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2 Piet Retief Street, Kestell 9860 South Africa
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Traveler (19)
Room & Suite (6)
Dining (3)

About

#1 of 3 in Kestell
Location
4.5
Cleanliness
4.9
Service
4.8
Value
4.9
A charming Backpacker Lodge in the small village of Kestell, with very friendly hosts. We are the closest backpackers to the famous Amphitheatre/Tugela Falls hike, with Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the tourist town of Clarens and San rock paintings also within easy driving distance. Additionally, this is an ideal base from which to explore Lesotho. Award-winning homemade jams, yoghurts & other goodies are for sale. We offer accommodation in large double rooms & in dorms for up to 17 people. Our kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering, and a light breakfast is an optional extra. Country-style restaurant & pub nearby. We have a lovely outdoor barbeque area and a coffee-gazebo.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Wifi
Paid wifi
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Budget

Location

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Contact
2 Piet Retief Street, Kestell 9860 South Africa
Getting there
Bloemfontein Intl Airport155 miSee all flights
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109Reviews2Q+A10Room tips
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Celine74930 wrote a review Feb 2020
Brussels, Belgium18 contributions4 helpful votes
+1
What a great place!!! We loved our stay, we wanted to stay one night, we ended up with three. We would have stayed longer but had to go back to JNB. Vera and Lucio are super nice. Interesting people and fun. The beds are comfortable and everything is very clean. You can use the kitchen etc. Also, Vera shown us the garden, and we were welcome to take some SUPER good vegetables. Cat and dogs are lovely. We felt like home. We will come back!! It is very easy to join the national park and the sentinel trail from their house. I would definitely recommend to stay there if you are up for these trails. They are gonna help you and give some advices. The sentinel trail is not a easy hike. I mean it is not difficult by the “dénivelé” or the distance but because there is a gully, a difficult passage on the rocks and ladders (10m and 20m). So if you are a beginner or afraid of the eight, take a guide. Go early, cause the weather turns in the afternoon. I would definitely recommend Zee, she seems to be an amazing guide. She knows the mountain.
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Traveled
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AriannaZ wrote a review Jan 2019
4 contributions
My boyfriend and I spent four nights in the dorm and we deeply enjoyed our stay. Vera and Lucio welcomed us with so much love and we immediately had a great connection with them. We especially enjoyed Vera's delicious jams and the veggies available in the garden. Moreover she gave us very detailed recommendations to go hiking in the Drakensberg, stunning views and paths! No doubt I will go back, great value for money as well ;)
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Date of stay: January 2019
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Trip type: Traveled
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Classyrc wrote a review Jan 2019
Ilford, United Kingdom155 contributions92 helpful votes
Lovely place, jam was amazing with breakfastand tips for hiking were greatly appreciated. Is a bit remote and quiet but a nice stop off place to rest your head. Could do with some lockers though. Would recommend.
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Date of stay: December 2018Trip type: Traveled
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kevinmR1292XR wrote a review Jun 2018
9 contributions4 helpful votes
I had the place to myself for two nights and enjoyed my stay immensely. Vera makes you feel right at home, it was like staying with my mother (she made me soup, prepared a hot water bottle for the cold nights and gave me gloves and a hat before I left on a hike). Her homemade jams are a bit of a sensation in South Africa and rightly so, make sure to try the one with japapeño! It’s the ideal base to do the spectacular Sentinel hike and on the way back you can go to the best Ethiopian place around, Vera will give you directions. I miss Karma already.
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Date of stay: May 2018Trip type: Traveled
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Asha L wrote a review Dec 2017
1 contribution
Karma Backpackers is a place for travelers who want to feel at home. Vera Ann was extremely helpful in giving us information about the nearby hikes in Drakensberg, as well as Golden Gate National Park. Originally, we made a booking for 2 nights but extended it 2 more nights because of the amazing hospitality. I enjoyed the kitchen and living room area for my morning coffee and reading. On the colder days, blankets and warm water bottles were provided to keep us comfortable throughout the day and night. Also, I want to add that the down-feather pillows and duvets were like heaven after a long day of exploring and trekking! We stayed in one of the private rooms and enjoyed our stay very much. I would recommend this place over and over again to anyone!
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Date of stay: November 2017
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chris2017905 wrote a review May 2017
Aarhus, Denmark4 contributions2 helpful votes
Come for some good karma! Vera Ann's place is so welcoming,laid-back, delicious and cosy - I enjoyed every minute. From her lovely garden, comfortable common areas, clean bathrooms to her super tasty muffins and jam it is a place you don't wanna leave. For travellers without own transport: Vera Ann can arrange transport to and from the place (e.g. from Harrismith which is easy accessible by bus) and great tours and guides to the nearby Golden Gate National Park, Drakensberge or Lesotho. It's just a wonderful retreat!
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Date of stay: April 2017
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Annick v wrote a review Apr 2017
1 contribution
We really enjoyed our stay at Karma Backpackers! Not only because of the beautiful Sentinel Hiking trail closeby, but mostly because of the conversations with Vera and other guests in the kitchen, her lovely jams, bread and muffins, and the amazing and delicious Ethiopian place she recommended!
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Date of stay: March 2017
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Franziska H wrote a review Mar 2017
1 contribution
Of many hostels we have already seen, not only in South Africa, but all over the world, we have never been to one that was so special, with so much love and with such a nice host! Placed close to some really wonderful hikes close to the northern Drakensberge, this hostel turned out to be the very best place we could have stayed at. Vera was a lovely person, who was always there to help us to find the best hikes, the best local places and to take care of us, when necessary. We can only recommend that unique place, where it is just to easy to feel home!
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Date of stay: March 2017
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Hugh S wrote a review Mar 2017
11 contributions1 helpful vote
This hostel is the best option to use as a base for the sentinel peak hike and others in northern drakensberg, as they're about 45 minutes away. The town of Kestell is actually really run down though so be sure to bring food to cook because there aren't any restaurants nearby. Nothing to really do in the evenings, but most people are too tired from hiking so it doensn't really matter. The owner was friendly and very nice to offer to make breakfast each morning.
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Date of stay: March 2017
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Komodosam36 wrote a review Feb 2017
Los Angeles, California25 contributions10 helpful votes
We were expecting a bit more after reading all the good reviews, but left a bit disappointed. Firstly, the biggest disappointment was that it is further from the North Drakensberg mountains than we hoped. It takes about an hour and a half to drive to the Amphitheatre Hike from Sentinel Car Park. If I could do it again I would look for a place closer to the mountains, or stay in a nicer town such as Clarens. Kestell as a town really has nothing to offer, and you aren't left with much to do in the evenings. Also disappointing that you have to pay for wifi. We were also recommended to eat at an Ethiopian Restaurant, but when we went there it didn't seem very safe at all. A prior warning about this would have been helpful. The person who served us was very rude and said that they only had one thing on the "menu" and couldn't even say what was in it other than meat. There were also hundreds of flies inside. We decided not to eat there and left before it got dark to make sandwiches for dinner as there really isn't anywhere else to eat. On the positive side, besides the mosquitos, the room was pretty good and the owners were friendly, and the collection of jams they make there were excellent.
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Date of stay: February 2017
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Trip type: Traveled
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Response from KarmaBackpackers, Owner at Karma Backpackers
Responded Feb 17, 2017
Im really sorry you didn't enjoy your stay with us. We are the closest backpackers to the hike. But it isn't on our doorstop. The Ethiopian restaurant is completely safe but as explained it is a restaurant for the Ethiopian community in Qwa Qwa and perhaps might seem to some people to be dangerous, I'm very sorry they were rude to you and you felt uncomfortable. Because its very traditional and real they don't have a menu they serve what they have that day in my experience its delicious. The flies and the mosquitoes are a fact of living here especially after we have had so much rain.
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LOCATION
South AfricaFree StateKestell
NUMBER OF ROOMS
5
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Frequently Asked Questions about Karma Backpackers
Which popular attractions are close to Karma Backpackers?
Nearby attractions include Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (0.3 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Karma Backpackers?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free parking, laundry service, and internet access.
Is parking available at Karma Backpackers?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Is Karma Backpackers located near the city center?
Yes, it is 0.3 miles away from the center of Kestell.