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“Cold and Unwelcoming”

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Wild Spirit Lodge and Backpackers
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 11, 2012

When I got to Wild Spirit it was pouring down rain. I was showed to my room and reception and that's about it. Since it was raining quite hard and getting dark out I couldn't see much of the property and no one working there took time to show me where anything was. I was under the impression that we couldn't go in the kitchen because it says staff only. It wasn't til the 2nd day that one of the guests told me that there was a kitchen that guests use but it's stinky and nasty I was told by the guest. Almost everything was outside and with it being winter and raining it was extremely cold. This was the same with our rooms. I slept in layers because I was so cold.
The females that work at WS were a lot more helpful than the guys if you had a question. However I think the shuttle is a bit high to take guests to the animal sanctuaries.
On the plus side food was good and they offered to give me a ride into town for free b/c they were heading there anyway. I'm sure in the summer months this place would be much better, but it wouldn't hurt to work on a little better hospitality.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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Thank JenCoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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220 - 226 of 278 reviews

Reviewed July 9, 2012

Deceitfull website, I needed to book a family into accomodation and found Wild Sprit LODGE and Backpackers on the internet. The website looked good so I made the booking. I should have been told that it is not recommended for families when I booked. You would think Wild Spirit cares about people, but clearly they just wanted to make a quick buck and took a booking for 2 adults and 2 children aged 7 & 9. I confirmed the booking twice, and yet no one knew of my clients when they arrived. They people at reception was not helpfull and the rooms where atrocious, smelling of stale, sweaty bedding that has not been changed for a long time. Beer bottles, about 400, lying outside in a pile... The guide accompanying the family phoned me and requested to be moved to alternative acommodation immediatly as he was embaressed to take people there.
"Wild Spirit" I think you have lost the Spirit and is now just WILD.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank DownhillAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2012

We were attracted to the Wild Spirit Lodge by the great reviews we found on the web and the environmental focus.

We agree with the other reviewers on the surroundings, Wild Spirit is definitely off the beaten track. The area is pretty, the owners seem to be quite charming (a word on that below) and if you're backpacking, this might be the place to go.

We're not so sure about the environmental focus, and this is where we feel a more critical approach is appropriate. Yes, it makes sense to use water sparingly in a drought endangered environment, and "we try to recycle, our garbage with separate cans for plastics etc." sounds nice, but what about the large steel boiler kettles lying around in the yard? And what about all the cupboards full of bottles, broken dishes, etc. in the self catering kitchen that obviously have been sitting there for a while?

A word on the property and rooms. Much of the work done on the buildings seems makeshift, ours had some windows replaced with plywood. The bathroom was not very clean but it's dark, due to small windows and dim lighting so if you have night myopia, you won't have to worry about that.

OUR main problem was...

You know that it takes about 15 min. untill you body warms a bed? It took exactly that long after lying down until- no, not bedbugs. It took exactly that long to warm the scent of whomever had used the bed before us enough to become really strong. Strong and sour and sweaty. Like not having a shower for weeks. If it hadn't been 11:00pm we would have fled immediately.

We also happened to overhear the owners talking about new guests that had just arrived and whether the new guests should be offered a discount because of a defect in the washroom. Their decision was to wait and see if the guests complain.

We moved out as quickly as possible and found a great place to stay nearby.

That being said, we met a number of great fellow travelers and there was no complaint about our leaving earlier than planned.

If you are backpacking on a budget and want to get to know great people, this place might be alright. If you want a clean bed, look somewhere else.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank ilias1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

We absolutely loved our stay at Wild Spirit. We camped on the lawn, ate their delicious home-cooked meals, used the shared kitchen to cook our own, spent nights in front of the fireplace, and got advice on what to do in the area from Ola (the owner's daughter who works there). It is family-run and they are all extremely warm, helpful people who want to make sure you enjoy your stay. It's the kind of place you could easily get "stuck" at for weeks. We've been traveling for over 7 months and we both agree this was by far our favorite place we've stayed. You know when you walk in that you've found a gem and you'll be staying for a long time.

Room Tip: We camped on the lawn
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank butforthesky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2012

We came there for a second time. The place is running by a lovely owner and her lovely daughter. In the wood, surrounded by nature. If one has a car there are many many place´s to visit in the neighbourhood: Lonely beaches in Nature´s Valley, swimming beaches in Plett Bay, Elephants, Monkeys, Birds, some nice restaurant, a farmstall for an excellent homemade cheese platter, Tsitsikamma N.P .... and after that just enjoying the sound of the bush and sitting an on a wonderful deck with a view and maybe join the nice diner!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank easi_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2012

Another great South African backpackers... we are lucky in South Africa! A great place to spent a few days and chill out. It rained continuously while we were in Nature's Valley, which may have dampened our spirits, but the backpackers was still warm and cosy and very relaxing. Definitely will stop by again on my next trip through the magnificent area.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Simonidies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

When and not if i'm going back to SA, one thing is for sure! I'm going back to WILD SPIRIT!! Here is your little hippie paradise in the middle for the forest, far from noise, stress and modern civilazation! Get back to nature/ back to basics! This is the cousy little treehouse you had and loved as a child, just in grown up size and with a staff that'll make you feel right at home the minut you enter their magical world!

You are the most beautiful sunrise from the tree hut every morning and after that you'll have a wonderful breakfast, just before you go on one of their many trips!
What about a 6 hour hike to nature's valley, through dense forest, down a mountain to a lagoon, beach and on cliffs to find your way back.
A waterfall is just 10 min away form the b/p, amazing trip!
Get back and enjoy the company of the staff and the cool people deciding to stay here and have a dinner created with local herbs and other ingridients from the garden.
The go to sleep in a non-bunk bed!! YES!! and listen to the animals in the forest around you! Truly a special place.

When you're leaving the road and heading down the forest road, it's like you're entering the closet and exit on the other side in the Narnia of SA!! It's such a different experience to stay here, than at any other hostel in SA.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled solo
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Thank TomTomDk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wild Spirit Lodge and Backpackers

Address: R102 Nature's Valley Road, Nature's Valley 6602, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Nature's Valley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Nature's Valley
Price Range: $25 - $40 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge is a well-loved, laid-back and friendly family-run business situated on Khoinania farm in The Crags. Located right on the western tip of the Tsitsikamma National Park, it is literally in the heart of the Garden Route, between Plettenberg Bay and Storm's River. Close to Nature's Valley beach and lagoon this eco-friendly open-minded backpackers is surrounded by indigenous forests with blissful views over the valleys and mountains - the ultimate place to come and relax. Accommodation ranges from simple and lovely private en-suite family and double rooms, to ready-made Safari tents, bunk free dorms and simple off the grid camp sites for budget travellers looking for a quiet place to rest their souls. The beautifully sculpted Driftwood Boma and Tree-house deck are great places to soak up the sun and contemplate the peace of your surroundings whilst meeting new people, or cuddle up in the cosy Log cabin with the cats, dogs and a fire on rainy days. Everyday enjoy yummy nutritious dinners and breakfasts, lovingly prepared with fresh local ingredients. Alternative and sustainable energy designs, creative spaces and organic gardens are dotted around this magical 18-hectare farm. Activities on the farm include swimming in the rock pools of a private 80m Waterfall, or taking a short walk through the indigenous forest to visit the majestic Yellowwood tree. Alternatively, you can get your hands dirty in the gardens, learn a new craft from one of the many skilled staff members, or relax in a tree-house with horses grazing nearby. If you manage to tear yourself away from the beauty of the lodge then there are various animal sanctuaries nearby including elephants, big cats, birds and monkeys, as well as local horse-rides and a great farm stall to pick up some lunch. Nearby Nature's Valley is ideal for nature lovers with walks and hikes in all directions, and is one of the most pristine beaches on the Garden Route. The lagoon down there is also spectacular for swimming, kayaking, and bird-watching. Adrenaline and adventure activities such as the world's highest Bungy jump, Africanyon river adventures, and Tsitsikamma treetop canopy tours are nearby. The come home, relax with sun-downers on the deck, and spend an evening under the stars talking to interesting travellers around the fire whilst the team prepare a delicious home-made dinner with fresh produce from the organic gardens. See their website for more info on facilities, services and the wide range of activities in the area. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Wild Spirit Lodge And Backpackers South Africa/Garden Route

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