackers in South Africa, great views and facilities. The new private rooms are lovely, with unobstructed views of the Berg.
Reception is slow and can feel like your getting the "hard-sale" to do tours. The bar is very cool, and the music does pump till late, so dont stay to close to it, if you want a quiet night. The location is good, in the sense that you have a feeling of space, but bare in mind you are rather far from the closest shop. Kids enjoyed pool and all the space. Overall a very funky, fun holiday.

Room Tip: New private rooms, have own patio with great view, and quiet.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Graz, Österreich
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

meals are too expensive and there is no shop around.
only two tours are available without alternatives. the receptionist had only wrong informations about the surrounding sights (i was better informed!) and was sometimes very unfriendly and not cooping.
the scene is great so is the camping site.
nights are busy, loud and sleepless.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We enjoyed the location as a base for hiking, but did not appreciate the tone of the management.

We are experienced hikers who have hiked numerous peaks around the world. When we asked about overnights, the concierge tried to convince us that "this was africa" and thus the "trails are poorly marked and dangerous, and there are dagga smugglers and you need a guide." Ultimately this just made him look stupid. We had been around South Africa plenty to know that National and Provincial parks are all really well managed and professionally run, and that this guy was just an idiot trying to sell us a tour we didn't want.

So we just dismissed him and the next day drove to the gate to get a proper map and great info from the park employee. We did two great hikes, one to the base of Tugela Falls, and one overnight to the top. Wonderful hiking.

After our first day hike we did return to Amphitheater because they have great facilities. Hot tub. Pool. Good dinners. Nice Bar. Great campground. Wonderful bathrooms with hot water. And reasonable prices.

But they spoiled the experience a bit by being deceitful and unhelpful. Plenty of Baz Bus tourists come through with no personal transport looking for a guided tour. But when you get independent travelers who self-drive and just want info, don't bull$h!t them. Help them.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Cape Town
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

The backpackers itself is one of the best I have stayed in. The beds are comfortable, the bathrooms are clean, the self catering kitchens are all well equipped and the setting is beautiful.
Unfortunately this is ruined by the feeling that the owners only want your money. Check in for about 8 people took over half an hour because the woman at reception insisted on showing everyone slideshows of the tours they do, even after very few people had shown an interest in them. They have a fairly reasonably priced food menu, however this stops at about 3 in the afternoon, meaning you are forced to pay R100 for dinner, which is a set menu. I would definitely advise people staying here to bring enough food to last the duration of their stay otherwise it will prove to be very costly. They also don't have credit card facilities, something which they don't advertise well so bring cash.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Cheap n Budget accommodation with selfcatering facilities along with jacuzzi, bar, pub, pool and lots of entertainment. Vast grassy lands and awesome facillities. Very helpful for organizing trips and information in and around Drakensberg mountains.

Room Tip: Look for private group rooms which has awesome scenic landscape views.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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Additional Information about Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge

Address: R74, Jagersrust 3354, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Jagersrust
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Jagersrust
Hotel Class:5 star — Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The venue is really amazing. The lodge is found on a stunning 300 hectares of land near the foot of the Amphitheatre (Royal Natal National Park) and Cathedral Peak. The Mpande River weaves through the lands. There are buck, small mammals and a fantastic array of wild birds near the 2 dams and a picture postcard view from the lawn, a 360 degree panorama that takes in the entire Northern range from the Amphitheatre all the way to Cathkin Peak. The lodge is a base from which you can explore different sections and all the highlights of the Drakensberg Park each day. Built from stone, thatch and wood, the place is like an artist's sculpture with stained glass, metal and wooden carvings, mosaics and beautiful indigenous rockeries. ... more   less 

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