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“average backpackers set in paradise” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Buffalo Bay Backpackers

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Buffalo Bay Backpackers
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1 Main Road, Buffalo Bay, Knysna 6573, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 30 Hotels in Knysna
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“average backpackers set in paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2011

If you like isolated beeches, swimming, chilling and the ability to day trip kynsna this place is amazing. We were a little out of season so had the place pretty much to ourselves. Having said that the service here really does stink- staff dominate the facilities, we asked about dinner options and were fobbed off despitew there being menu advertisdements, no toilet paper etc. When the owner's there for an hour in the morning everyone looks buisy but that's it. We did have people next door on our last night and must say the walls weren't particulalry soundproof. Still location can really carry a place and we'll be back here for sure!

Room Tip: good luck!
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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9 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 stars
  • Service
    1.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Goteborg
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2011

After a few attempts to contact this place I finaly managed. They didn´t accept Visa and I had to deposit the full amount, when arriving in South Africa.

When arriving at the backpackers we got a room in what looked like a crack house from hell. There has been no maintenance done what so ever for at least 20 years - but the worst was the stench. After a while we managed to lokate the sorce of the worst oder - a rubbish bin that someone had releaved themselves in, was standing next to our bed.

I´ve traveled extensivley alla over the world, and often with very little funds. But this was the absolutley worst place I´ve ever seen through out my years.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2011

This backpackers is located ON the beach: great! There's not much else around here but thats fine for a few days. Best beach spot ever! Nice people that were running the place though not very business-minded. The whole atmosphere was great with a nice fireplace inside for the cold nights, relaxation to the max. The rooms are quite basic but it's an experience. Dont stay here if you want a Hilton experience, stay here if you're up for a great time!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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gauteng
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2010

A few months ago I made a telephonic booking with the backpackers. Subsequenlty (over a period of three months, several emails and phone calls) I have not been able to get a booking confirmation out of them. I followed up today to pay a deposit for my upcoming holiday in 3 weeks only to find out that they have NO RECORD of my booking. No need to say that it cost me half a day of calling around to get alternative accommodation for the Xperiod. What a shame that the place is not managed properly - it is the closest one can possibly get to the beach in the Knysna area and is a truly beatiful spot. Business must be really good if they solely rely on walk-ins.

Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Spain
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2010

I stayed at Buffalo Bay backpackers as part of a 10 month trip through Africa with my wife. We rented a car and drove all of south africa and did public transport for the rest. When we arrived in the parking lot we thought that we had arrived in paradise and we had heard before hand what a great location it is. It was, but the hostel itself was run down but that was not the biggest problem. I can't possibly imagine that the owners were on hand. The lady running the place was just plain rude and didn't care one way or another if we were happy. We greeter her on arrival and she just rolled her eyes and pointed at reception. I thought she must have been another guest but turned out to be in charge. We booked three nights in advance and each night they do a set menu dinner and every night we were there it was the exact same meal and it was bad and over priced. I had many BBQ's (braai's) while we were in South Africa but this was just not able to stomache. There was hardly anyone staying there and the showers were filthy. Luckily it is only a short walk to town where there is a great restaurant overlooking the water with ice cold beer. The beached in each direction were amazing and among the best we saw in SA. It is a real shame that the backpackers has such a great location and they just don't seem to care. We stayed at budget backpackers the whole trip and this was the worst one by far. The best being the Karoo Soul in Outdshoorn. My advice would be to stay in Knysna and visit Buffalo Bay as a day trip or there is a municipal campground in town near the restaurant.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
S.Wales UK
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2009

We stayed at this backpackers in January 2009 for 2 nights. We did the whole Garden Route. We took our tent and just drove straight into the Backpackers and asked if we could pitch our tent. We put pur tent up right on the beach, when we opened our tent in the morning the 1st thing we saw was the ocean-wonderful. We paid about R50 per night which is about £4. I think that is excellent for a place to lay your head.
The previous review sounds like they are used to staying in 5 star hotels. It is a backpackers after all. I never expect much from them. Granted the kitchen isnt that clean, the guests are expected to clean and wash up after themselves & as you can imagine the minority dont do it properly. When we were there, there was a cleaner. The shower and toilet facilites were fine to me. Shower cubicles rather than communal. The owner made ostrich Potjie for about 10 people and it was delicious. When you are backpacking I think you only need somewhere to lay your head and meet other travellers. If you want something special then you have to pay for it. I'm sorry if the place has got bad since we were there, but it was fine in January.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
ShingiLana
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2009

My partner and myself have backpacked extensively around South Africa and internationally. We therefore have the experience required to comment on the above establishment. Together with myself having a career in Strategic Communications in the advertising and media fields I realize how important it is to communicate to the stakeholders of our experiences.

Not only does Buffalo Bay Backpackers represent backpacking establishments all around the Cape but also portrays the face of Knysna – and to have this amount of disrespect for customers and to put customers in a health and safety situation is reprehensible to all – never mind potential foreign visitors. Our thoughts are not alone in this (I have cut and pasted a comment from our Plettenberg Bay accommodation wherein it states that they too have received many customers complaining about the above venue).

COMMENT FROM PLETTENBERG BAY

“Dear Donee


I am so sorry about your experience at Buffalo Bay Backpackers. Like I said some of the guests coming from there have been complaining but I thought it is OK after Wilna said she was there and they have jacked up their act.

Thank you so much for giving us feedback. It is important to know what is going in the industry. You are correct, a place like that does give the industry a bad reputation.

I will pass it on to other hostels.

Keep well and I hope your legs are fully recovered.

You are welcome to come and stay with us again.

Kindest regards
Charles and Maryna”


We booked and paid for two nights accommodation some weeks ago in a double room and found the following (I will list all areas).

Considering that the above establishment charges premium prices (not stated on their website but only told to you once you are paying the bill that the prices have increased dramatically) but they most certainly do not supply any type of service relevant to the prices they are charging.

Electrical

Light fittings in rooms are hanging by wire threads.
Wires exposed in all areas and hanging in all sorts of manners – very unsafe.
Stoves do not work properly and trip all the other areas once used – we were told to be careful of the stoves as some people had bad experiences.

Kitchen

Only gets wiped over with a wet rag – no hygiene whatsoever could be seen and only a minimal amount of cleaning took place. We ate off paper plates for fear of getting some disease from the crockery, cutlery, shelving, cooking equipment.
The sink is blocked and overflowing with old food and debris – this we were told is a standard and the owners have never fixed it.
The communal fridges are full of mould and have never seen any kind of cleaning – we did not feel safe storing our food in them.

Ablutions

I can only comment on the Ladies ablutions. The taps, basins, floors, walls were caked with years of mould build up, the are stank of dank and stale water. But especially scary were the toilets which seemed to be permanently blocked – One would actually have to flush the toilet and run out in fear of over flowing excrement. The toilets have never been washed or had any kind of anti-germ agent on them – the inside of the toilets are black and on 3 occasions I went to the bathrooms to find that there was old excrement and toilet paper stuffed down it. The one time I did try to shower I was met with a dribble of luke warm water but was to afraid of the rusty geyser overhead falling on my head!!



Entrance and communal area

Dirty, unkept, disorganized and unhygienic – everyone expects some kind of ethnic feel to a backpackers but this was ridiculous. Most certainly NOT what one would expect from a customer facing environment. I myself felt the need to wash down the counter with some Handy Andy.
When the fire is lit in the main area it immediately fills with smoke – we went and took a look at the chimney only to discover that it was broken and bent on the outside – so we spent cold windy nights coughing and spluttering up smoke as the windows and doors are shattered and run down – with no amount of maintenance.

The Rooms


Dank, dark, half painted with unwashed linen that was totally insufficient to fend off the icy cold wind blowing through the giant gaps in the walls!
They did not even supply hooks to hang clothes on and the rooms had no locks on the doors. A measure of safety and security is expected from all those who backpack especially if they have forex, passports or items of value. This was not supplied.

The Bar

Signs all over the place stating that own alcohol must NOT be drunk of the premises and only alcohol from the bar may be drunk. The bar was not stocked at all…..

The Owners

Were not visible at all – the “husband” was seen to spend all his time on his cellphone making other “deals” and the wife would sit at the bar cutting out pictures from magazines…. Need I say more.



We were totally amazed at the rude sms we received about our comments in the guest book. Surely this is not the way to treat your customers. If you don’t want guest comments then don’t have a guest book!!!!!!!!!!

I am looking forward to a written reply to the above and most certainly hope that the owners will either be fined or held accountable for the most apparent “ripping off” of customers. Its just wrong (and unsafe).

It saddened us to see such a wonderful place left to rot and it most certainly ruined our vacation in the area.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
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Additional Information about Buffalo Bay Backpackers

Address: 1 Main Road, Buffalo Bay, Knysna 6573, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Knysna
Hotel Style:
Ranked #28 of 30 Hotels in Knysna
Number of rooms: 136
Also Known As:
Buffalo Bay Backpackers Hotel Knysna

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