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“Don't miss this gem!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Amapondo

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Amapondo
Second Beach Road | Wildcoast, Port St Johns 5120, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
hersham
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Don't miss this gem!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2011

I stayed here for a magical few months and Second Beach, Port St Johns is still my favourite place in the world. Tim and Annie, the owners, are warm, friendly and welcoming to everyone. The atmosphere for the whole time I was here was brilliant as it attracts cool people. Having travelled across South Africa, I can assure you that the standard of dorm and double rooms here are excellent, comfortable and clean and it is fantastic value for money. The bar is brilliant for cocktails, parties or chilling in the hammock. The beach is beautiful and Amapondo offers a lot of trips & activities (some free) and opportunities for volunteering in the local community. I volunteered in a care home for street children (Eluxolweni) & the local primary school & it was one of the best experiences of my life. It is far quite far from town but there's always people driving to get a lift with and the isolation adds to the magic of the experience. The food is delicious. I haven't got a bad word to say about this place - only that if you want a 5* hotel, don't come here - if, however, you want a fun & tranquil time & to meet great people, book it now or just rock up!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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113 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Port Shepstone, South Africa
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

My partner and I stayed here for a weekend in the low season and had a really good time. We stayed in one of the double rooms. The room was basically just a (not too comfortable) bed, but there were plenty of couches and hammocks on the patio to relax on. We also shared a communal bathroom (there were very few travelers there at the time though) so there were no queues, but, be warned, there are outside showers. Literally outside, with only jungle on one side to protect your modesty. Being in a tropical climate, there are also loads of bugs, esp mozzies & spiders, but the room had a fan and a mosquito net so we survived.

We catered most of our meals for ourselves but the bar/restaurant serves food all day with vegetarian options for all meals and the meal we had there was good, much better than some of the restaurants in town.

We also went on one of the hikes offered daily. A bit of false advertising on the website, they were not free, but I didn't mind paying the friendly local guide for a generous 2.5 hours of his time. There was no way we would have found the waterfall on our own. The hike itself was quite a workout, more like jungle bashing than hiking in some parts, but the jump off the waterfall was worth it.

Amapondo is right on the road to Second Beach, which is walking distance if you don't have your own transport. Second Beach is definitely a party beach and, we were told, gets absolutely packed over December. Think taxis blaring house and kwaito music in the parking lot, no space to swim in the water and loads of people braaiing at the recreational facilities. Although the beach is really amazing, fine white sand, crystal blue waters, sadly the next morning there were beer bottles and broken glass strewn everywhere.

The Eastern Cape is also the poorest province in South Africa, so don't be surprised if you get heckled everywhere you go, shops, beach, etc. That being said though, even though I am South African, going to Port St Johns was like going to a different universe. It is absolutely beautiful, and on a totally different vibe. We left feeling relaxed and restored. I would definitely recommend PSJ to everyone and Amapondo is a good backpackers to crash at for a few nights, as long as you're not expecting luxurious accommodation.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Durban, South Africa
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2011

Port St Johns very strange and unique place, and to get even average accommodation is not easy. Lots of traps in this little rustic town.

We drove from place to place and ended up with Amapondo Backpackers, stayed for 5 nights and we were really happy with the place, wonderful staff and view.

We stayed in the Chalets in the back and it was a different experience to a 5 star hotel, more rustic but more than adequate for an adventure holiday.

The bar area is great even for kids and we enjoyed the barman Mr Clint even thou he took all our money on poker night.

If you have a family and you can get one of the chalets I won’t look any further.

Just don’t go fishing in Poenskop you will be harassed from when you stop on the beach until you leave. 3rd and 2nd Beach is better for fishing.

And try to bring everything with you so that you don’t need to do any shopping in town because this is not Camps Bay Spar, you won’t have fun shopping. Absolute chaos!!!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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UK
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2011

We stayed here for 3 nights - was a great place for hanging out and relaxing. Everyone who worked there was really friendly. The accommodation is super basic - basically a bed in a room, with shared outdoor showers - but it is also fairly cheap. The location is beautiful - really green and lovely beaches - the view from the airstrip is definitely recommended. The dinners were pretty good value and the bar was nice for a chilled-out drink or two. One of those places where the nice people and beautiful location make up for the basic accommodation.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amapondo, General Manager at Amapondo, responded to this review, September 29, 2011
Thank you for your lovely review, we do our best to ensure that people get the time out to relax and enjoy themselves here.
We hope you come and visit us again sometime.
Many Thanks
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brescia, Italy
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2011

We stayed there 6 days and it's one of the best places in the world where relax and be' casted away... Please choose one of the bongalows they have: great view of the ocean and the river, monkeys come in the evening... And you can see everything right from your bed!!!! We suggest this accomodation to' everyone!
And finally they have great staff: say hello to Rex, Tandie and Zulu! They can help you on everything!!!
Amapondo is a perfect place to get the Pondo fever! We got it and we enjoyed!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Amapondo, General Manager at Amapondo, responded to this review, September 29, 2011
WOW! Thank you for that super fantastic review, we do love our guests especially when they are happy. It is our guests that make having such a good time possible. Come back anytime for some more of that Pondo Love!
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2011 via mobile

If you want to experience a backpacker being "high" then this is definitely your place, because you will not notice the lack of cleanliness, the wasps nests, the warn out springs on the bed and the challenging shower. Other than that-if you can see past all these discrepancies it can be chilled to hang around. Should this have been years ago in my wild young days, I would have loved it, because I remember everything of being "high" and careless, however being pregnant it is the last place I want to be and seeing kids at the bar inhaling all the second hand Ghanga fumes saddened me. The staff is definitely friendly and inviting... But I kept wondering whether they are like that when they are not "high" - if ever... We had supper on arrival and my husband had a beer (nice and friendly welcoming). We walked into our onsuite chalet and 15min afterwards moved to a place double the price at another establishment, but even for us hikers who are used to minimal (climbed Kili) this move was worth it. So, depending on who are... You will either love or hate Amapondo... No in between. Happy traveling...

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
Yorkshire
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
59 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2011

We stayed at Amapondo for 4 nights with our two young kids, age 7 & 8, staying in one of the en-suite cottages up above the main building,

We loved our stay. The staff are friendly and helpful, there is a lovely, friendly bar/restaurant and there are free activities laid on - such as a walk to a local waterfall and swimming lake, which was great fun.

The cottages are individually designed, lots of space for four - ours had the nice addition of a bath so you can have a soak and look out into the jungle. There were vervet monkeys playing out the back, which made it a lot of fun for the kids... but obviously keep doors shut,

The whole place has a very relaxed vibe, the beach is great to visit (but can be busy at the weekend). The only slight issue is that the cottage wasn't cleaned during the time we were there, not a big deal for a couple of nights... but after four it did need the rubbish bin emptying.

For families without local knowledge just one word of warning - there have been a few fatal shark attacks on the beach. Amazingly, there are no warning signs anywhere - we only discovered this by talking to locals. If we hadn't, we could easily have taken our kids out on surfboards.

But don't let that put you off going - it is a fantastic place to hang out for a few days.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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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Additional Information about Amapondo

Address: Second Beach Road | Wildcoast, Port St Johns 5120, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Port St Johns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 Specialty lodging in Port St Johns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amapondo rests on a hill just across from the Beach. Boasting breathtaking views, Amapondo is known for its VIBEY ATMOSPHERE, SCRUMPTIOUS FOOD, BUZZING BAR, PRIVATE SELF-CATERING COTTAGES, and wide variety of THINGS TO DO. We are proudly passionate about Pondo Culture and would love you to experience it too. Born and bred in the area, our FRIENDLY PONDO STAFF bubble over with Pondo-licious ideas to keep you entertained. Stay longer and get involved with our Community Volunteer Programs. WARNING: The ground beats with rhythm and soul - the magnetic energy soaks into your skin – and you’re guaranteed to catch ‘Pondo Fever’ and not want to leave.We love FANCY DRESS. FREE DRINK if you contribute to our BOX.Stuff to do: Yoga, Meditation, Massage, Horse Riding, Cultural Tours, Sacred Mud Caves, Waterfall hikes, Canoeing, Mountain Biking, Boat trips, 4X4 Trails, Drumming, Xhosa cooking lessons, Live Music, Fire shows, Party nights FREE Wifi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amapondo Hotel Port St Johns

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